In conjunction with this year’s Spring meeting, the Service Committee is partnering with Veterans Inc., an organization that has assisted homeless veterans since 1990. It began by providing housing to veterans in the Worcester, Massachusetts area but expanded its services to include employment and healthcare assistance for veterans and their families throughout the New England area.
Veteran’s Inc. is asking for gift cards to aid veterans in need of food, clothing, and medicine. Gift cards of any domination from Walmart, Target, CVS, Walgreens, or Amazon would be truly appreciated. There are two ways to give:
If you’re attending the June 8th, Spring meeting at Social Law Library, purchase a gift card and drop it off at the Service Committee table before you leave for the day.
Not planning to attend the meeting? No problem. Send a gift card electronically to Service Committee chair, Jessica Almeida, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or have the company ship the gift card to:*
UMass Law Library
333 Faunce Corner Road
Dartmouth, MA 02747
*Please email Jessica so she can be on the look out for your generous donation.
Here are some quick links to make donating even easier:
The LLNE Service Committee, in conjunction with the Education Committee and Legal Research Instruction Program (LRIP), is pleased to announce the public librarians awarded scholarships to attend LRIP this year. The Service Committee has awarded the scholarships to Alvin Ealy, Head of Adult Services and Reference for the Kingston Public Library in Kingston, MA and Heather Diaz, Assistant Information Services Librarian for the Forbes Library in Northampton, MA. Both librarians work extensively with the public and have a great interest in learning about responding more effectively to patron requests for legal information. They are also hoping the strategies they acquire from the program will strengthen the research support they provide and increase their library’s value to their communities. Please help us in congratulating Alvin and Heather and look out for their upcoming blog posts about their experiences in the Legal Research Instruction Program!
All public librarians are encouraged to apply for a scholarship, sponsored by the LLNE Service Committee, to attend our chapter’s Legal Research Instruction Program.
The Legal Research Instruction Program (LRIP) is a six week seminar geared towards public librarians interested in learning more about law librarianship. Each week, a different aspect of legal research is covered, everything from an overview of the U.S. legal system to finding transactional law documents. The class will run on Tuesday evenings from April 10th – May 15th. The six classes will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Suffolk Law in Boston. For more information about the LRIP course, go to https://llne.org/legalresearchinstruction/ or contact Brian Flaherty directly at email@example.com.
The LLNE Service Committee is providing two scholarships to cover the cost of registration. Applicants must be public (non-law) librarians from the New England area. For more information and to apply, go to https://llne.org/committees/service/. Please send applications to Jessica Almeida at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, March 30, 2018.
We encourage all LLNE members to share this scholarship opportunity with their local public libraries and any public librarians that would be interested in this excellent professional development opportunity.
I’m writing to relay a change to the LLNE Service Committee approved by a vote of the attending members at the Fall meeting in Salem, MA.
In an effort to more effectively pursue two divergent initiatives (service projects and Legal Link), LLNE’s Service Committee has become two committees. The Service Committee will remain focused on planning and executing the public service projects associated with LLNE’s Fall and Spring meetings. A new Access to Justice (A2J) Committee has been created to continue the work on Legal Link and to pursue projects promoting access to and understanding of legal information.
The committee’s charge is copied, below.
Jessica Dziedzic Almeida, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Law School, is chairing the Service Committee. If you’d like to volunteer for the Service Committee, please contact Jessica at email@example.com. Mike VanderHeijden, Yale Law School, is chairing the A2J Committee.
Members of the A2J Committee:
Sherry Xin Chen (Boston College School of Law);
Nicole Dyszlewski (Roger Williams University School of Law);
Suzanne Hoey (Barnstable Law Library);
Jessica Pisano Jones (Social Law Library);
Natalia May (Vermont Law School);
Sara McMahon (Western New England School of Law);
Misty Peltz-Steele (University of Massachusetts School of Law);
Jennifer Robble (Boston University School of Law)
Mike VanderHeijden (Yale Law School)
Access to Justice Committee Charge:
The Access to Justice Committee shall consist of a chair, or co-chairs, and such additional members as the President shall designate.
Recognizing the acute need in many New England communities for access to legal information and recognizing the unique training, expertise, and resources of New England’s law librarians, the Access to Justice Committee shall partner with public librarians, court personnel and others to leverage collections, professional knowledge and skills to promote access to justice through greater understanding and availability of legal information.
Further recognizing that there are many as-yet unidentified opportunities to partner with Access to Justice communities of interest, the Committee shall not limit itself to familiar librarian roles. Rather, the Committee shall remain open to new and alternative modes and methods of supporting the Access to Justice movement.
In conjunction with the fall meeting, the Service Committees for LLNE and SNELLA partnered up to raise funds for the New England Innocence Project (NEIP). Since 2000, the NEIP has been promoting criminal justice reform and exonerating the wrongfully convicted in the New England area. To date, the NEIP has helped free 70 wrongfully convicted individuals through the use of DNA testing, questioning of faulty eyewitness testimony, and revealing the misconduct of the police. To read their stories, go to http://www.newenglandinnocence.org/new-england-exonerees/.
Thanks to the generous donations of our members, the LLNE Service Committee is pleased to announce that $3,850 was raised to help NEIP provide legal assistance to the wrongfully convicted in the New England area. This amount was matched anonymously, so a total of $7,700 was donated to this worthy cause. This is the most money the Service Committee has ever raised for one cause and we couldn’t have done it without the kindness and generosity of our members. A special thanks to Kathy Ludwig and her father, Bruce Williams, for their substantial donation. For more information on the New England Innocence Project or if you would still like to donate, please see their website at http://www.newenglandinnocence.org/.
Thank you to Nicole Dyszlewski and the rest of the Service Committee for organizing the New England Innocence Project Drive. The LLNE Service Committee is always looking for more volunteers! If interested, go to https://llne.org/committees/service/.
For the upcoming fall meeting, Hysteria, Hyperbole, and Witch Hunts: 1697 & 2017 on November 17th, the Service Committees from both LLNE and SNELLA have teamed up to raise funds for the New England Innocence Project. NEIP provides pro bono legal representation to the wrongfully convicted all over the New England area. With a very small staff, including attorneys, paralegals, interns, and volunteers, the New England Innocence Project have exonerated over 70 individuals. Recently, due to budget concerns, NEIP has been unable to take on new cases. Please consider donating to this worthy cause.
Because the theme for the spring meeting (register here!) is professional development, the service committee asks you to consider donating professional clothing, toiletries, or money to SolutionsWear. SolutionsWear provides interview-appropriate clothing and accessories to homeless and low-income men and women. Check out the list of especially needed items, as well as a complete list of the kind of donations SolutionsWear accepts. We will be collecting clothing and toiletry donations at the meeting. If you would like to make a monetary donation directly to SolutionsWear, you can do so here.
Legal literacy is an important area that can often be overlooked by public librarians, despite the fact that our patrons come to us regularly with questions involving a variety of legal issues. While I cannot interpret the law for my patrons or offer them legal advice, I can conduct a reference interview in which I can determine the nature of their legal information request. For example, do they need a lawyer, or do they simply want to find out what the law says (minus an interpretation)? Typically, my inclination is to err on the side of caution with these types of reference questions. Sometimes the offer of the number for the Lawyer Referral Service or a public law library where a qualified law librarian could assist them is the best answer. However, for patrons with legal research questions, I am missing an opportunity to serve my patrons and instruct them in information retrieval.
The Legal Research Instruction course is equipping me with the skills and knowledge to assist my patrons in tackling their legal reference questions. Like many people, the last time I learned about the legal system of the United States was in high school. During each session, the experienced teachers guide us through the ways our legal system works. We discuss leading our patrons to the information they seek, whether it is publicly accessible (e.g., on a government website) or a fee is required. This opportunity is invaluable to me professionally. Developing these skills will allow me to take my legal research training back to my neighborhood library, where I can put them to good use helping my patrons and perhaps teaching them some basics about the legal system along the way.
*Emily Todd is the Program and Community Outreach Librarian for the Fields Corner Branch of the Boston Public Library. She is a recipient of the 2017 LLNE Service Committee scholarship to attend the Legal Research Information Program.
If pressed, I imagine that most public librarians will admit to struggling with the unique challenges presented by patrons seeking legal help. These requests, like those of the medical variety, can leave us feeling less than helpful and often require a punt to the experts at the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries or the nearest legal aid program. While we know we’re doing the right thing by not diving into a subject area where errors or misinterpretations can have very real consequences for patrons, we don’t feel great about “getting to no”. That’s why I’m excited to be participating in the Legal Research Instruction Program this Spring, and grateful for the scholarship award. In the first half of the 6-week course we’ve been introduced to the finer points of case law and statutory research. We have also learned how to assemble legislative histories, covered administrative law, and honed our searching skills in Westlaw and Lexis. We’ve also attempted to break out of the databases that most of us in public libraries won’t have access to on the job, replicating our searches in Google Scholar and scouring government websites for the information we need. While enhancing our capabilities as legal researchers, we are also building the confidence to determine what we can and cannot provide to the public. Thanks to LLNE for offering this important program and encouraging public librarians to participate. A special thanks to Brian Flaherty for steering the ship and to the expert lecturers that have joined us so far.
*Brian Hodgdon is the Director of the Saugus Public Library and a recipient of the 2017 LLNE Service Committee Scholarship to attend the Legal Research Information Program.
The LLNE Service Committee, in conjunction with the Education Committee and Legal Research Instruction Program (LRIP), is pleased to announce the public librarians awarded scholarships to attend LRIP this year. The Service Committee has awarded the scholarships to Emily Todd, Program and Community Outreach Librarian for the Fields Corner Branch of the Boston Public Library, and Brian Hodgdon, Director of the Saugus Public Library. Both candidates have extensive experience in public libraries as well as an immense interest in learning more about the legal system and how to respond more effectively to legal information requests. Please help us in congratulating Emily and Brian and look out for their upcoming blog posts on their experiences in the Legal Research Instruction Program!