LLNE Legal Link Launches!

By the LLNE Service Committee

The Service Committee is proud to announce that LLNE Legal Link, our legal research web portal, is now live and you can access it here and from the LLNE homepage. We will be debuting the website at AALL this week in Philadelphia, passing out postcards at the LLNE booth, so be sure to help spread the word!

The idea behind Legal Link was to create a legal research portal for public librarians, where they can find relevant legal information for the New England region all in one place. Instead of reinventing the wheel, Legal Link will serve largely as a curator of legal content – linking out to resources that LLNE members trust and use often so that non-law librarians in the region will have quick and easy access to useful reference materials. Because the portal is freely accessible from our website, we also anticipate it serving as a tool for pro-se individuals who are navigating the legal research world on their own.

As of now, the site hosts a directory of public law libraries available in each state, as well as information on how a bill becomes a law in each New England state. Going forward, we hope to grow Legal Link by connecting its users to local legal aid organizations, legal research guides for a variety of topics, best practices, and links to state statutes, court rules, regulations, and more. While the main goal of Legal Link is to serve as a clearinghouse for legal information, we are also interested in creating commentary and new content to help explain how to adequately use these resources.

Service Committee Update

By the Service Committee

This year, the LLNE Service Committee was LLNE’s largest committee in terms of number of members. In one year our membership tripled in size! Although this has been an exciting year of growth for our committee, it has not come without some growing pains. Part of what makes working on such a large committee fun and dynamic is the diversity of geography, viewpoint, and skill set. Part of what makes working on such a large committee intimidating and daunting is the diversity of geography, viewpoint, and skill set.

This year the Service Committee tried a new format where we broke down into two smaller subcommittees to tackle year-long projects. This allowed each of the subcommittees to feel ownership over their work, but also led to some floundering. One subcommittee worked on creating and implementing an online platform to provide resources about legal reference to New England non-law public librarians (for more info on the new LLNE Legal Link, see https://llne.org/legal-link/) while the other subcommittee worked on planning outreach to public non-law librarians in person through regional networking and professional development opportunities (for more information on this project, stay tuned for more updates!). The two projects were discrete in focus but aligned in vision.

What we learned from this year was immense. We have identified ways to improve our outreach attempts to regional non-law public librarians and are just now releasing the LLNE Legal Link. We have also learned more about ourselves as a committee. We have learned that we need to try a different structure. We have come up with a plan to define our roles within the committee through the use of position descriptions. This allows all volunteers to be more aware of the extent of the projects they are signing up to work on, as well as the nature of the service commitment.

While we are working on defining the duties of committee members, we are also in the process of developing roles for LLNE members who may want to help work on our projects without signing up for one more committee! We have gotten feedback that some librarians have the heart but not the time to commit to our work, and we are developing opportunities for those among our membership who may not be ready or able to commit to committee membership (and meetings and obligations!) at this time.

Our year has been busy. Please check out our new LLNE Legal Link webpage, our poster session at AALL, and our annual report at the LLNE annual meeting for more details about our on-going projects. Also, please consider giving of your time and talents. We are nothing without our members and invite you to reach out to us to discuss possible opportunities for volunteerism and service in the coming year.

Enhance Your AALL Experience in Philly

By the Service Committee

Whether you’ve already mapped out your Annual Meeting schedule, or you plan to pick sessions on the plane, consider blocking off some time to volunteer in Philly. This year’s meeting needs lots of helpers to make sure everything runs smoothly in the following areas:

  • Registration Desk
  • Registration Bag Stuffing
  • Opening Reception
  • Library Tours
  • Hospitality Booth
  • Association Luncheon

Sign up today or ask questions at aallvolunteers2015@gmail.com.

This year’s meeting has an additional volunteer opportunity for Annual Meeting Pros: the First-Time Annual Meeting Host Program. Volunteers will be given the names and contact information for one or more first-time conference attendees. As a host, you would be expected to contact your newbies before travelling to Philly to give them an idea of what to expect, and answer any questions they have. Once you’re at the conference, spend some time with them and introduce them to all of the cool people you know. Want to make a difference in the life of a new law librarian? Email your name, contact information, and the number of first-time attendees you are willing to host (one, two, or three) to annualmeetinghost@aall.org.

Service Committee Update

By the Service Committee

The Service Committee has continued to focus its efforts on making connections and building partnerships with public libraries in the New England region.

For the second year in a row, the Service Committee worked with the LLNE Education Committee and the Legal Research Instruction Program (LRIP) to offer two scholarships to New England area public librarians interested in taking the LRIP course. The two librarians who received the scholarships this year were Jeanne Bent of the Hope Public Library in Scituate, RI and Kathleen Clifford of the Boston Public Library in Boston, MA.

The Service Committee is also moving forward with its yet-to-be-named web portal project. The project aims to provide public libraries with one portal for comprehensive information on the legal research and information landscape across New England. Our committee members have started working to compile this resource by reviewing existing tools and projects by law librarians, bar associations, courts and legal aid conglomerates in each of the states. The committee hopes to have some piece of the portal ready and online by the annual meeting. Once complete, the web portal will be hosted on the LLNE website.

In tandem with the web portal project, the Service Committee is interested in creating a network of law librarians throughout New England who are willing to serve as resources to public librarians with legal research questions. The network of librarians will include individuals willing to be “on-call” for questions that may arise in their state of in their area of expertise, but also individuals willing to travel within their local area to provide in-person, basic legal research trainings to public librarians. If you or any of your colleagues are interested in serving as a trainer or on-call librarian for your state or in your area of expertise, please contact Rebecca Martin of the Service Committee.

Public Librarian Scholarships available for Intro to Legal Research Course

The LLNE Service Committee has made two scholarships available to public librarians interested in taking the Intro to Legal Research course.  If you know a public librarian who is interested in learning more about legal research, please direct them to the Service Committee page to apply.

Beyond the book drive: Service Committee Happenings

By the LLNE Service Committee

For the last year or so the Service Committee has been working on a book drive. As of the start of 2015, we have chosen one library from each New England state and have donated (or will in the next few weeks donate) a small legal collection to these recipients.  The feedback we have gotten about this project has been fantastic. Considering the success of the project, we have decided to continue to work with the concept of outreaching to New England public librarians.

The start of 2015 has been busy for the service committee. The new year has brought the addition of Rebecca Martin as co-chair of the committee, the inclusion of several new members (the committee has almost tripled in size!), and the formation of two subcommittees to work on new projects. One of the subcommittees will be working on creating a web portal while the other will be working on developing in-person educational and outreach opportunities. Both subcommittees will continue to focus their projects on outreach to public librarians in New England.

Sometimes LLNE members cannot attend the Spring or Fall Meetings due to a number of factors. This is also true (and perhaps more true?) for the Annual Meeting. Realizing that this is a reality of the membership of our organization, the Service Committee is trying to bring projects to you.  We are looking for members to volunteer to assist with educational opportunities at local public libraries that have requested legal research training. We are looking for members to volunteer to be designated as available to help out a local public librarian colleague over email or phone in a pinch. If you might considering helping out the service committee outreach to public libraries in New England, contact one of the committee co-chairs, Rebecca and Catherine via email.

Also, we are always looking for new, different, and unique ways to outreach to public librarians. If you know of a listserv we should join, can think of a conference we might attend, or have a fantastic idea for a public library educational program, contact us! We would love to hear your idea or even work with you to make outreach happen in your neck of the woods.

Book Drive Update from the Service Committee

In the fall of 2013, the LLNE Service Committee decided to organize a book drive in connection with the Fall Meeting at Social Law Library as a service initiative. The book drive was intended to benefit one non-law public library in Massachusetts. The response to the book drive was incredible. Once we understood the potential impact of such a project, the Service Committee decided to replicate the book drive efforts in the other five New England states. For more information about which titles we chose and how we selected them, see the state book lists at https://llne.org/committees/service/.

Book Drive

One year later, the committee is finalizing the collections, choosing recipient libraries, and donating the books. The book drive would not have been possible without the generous assistance and support of LLNE members, libraries, vendors, publishers, authors, editors and the LLNE Executive Board. At the LLNE business meeting in Fall 2014 the members of the Service Committee gave a short presentation about the book drive and thanked all of the contributors and partners. If you missed it, below is a link to our slide deck which includes all of the names of the donors and partners: https://www.haikudeck.com/p/baRL0bH0kI/llne-fall-2014.

The Committee is in the process of developing ideas and planning projects for the coming year. Recognizing a need for a stronger relationship with non-law public librarians in the region, the Service Committee is exploring ways to further enhance those connections and contribute our knowledge and talents. Our goal is to promote the institutions currently working in our communities, to partner with public librarians and to try and find new ways to support the amazing work already being done by libraries and librarians in New England.

As always, we encourage LLNE members who want to volunteer to contact the current members of the Service Committee (https://llne.org/committees/service/#members). We have big plans and always have room for more volunteers!

Finally, the Service Committee co-wrote an article for a forthcoming issue of AALL’s Spectrum and we invite you to read about our project in even more detail.

Update on Book Drive (LLNE Service Committee)

Recognizing that law librarians have unique skills to offer to the New England community and to foster a spirit of cooperation among the membership, the LLNE Service Committee has been charged with identifying, publicizing and promoting volunteer and community service activities. This year we have chosen “Outreach to Public Libraries” as our service initiative, and have begun a legal book drive to benefit public libraries throughout New England. In the interest of promoting access to the law and legal information, and guided by the Public Libraries Toolkit Collection Guidelines, we developed a wish list of reference-type law books. We intend to assemble complete mini-collections of these legal books and donate one collection to a public library in each of the New England states that do not regularly have such material as part of their collection. We hope these books will benefit members of the public and public reference librarians and help increase access to legal information in our region.

We have completed a mini-collection for Massachusetts and are in the process of identifying and selecting a library for the collection.

This is where you come in…

After receiving member donations at our Spring and Fall meetings, as well as receiving tremendous library, LLNE, and vendor support, we are still looking for donations of the following titles:

1. Maine Law Enforcement Officer’s Manual (2013-16)
2. The Criminal Law Handbook (13th, 2013)
3. How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy (18th, 2013)
4. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy (11th, 2012)
5. New Hampshire Practice & Procedure Handbook (2014)
6. Practical Guide to Divorce in New Hampshire (1st, 2012 supp.)
7. New Hampshire Special Education Law Manual (5th, 2009)
8. Divorce in Vermont (2006)
9. Divorce Law Guide from A to Z (2012)
10. The Probate Process from Start to Finish (2013)
11. Rhode Island Zoning for Non-Lawyers (2008)

We are also accepting monetary donations.

For more information about these titles or this project, please contact one of the committee members.

Catherine Biondo (chair), Legal Reference Librarian at Northeastern University School of Law Library
Nicole Dyszlewski, Senior Law Librarian at the Maine State Law and Legislative Reference Library
Joshua LaPorte, Circulation Desk Supervisor and Library Services Assistant at UConn School of Law Thomas J. Meskill Law Library
Rebecca Martin, Digital & Bibliographic Resources Librarian at Boston University School of Law Pappas Law Library

Congratulations Service Committee Scholarship Winners!

This March, as part of this year’s theme of Outreach to Public Libraries, the LLNE Service Committee offered two scholarships for public librarians in the New England area to attend LLNE’s Introduction to Legal Research Program. Stack of Law BooksThe five week program introduces participants to key resources and skills necessary for legal research; it was our hope that public librarians could use this knowledge to serve their diverse patron base.

We are proud to announce that the Committee has awarded the scholarships to Philip Peck, Reference Librarian and Webmaster at the Somerville Public Library in Somerville, Massachusetts, and Jean Slavkovsky, Information Librarian at the Malden Public Library in Malden, Massachusetts.

Congratulations to Philip and Jean!

Photo Credit: Patrick W. Moore

LLNE Service Project: Public Libraries Book Drive at the Spring Meeting

In conjunction with the LLNE Outreach to Public Libraries Service Initiative, we are sponsoring a book drive to collect a mini-collection of law books to donate to a Connecticut public library in need.
LLNE Book Drive: LLNE Outreach to Public Libraries

Donations of books or funds will be collected at the Spring Meeting. New books are preferred, but recently superseded editions withdrawn from your own library’s collections are also welcome. Checks may be made payable to LLNE and specify “Public Libraries Book Drive” in the memo field.

Details and a wish list of titles are available at the Spring Meeting website.