This Spring, the committee organized three projects to coincide with the LLNE FUNtivities and Spring Virtual Meeting.
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.
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 email@example.com.
Don’t forget to register for the June 11th (this Friday!) screening and discussion of the acclaimed documentary Coded Bias. The event starts at 7pm EST: tinyurl.com/xr5dm9wf. The filmmaker, Shalini Kantayya, has also compiled an activist toolkit for those interested in becoming advocates for “algorithmic justice.” If any LLNE members would like to get involved, page 24 of the toolkit lists recommended organizations to which you can subscribe and make donations.
Another way to get involved is by signing the Universal Declaration of Data Rights as Human Rights, which was developed by the Coded Bias team. Upon signature, your name and zip code are sent to US elected officials. The committee is encouraging members to sign the declaration if they are interested in further supporting this cause.
We have another event coming your way this week! After the 2021 LLNE Virtual Spring Meeting, join us THIS Friday June 11 at 7pm EST for a screening and discussion of the documentary Coded Bias. See below for more information and to register.
Coded Bias Screening and Discussion Friday, June 11th at 7pm ET/ 6pm CT/ 5pm MT/ 4pm PT
CODED BIAS explores the fallout of MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini’s discovery that facial recognition does not see dark-skinned faces accurately, and her journey to push for the first-ever legislation in the U.S. to govern against bias in the algorithms that impact us all. Join us for a screening of this acclaimed documentary followed by a discussion featuring:
Nicole Dyszlewski (moderator), Head of Reference, Instruction, & Engagement, Roger Williams University School of Law
Sarah Lamdan, Professor of Law, CUNY School of Law
Susan Nevelow Mart, Professor and Director of the Law Library, University of Colorado Law School
It’s time for another free funtivity sponsored by LLNE! On Friday April 30 at 6pm EST let’s jet off to Australia to meet Cadbury the llama and friends. We’ll tour their paddock, then use our newfound knowledge as inspiration in an interactive drawing and animation lesson. Great for all ages (bring the family!) and all artistic skill levels. To register and obtain the zoom details visit https://tinyurl.com/2e2bjaca. Please feel free to contact Kelly Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions and for more information on this virtual event visit https://www.airbnb.com/experiences/1711473 .
As my 2019-2021 term, as one of the Educational Directors draws nearer to the end I wanted to reflect on this time. Like everyone else I thought this commitment would be the usual experiences of some in-person conferences and some telephone meetings.
LLNE has two Educational Directors. Each serves two years with the terms ending on different years. My term started in July 2019. I did not attend the annual AALL meeting in 2019 in Washington, D.C. as I was at a family reunion. I was without a care and thought I would attend the meeting in July of 2020 in Cincinnati.
One strange thing about being one of the co-Educational Directors is attending meetings and thanking hosts for work done by previous Educational Directors. My first LLNE Conference as Educational Director was hosted by the Harvard Law Library and was on Artificial Intelligence and Algorithms in Law Libraries and Legal Practice. Little did we know this was the last in-person conference that would be planned for a long time.
One of the many wonderful experiences working with LLNE has been meeting so many dynamic and creative law librarians. There was a resilience and a commitment to moving forward during challenging times. LLNE leadership stepped up as COVID-19 protocols were put in place and planned a virtual spring 2020 conference. Summer gave way to fall and COVID-19 would not allow an in person conference. So, the University of Connecticut Law Library planned a virtual Fall Conference. Suffolk will host a virtual conference in the late spring of this year.
We will meet virtually for the AALL Annual Meeting this summer. When the new academic year starts and the leaves fall again LLNE will again plan and host the meeting. The traditions will continue.
Do you miss traveling? Are you in need of a fun break from your routine? The Law Librarians of New England have you covered! Over the next few months, LLNE will be hosting a series of FUNtivities for members to get together and enjoy some fun (and free!) virtual adventures.
Join us for our first FUNtivity on Thursday, April 1 at 7pm EST, when we’ll follow a Plague Doctor through Prague. This hour long interactive tour will take us back in time as we experience the empty streets of Prague during the Black Death and plagues of the 17th and 18th centuries. For additional details on the virtual tour visit: https://www.airbnb.com/experiences/1658926
After the tour we’ll keep the Zoom going for some open social time! Families are welcome, but we recommend ages 7+ for this FUNtivity. To register and obtain the zoom details, visit bit.ly/2NGI68v. This event is capped at 100 participants, so make sure to sign up and save your spot soon! Please feel free to reach out to Kelly Johnson at email@example.com with any questions.
We look forward to seeing you there and stay tuned for more FUNtivities in the coming weeks!
During Covid-19 LLNE has continued this tradition. In spring of 2020 LLNE hosted a virtual meeting and in the fall of 2020 University of Connecticut School of Law Library hosted a webinar and meeting on Dismantling Bias.
Another tradition is providing an annual Legal Research Instruction Program. The 2021 program will start on March 17th. Suffolk University School of Law Library will round out the programing by hosting the meeting for spring 2021. The Education Committee is soliciting ideas from members for topics or suggestions on ways to improve the format or delivery of these LLNE’s educational programs. Please reach to the Co-Directors Maureen Quinlan and Jessica Panella.
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 volunteers. If 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.
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.
Hold onto your receipt! Soon, we will be announcing a great virtual event to raise funds for Re-Center and we want you to be part of it. More information to come…
The committees are also promoting a number of transcription projects through the Library of Congress. The transcription process is easy and just a few pages can make a huge difference in discovery and education. Check out the following transcription projects: