Hello and Welcome from the New LLNE President!

Good morning! 

As the new LLNE president I wanted to take a moment and welcome everyone to this new membership year. In many ways, this year seems dishearteningly similar to last year, with all the uncertainty, anxiety, and apprehension about how the pandemic might affect our personal and professional lives. Our immediate past president, Nicole Dyszlewski, along with LLNE volunteers on and off the Executive Board, dedicated enormous quantities of time and energy to provide opportunities for us to continue to learn, engage with each other, and enjoy each other’s company — even without the luxury of face-to-face gatherings. Special thanks to all of you as well as to the following outgoing members of the Executive Board:

  • Bob de Fabrizio, outgoing past president, Manager of Law Libraries, MA Trial Courts
  • Ellen Frenzen, outgoing co-chair of the Communications Committee, Assistant Dean for Administration at Boston University Law School         
  • Anne McDonald, outgoing co-chair of the Government Relations Committee, Law Library Coordinator, Rhode Island Dept. of the Attorney General
  • AnnaKatherine Wherren: outgoing chair of Scholarships Committee, Legal Research Librarian, Suffolk University Law School

I’d also like to welcome the incoming board members:

  • Catherine Biondo, co-chair of the Government Relations Committee, Research Librarian, Harvard Law Library
  • Kaitlin Connolly, co-chair of the Service Committee, Reference Librarian, State Library of Massachusetts
  • Josh LaPorte, vice president, president-elect, Head of Access Services, Boston University Law Library
  • Anne Rajotte, chair of the Access to Justice Committee, Head of Reference Services, University of Connecticut Law Library
  • Dawn Smith, chair of the Scholarships Committee, Head of Acquisitions, Yale Law School

LLNE means different things to each of us. For the 2012 version of me, membership simply meant seasonal meetings and the potential for engaging more with the LLNE community – once my infant and toddler daughters got a little older. In 2021, it means working with and learning from a group of awesome people from across New England. It’s also meant drawing cartoon llamas with other LLNE families and getting a glimpse of what executive board members’ canine companions think of them. Whatever this year brings, I hope we are able to find ways to continue to connect with each other. 

Take care.

Mike

Ending My Year of Service

By Nicole P. Dyszlewski, Immediate Past President as of 7/1

Dear LLNE Members,

Monday was leadership training at AALL for new SIS and chapter leaders and I was asked to speak about LLNE’s diversity and inclusion activities over the past year or so. It is with great pride that I talked about the statements we have written or signed, the executive board retreat focused on antiracism, the educational content we have produced, the money we raised, the awareness we raised, and the ongoing work of the taskforce that was formed. Although it was an exciting discussion and fun to talk about all of the amazing things we have done, I was quick to point out that this was not just the work of our organization’s leaders, but the work of our organization’s members.

As I end my year of service as President of this organization, I want to express my gratitude to all of the members who served in some way. Whether you volunteered to be on a committee, or chair a task force, or be an officer, or give money to a worthy cause, or attend an event, or speak at a panel, or decorate a bag for Meals on Wheels, your work was important and I am grateful. I am especially grateful to those who are ending their terms as officers or committee chairs or committee members. Thank you for your service to our organization. You will be missed, but the opportunities for volunteerism are always here if you wish to re-engage with the work.

This has been a difficult year personally and professionally for many. Many of us have suffered losses and tremendous change. But through it all, LLNE members continued to give and serve. Beyond work on diversity initiatives, we have had online meetings, a large online successful LRIP class, service projects, increased engagement on our blog and listserv, interviews with our pets, maintenance on our website, continued work on UELMA advocacy, the creation of a new archives policy, and monthly activities organized by our Fun Ambassador. LLNE is more active now than ever. We are a community working together, in spite of the demands on our time, our burnout, and fatigue.

In closing, a note about grace. We might not have gotten done all the things we wanted to in our jobs or house projects or committee service this year. And that is ok. At the same leadership training on Monday, I heard Jenny Silbiger and Taryn Marks both speak about giving yourself grace in the moments when you haven’t gotten everything done you set out to get done. And so that is the message I want to close with. Working intentionally toward the mission of this organization and giving grace to ourselves and those around us has been critical in this last year. And it needs to be critical going forward, as well. I have learned not just from what I have gotten done, but what I have failed to get done this year. I hope that I am able to finish out my term as Immediate Past President with this same grace.

Service Committee Spring 2021 Project Wrap-Up

This Spring, the committee organized three projects to coincide with the LLNE FUNtivities and Spring Virtual Meeting. 

NEADS Prison Pups posing for a picture.

Our first project was raising money for NEADS Prison Pup Program.  NEADS is an organization that provides service dogs to veterans, people with physical disabilities, individuals with autism, and even assistance dogs that work in hospitals and courthouses.  90-95% of NEADS puppies are trained in correctional institutions in New England through their Prison Pup Program.  Through the generosity of our members, we have raised over $1,300.  If you would like to give to this wonderful organization, please visit  https://support.neads.org/llne.

Child posing with a card made for Meals on Wheels.

Our second project was creating cards and decorated lunch bags for Meals on Wheels locations throughout New England.  The committee is happy to report that members have pledged to create over 300 cards and bags.  Please remember to take a photo of your creations and use the #LLNEFuntivities on Twitter.  The sign-up form is now closed, but if you are interested in contributing to this project, please email Jessica at jessica.almeida@umassd.edu

Coded Bias Activist Toolkit poster.

Our last project highlighted an informational resource to compliment the Coded Bias screening and panel on Friday, June 11th.  The committee showcased the filmmaker’s activist toolkit, containing ways to get involved in the algorithmic justice movement.  The committee is encouraging members to sign the Universal Declaration of Data Rights as Human Rights, which was developed by the Coded Bias team, if you are interested in further supporting this cause. Upon signature, your name and zip code are sent to US elected officials.  For more information, go to https://llne.org/interested-in-algorithmic-justice-here-are-ways-llne-members-can-help/.

If you are interested in joining the Service Committee or have an idea for a project, please contact Jessica Almeida at jessica.almeida@umassd.edu.

VOTE NOW! For the 2021-2022 LLNE officer candidates

The 2021-2022 slate of LLNE officer candidates has been announced and now is your opportunity to vote. Please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PHZYW9Zto cast your anonymous vote. The poll will close on Friday, June 4th at 5:00 pm.

VP/President-Elect: Josh LaPorte, Head of Circulation, Boston University, Fineman & Pappas Law Libraries
Treasurer: Rachel Weiss, Research Librarian, Nixon Peabody
Education Director: Maureen Quinlan, Reference & Gov Doc Law Librarian, University of Maine School of Law

Information from the LLNE Nominating Committee

Hi Everyone, 

LLNE members will be voting to fill three open positions this spring: Vice-President/President-Elect, Treasurer, and 1 Education Director position.  If you know someone who would be great in one of these roles, please reach out to one of us by March 16th with your nominations.

LLNE Nominating Commitee, 2021

Amy King — Regional Library & Research Manager, Nixon Peabody (aking@nixonpeabody.com)

Alex Burnett — Senior Law Librarian, Maine State Legislature & Co-chair, LLNE Technology Committee (alex.burnett@legislature.maine.gov))

Diane D’Angelo, Chair — Assistant Director for Public Services, Suffolk University Law Library

Be well, 

Diane

Update from the Government Relations Committee

Due to the pandemic, which prevented most state legislatures in our region from holding sessions, the LLNE Government Relations Committee does not have any legislative activity or policy initiatives of interest to law librarians to report. Our bit of good news: Catherine Biondo, Research Librarian at Harvard Law School and former LLNE President, is the LLNE GRC’s newest member and is serving as the LLNE GRC’s Massachusetts State Representative. As detailed in our September 2020 blog post, Catherine was recently appointed to the AALL Government Relations Committee and also serves as AALL’s liaison to LLNE.

A Message from the President: LLNE Executive Board Retreat on Antiracism and a Volunteer Opportunity

Earlier this month the LLNE Executive Board and LLNE Committee members were invited to engage in a two day retreat on the topic of antiracism. It is hard to take out 2 days of your schedule and make yourself available for intense volunteer work, but many of our amazing board members and volunteers did; some while on reference duty; and some on mommy duty. Beyond just showing up, those that attended engaged with the work, for which I am grateful.

The speaker on the first day of the retreat was Dr. Raul Fernandez who is the Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at BU’s Wheelock College of Education & Human Development and a lecturer in Wheelock’s Higher Education Administration program. He was phenomenal. (I recorded the talk and am free to share it with members if any of you are interested!). The remainder of the retreat was spent on thinking about big ways and small ways we can make our organization and its policies antiracist and more inclusive.

In 2020, our board released a statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement where we stated:

We therefore want you to know we are committed to systemic change and doing work which furthers equity, access, and justice for the Black community not only in our country, but within our organization.

This was a statement condemning acts of violence and committing ourselves to the work of systemic change. We released the statement because we thought it critical to affirm our beliefs. It is also an invitation to hold the organization and its leaders responsible for following through on its statement. The statement was a promise to do more and do better.

The work of the new Diversity and Inclusion Working Group is one way we are upholding our promise. This retreat was another. Our work will continue throughout this Spring.

One of the themes that surfaced at the retreat was that the organization needs to be more open and inclusive when selecting leaders. Another way of expressing this is that our organization needs to choose leaders in a different, and more transparent, way. We need to recruit beyond our own networks of colleagues and instead post position descriptions and open calls for volunteers in a more intentional way. This may not yield instant results but it may set the tone for a more inclusive professional organization.

One way this can begin is through the organization’s yearly nomination process. The first step in this journey is selecting members of the LLNE Nominating Committee.

The Nominating Committee currently has room for 2 volunteersIf anyone is interested, please email me. As described below, the duties are fairly limited and the tasks completed in about 2 months.

Below is the description of the Nominating Committee charge:

1. Members of the Nominating Committee are appointed by the President in consultation with the Executive Committee at least ninety days prior to the annual meeting. Three in number, the members should represent a cross-section of library types and states in the Chapter. The Chairperson should be a previous member of the Committee. Members hold office for a term of one year.

2. Committee members shall develop a list of candidates who are knowledgeable, dedicated to improving the profession, have an interest in the chapter and its goals, and have a willingness to serve. In developing the slate of candidates, the Committee shall attempt to give representation to each state and library type when possible.

3. The Committee develops a priority list of candidates for each office and approaches each candidate about his/her willingness to serve.

4. Once the slate of candidates has been finalized, the Chairperson notifies the President at least sixty days prior to the annual meeting. Although additional nominations may be made directly to the President (see Article VI of the LLNE Bylaws), the slate generally includes one candidate for each office.

5. After the President has been notified, the Committee Chairperson sends a copy of the Committee Report to the editor of LLNE News for publication at least thirty days prior to the annual meeting.

I am the president of LLNE for the next 6 months and I hope that during this time, and beyond, we all can work to make LLNE a better organization. I am open to hearing about ways this can be done. I invite you to email me or call me to discuss your thoughts. I invite you to hold us accountable for our actions and our statements.

Finally, thanks should also go to the D&I working group members and leaders for their work. Also, there was a lot of behind the scenes work that was done by Christie, Mike, and Rachel to make the retreat happen that I am thankful for. 

Nicole P. Dyszlewski

LLNE President

End of Year Message from LLNE President Nicole Dyszlewski

Dear LLNE members,

2020 has been memorable but I think we are all ready for the start of the new year.

This year has been filled with loss and challenge. But it has also been a year marked by tremendous innovation and grace.

I am proud that our organization was one of the first law library organizations to hold its conference online in the Spring. This educational opportunity was followed up by frequent LLNE Friendly Friday Zoom meetings, a trivia event, and another all online meeting this Fall, hosted by UConn.

We were also one of the first law library organizations to issue a Black Lives Matter statement. Since issuing that statement, we’ve continued the conversation about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and anti-racism in our profession with other chapters and with our national organization’s leadership. I heard from other chapter leaders that our statement influenced their own deliberations about both the creation and content of their chapters’ statements. Further, LLNE organized a new Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, and they are doing important work which will help LLNE act in accordance with its espoused beliefs.

The work of a regional law library association is sometimes quiet and forgotten. But the impact of the work our association and our members do is loud. The Service Committee raised thousands of dollars for a local charity, the A2J Committee is rolling out new content on eviction resources, and our members are writing, teaching, leading, helping, and researching all the time.

Thank you to all our members, leaders, and volunteers for your contributions this year. I am proud to be the president of an organization that consistently leads our profession forward, even during trying times.

Happy New Year!

Nicole Dyszlewski

LLNE President

Edgar Award presented to Darcy Kirk

Darcy Kirk was presented the Edgar Award at the recent Fall Meeting. Due to the virtual format of the meeting, we arranged the presentation of the award to be done via a video. We reached out to a handful of current and former colleagues and friends of Darcy to contribute tribute videos, arranged for a brief outdoor presentation to be video recorded, and then edited everything together into a presentation video which was shared during the lunch break. You can view the video here.

We would like to thank everyone who helped make this award and its special presentation possible.

Technology Committee Update

The LLNE Technology Committee continues to maintain and develop the LLNE.org website, support the LLNE and Executive Board listservs, and implement and maintain automated membership tools. Specifically, over the last couple of years, Artie and Alex have implemented Memberpress, which is an automated membership tracking and payment tool, improved search engine optimization so that LLNE.org shows up higher in search engine result, and brought the website back online after a serious hack. We also reviewed several options and selected a new listserv platform, Mail-List, after AALL’s listserv became unfeasible as well as reviewing several video platforms and selecting Vimeo for LLNE’s hosted videos.

After the website was hacked, Artie and Alex took several steps to increase security, including changing a plethora of passwords, purging unused website plugins and updating out of date ones, and ensuring continuous backups of the entire site.

We work with many of the other LLNE committees to support their goals and Artie and Alex are always happy to help with anything relating to the website or listserv. Help can include training committee members on using the WordPress system, updating web pages on their behalf, or aiding them in finding technological solutions, such as Memberpress.