Meet Anna Lawless-Collins, LLNE’s Vice President

  • Introduce yo’self

My name is Scout. I’m Anna Lawless-Collins’s 14 year-old tuxedo cat, always dressed to impress. I was born under her porch when she was in law school, so Anna and her roommate adopted me and my brother, Catticus Finch. When Anna’s roommate graduated and moved out she took my brother with her (and good riddance, he’s a lazy bum of a cat). I’ve travelled with Anna from that apartment in Jamaica Plain to New Hampshire, Quincy, and now to our house in Walpole. A guy (Anna’s husband, I guess) moved in with us a while ago and four years ago a baby joined us too. Which is ok, I guess. I mostly hide from the baby. My favorite pastimes are begging for treats, chasing a laser dot, knocking stuff over, yelling at birds and animals outside, and murdering the mice in the basement (although I’m sometimes thwarted in that goal when the humans save the mice and put them outside). I also really like that Anna is home more now. I spend most of the day either in her lap or hanging around her office.

Picture of Scout, a black and white tuxedo cat in a cardboard box.
Scout sitting in a basket in a bookcase.
  • What does Anna do for fun?

Anna seems to like something she calls “exercise,” which just seems like a huge waste of energy to me. Why run for no reason when you could be napping on the heating vent under the couch? I like when she does yoga, though, because I can help her by climbing on her back while she’s doing it. She also really likes to knit, which I love because I can sleep on whatever she’s making. Or I can climb into her lap while she’s knitting, which I’m pretty sure is not in the way at all. Reading is also good, since I can just hang out with her on a blanket. I don’t like it when she does things outside, but I can watch through the window and yell at the animals out there. She’s also into some seriously nerdy pop culture. I judge her pretty hard for that. She and her husband also change the lyrics to songs to be about me, which I think is great, since really everything is about me anyway. She used to spend a lot more time out of the house, taking the baby to stuff or visiting other people, but for some reason that stopped about two years ago.

  • What is your favorite thing about Anna?

I’m glad not to be living under that porch anymore. Houses are a lot warmer and softer (see the aforementioned heating vents), so giving me a home was pretty great. She’s also the only person I trust enough to really cuddle with. She always assumes the best of everyone and likes just about everyone she meets, which I just don’t understand at all, but I guess is pretty nice.

Scout on a comfy blue chair, showing his belly.
  • What is your least favorite thing about Anna?

She doesn’t give me treats whenever I ask, which is pretty unreasonable, I think. Also, she’s really bad at sitting still! She’s always hopping up and down. It’s hard to settle into her lap when she’s bustling around the house.

  • What is Anna’s favorite guilty pleasure?

Since sometime in about 2016 she started to say she doesn’t have the emotional space for stressful reading, since the real world is stressful enough. She used to love thrillers and all kinds of creepy books, but now she mostly just reads books with happy endings. She’ll throw in sci fi, nonfiction, or fantasy or whatever, but mostly it’s just fluff.

  • If Anna won the lottery what would she do with the money?

Probably something boring, like pay off her mortgage and the debts of the people she loves, fund college for that kid, and donate it to causes she cares about (bah humbug). I say she should create a separate wing of the house entirely devoted to soft surfaces and Greenies.

Scout, a black and white tuxedo cat, looking out a window.
Scout, a black and white tuxedo cat.

Changes to LLNE Leadership

Hi everyone,

I hope you’re all doing well and that your year is off to a smooth start. I wanted to bring a some recent and upcoming LLNE developments to your attention.

The first is a very recent change to LLNE leadership. Our vice-president, Josh LaPorte, recently accepted a position as Reference and Access Services Librarian at the law library of St. John’s University School of Law. Congratulations, Josh! And also thank you. You’ve been a thoughtful, creative LLNE colleague over the years. We wish you all the best and look forward to crossing paths with you in the future. 

As directed by our bylaws, the LLNE Executive Committee met to appoint a new vice-president and approved the appointment of Anna Lawless-Collins to the  position. Anna is a long-time member of LLNE. She has served on a number of LLNE committees and is currently the co-chair of the LLNE task force on engaged library ethics. Anna is the Associate Director for Systems & Collection Services at Boston University’s Fineman and Pappas Law Libraries. Please join me in welcoming Anna to the Executive Board.

With regard to upcoming events, my colleagues at Yale’s Lillian Goldman Law Library are hosting this year’s spring LLNE meeting and we will be planning that event over the next few months. Please stay tuned for more news on that. Also please know that LLNE’s Office of the Ambassador of Fun is working on scheduling events for this winter/spring. So please look out for those events in the near future.

In the meantime, please stay warm and try to enjoy our region’s seasonal climate!

All the best,

Mike, LLNE President 2021-2022

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.


“Law Librarians as Access to Justice Allies”

LLNE President Nicole Dyszlewski and Service Committee chair Jessica Almeida recently published an article titled, “Law Librarians as Access to Justice Allies” in Public Services Quarterly.  The article was part of the “Special Libraries, Special Challenges” series and discusses the how law and public librarians can be allies in working toward shrinking the access to justice gap.  It also celebrates the work of a great number of LLNE leaders such as Catherine Biondo, Mike VanderHeijden, Josh Laporte, Jessica Jones, and all the members that have served on the Access to Justice and Service Committees.

The article begins by looking at the history of the LLNE Service and Access to Justice Committees, including the various service projects that have been organized over the past twenty years.  One of the most successful service projects was the Legal Book Drive, which led to the creation of LLNE Legal Link.  The Legal Link website has become a tool for law librarians to share their knowledge with public librarians and self-represented litigants, through the use of best practices and resource documents. 

The article continues by discussing the committees’ work in outreach, specifically presentations at regional public library conferences that allow law librarians and public librarians to connect over access to justice issues.  Also mentioned is the creation of the LLNE A2J Twitter account that promotes Legal Link documents as well as the programs and resources of other legal organizations such as court libraries and bar associations.

Finally, the authors explore the areas that public librarians are most concerned about.  They discuss the unauthorized practice of law, what it is, and how and when to say no to a question that veers into legal advice territory.  The article ends with a section on how to write a policy that explains legal information vs. legal advice.  This policy can be used by public library staff to help patrons understand the legal questions public librarians can and can’t answer.  For more information on the article, please reach out to Nicole Dyszlewski at or Jessica Almeida at

Meet LLNE’s Access to Justice Chair: an Exclusive Interview with Phoebe and Rupert about life with Josh

Hi! We are Phoebe and Rupert and Josh LaPorte is our person!

Picture of Phoebe and Rupert on a red carpet with a blue dog bed.

Ellen: Hi, Phoebe and Rupert. Thanks for sitting down with us today.

Sara: Thank you for granting us this exclusive interview.

Ellen: We want to get to know the real Josh better and we thought we could start by asking you a few questions.

Phoebe: I really don’t understand why you want to talk to me about Josh when you could talk to me about myself, but whatever cranks your tractor.

Rupert: I love Josh, he is my favorite human. What would you like to know?

Sara: What does Josh do for fun?

Phoebe: Josh likes to cook and I always supervise him in the kitchen. He bakes a lot of bread and will never give us any of the dough because he read that it can expand in our stomachs and make us blow up but I think that is an unproven theory and the only way we can prove it is incorrect is if Josh gives me some dough.

Rupert: Josh knows I love vegetable scraps and always gives them to me when Phoebe isn’t looking. If she sees she steals them.

Phoebe: Those two are thick as thieves. Men always sticking up for each other. I should get those scraps!

Ellen: What is your favorite thing about Josh?

Rupert: Josh spends a lot of time on the couch watching 1980s tv; The Golden Girls, Dynasty, Designing Women, Murder She Wrote. He lets me snuggle on the couch with him. I love big hair and shoulder pads and time on the couch.

Phoebe: Josh is very easy for me to boss around. He is such a sucker for cute looks, which means I get more things to eat. And yes, those people in the 1980s lived by my motto (paraphrasing Dolly Parton): The bigger the hair, the closer to God.

Sara: What is your least favorite thing about Josh?

Phoebe: Josh simply refuses to acknowledge that I am a grown dog and can make my own decisions. I have to bark a lot to get through to him. He also fails to see that I need several meals a day; after all, one must keep one’s strength up!

Rupert: Josh spends a lot of time at this place he calls “work.” I really hate when he goes anywhere without me and it’s been nice having him spending more time at home with me because of what he calls “the pandemic,” whatever that is.

Ellen: What is Josh’s favorite guilty pleasure?

Phoebe: Josh is always listening to Céline Dion. If I have to listen to “where does my heart beat now” one more time I will eat Josh’s slippers just to teach him a lesson. Do you know all the lyrics to “Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi?” Unfortunately, I do. I also know that Céline won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1988 with that awful song. Josh even makes us watch the terrible video with Céline wearing a grotesque and horrible white ballerina skirt with a double-breasted blazer and terrible permed hair. Emetic!

Rupert: I don’t mind if Josh listens to Céline Dion, as long as he lets me snuggle on the couch with him while he does it. But his real favorite guilty pleasure is baths. He is always in the tub and it bothers me because I can’t get in with him so I just lie on the bathmat until he gets out.

Sara: This brings us to our final question: If Josh won the lottery what would he do with the money?

Phoebe: Josh is always yammering on about community organizing and collective power. I think he would use the money to fund organizing efforts. This is dumb, he should use the money to buy a house with a big yard I can run free in!

Rupert: I agree with Phoebe. But I also hope that Josh will get a ramp so I can get on the couch by myself, I can’t jump up by myself anymore.

Nominations: Vice-President position

The LLNE Nominating Committee will be meeting this spring to come up with a list of candidates for elections to the LLNE Executive Committee. If you are looking for an opportunity to get more involved in LLNE, one way to do so (besides volunteering for one of our fantastic committees) is to serve on the Executive Committee as Secretary, Treasurer, Vice-President, or President. As part of our push toward greater transparency, we’re circulating information about each of these positions to help you decide whether you might want to serve in any of these roles at some point during your career. This installment is all about the Vice-President/President Elect.

The Vice-President serves for one year (July-June) before becoming President. Following that one-year term as President, the now former President continues to serve on the LLNE Executive Committee as Immediate Past President. So, all told, this is a three year commitment. The Vice-President assists the President (think meetings, retreats, communications), chairs the Budget Subcommittee, and – in my case – tries to learn as much as possible from President Dyszlewski, who knows stuff about LLNE procedures and policies, and seems to have a bottomless well of energy and ideas. Although there aren’t any prerequisites for serving as Secretary or Treasurer, candidates for Vice-President should have the benefit of having previously participated on the LLNE Executive Board. Basically, that means you’ll be better-prepared if you’ve had some prior involvement in the leadership of LLNE, whether as a chair or co-chair of one of the many committees, or as Secretary or Treasurer. Below you’ll find the official list of duties recorded in the LLNE Procedures Manual.

If you’re interested in the role of Vice-President, please contact Diane D’Angelo, Chair of the Nominating Committee. We would love for you to be involved.


From the LLNE Procedures Manual:

1. The Vice-President/President-Elect shall serve as a member of the LLNE Executive Committee and perform such duties as are assigned by the President. 

2. In the absence of the President, the Vice-President shall preside at Business and Executive Board meetings. 

3. In the event that the President resigns prior to the completion of the regular term of office or, in the judgment of the Executive Committee is unable to perform the duties of the office, the Vice-President/President-Elect shall assume the role of President for the remainder of the term. 

4. The Vice-President chairs the Budget Subcommittee of the Executive Board and is responsible for the timely submission of the budget proposal to the Executive Board for consideration and approval. 

5. The Vice-President/President-Elect shall join the chapter President in attending the annual meeting of the Council of Chapter Presidents at the AALL annual meeting and provides a report of the meeting to the Executive Board.

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.

Catherine Biondo appointed to AALL’s Government Relations Committee

We are pleased to announce that Catherine Biondo, a past LLNE President, has been appointed to a three-year term on AALL’s Government Relations Committee  (AALL-GRC) . The AALL GRC’s purpose  is to advance AALL’s legislative and advocacy efforts, both state and federal. Catherine informs us that some of the issues on which the AALL GRC is currently focusing include: additional COVID-19 related economic relief for law libraries; greater access to court records through PACER; and a modernized Federal Depository Library Program.  The AALL GRC liaisons keep SISs and Chapters informed about the Committee’s work and are available to answer policy-and-advocacy-related questions throughout the year.  

We asked Catherine what motivated her join the AALL GRC and about her past government-related experience.  Here is her response: 

I’d say my interest in government issues began in college.  I earned my A.B. in Government, with a Concentration in International Relations, from Cornell University. While at Cornell, I was the Editor of a non-partisan political journal called the Cornell Political Forum and a member of Model Congress (we hosted a conference for high school students to act as members of Congress and introduce and debate bills).  I also volunteered on a local political campaign. Rather than work in government, though, I went into law.  I earned my J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law and became a member of the New York and Connecticut bars.  I then worked as a research clerk for the Connecticut Superior Court, and practiced law for a few years, before deciding to become a law librarian.  I earned my M.S.L.S. from Simmons.   

My interest in government reignited when I had the opportunity to work with members of LLNE’s Government Relations Committee on UELMA when it came before the Massachusetts legislature during my presidential term.  [The LLNE GRC and its UELMA in MA Subcommittee]had done such a wonderful job tracking UELMA and preparing materials, and I found it really exciting to be a part of the process of effecting change in government (or at least trying to! ) That’s why I decided to apply to join the AALL GRC; to become more aware of the issues affecting libraries, learn to advocate better for those issues, and connect with librarian colleagues across the country who are active in this area.  

We are both former members of the AALL GRC, having each recently served three-year terms (not at the same time), and so we know from experience how much Catherine will enjoy serving on the AALL GRC. We look forward to a very productive time working with Catherine and the AALL GRC. The AALL GRC is fortunate to have someone with Catherine’s skills, talents and enthusiasm! 

Anne McDonald,  Co-chair, LLNE Government Relations Committee

Emilie Benoit, Co-chair, LLNE Government Relations Committee

Volunteer! Please!

Hi, LLNE members,

This is a great time to volunteer for an LLNE committee or project! 

I know it may not seem like a great time because we are all busy and picking up new and unexpected COVID-related duties, but it is! 

So much about 2020 has been disconnecting. We may be working outside of our comfort zones, outside of our offices, outside of our routines, or even outside of our job descriptions. One thing that can make us feel more normal is connecting with other library workers and giving back to our profession. We have some exciting projects planned this year to keep us connected and we would really appreciate some volunteers.

In order to volunteer for an LLNE committee or project, go to and click the link at the top of the page to fill out a short form with your preferences. We will be in touch!

Finally, now is the time to renew your memberships. On behalf of myself and the LLNE Executive Board we are so grateful that you choose to be a member and be engaged with the work of our organization.

Thank you,