Happy 4th of July!

Happy Fourth of July from the Law Librarians of New England!  Here are some fireworks safety tips and legal reminders from mass.gov.  There are similar useful pages for  VermontConnecticut, New HampshireRhode Island, and Maine.  Each state approaches fireworks slightly differently; some allow nothing, some allow sparklers, some allow non-aerial fireworks with permits, and some don’t allow any non-licensed fireworks displays at all.

Stay safe and enjoy the holiday!

LLNE Legal Research Instruction Program

Every year LLNE runs the Legal Research Instruction Program, offering legal research training to folks in the community, from technical services librarians to library students, for the amazingly low price of $150.00. This was my first year administering the program, and it made me realize how much it depends on the incredible support of LLNE members. So I want to take a moment to thank those who made this awesome program happen:

  • Claire DeMarco from Harvard, for giving everyone a great overview of the legal system.
  • Rick Buckingham from Suffolk, for teaching the ins-and-outs of caselaw research
  • Kristin McCarthy from New England Law, for a nifty overview of statutes
  • Steven Alexandre de Costa from Boston University, for a dive into administrative law (and additionally, for inspiring at least one of our attendees to comment on proposed administrative law through regulations.gov)

And last, but certainly not least, a huge thank you to Ron Wheeler and Suffolk University Law Library for hosting the Legal Research Instruction Program. In all, we had 9 students, gave out 2 scholarships, and ran 6 individual sessions. Thank You!

Action Alert: Mass Lawyers Weekly poll about law libraries

By Michelle Pearse
LLNE Government Relations Member and Communications & Technology Committee Co-Chair

A recent issue of Mass. Lawyers Weekly has an article about potential closure of various Massachusetts trial courts.  http://masslawyersweekly.com/2015/06/04/mba-head-30-courthouses-on-chopping-block/   On the right hand side, there is a poll asking how often you visit your local law library.  If you are interested in participating, please fill it out (and encourage your patrons to fill it out) soon as it will probably close in a couple of days.

Thanks to Bob DeFabrizio for bringing the article and poll to the attention of the LLNE Executive Board!

Mass. Court System Press Release: Trial Court Access to Court Records Committee Announces Notice of Public Hearing

The Massachusetts trial courts have issued a press release regarding public access to court records.  You can read the press release here.  The public meeting will bee June 15, 2015 from 4-6 pm at the Suffolk Superior courthouse.

UELMA Advocacy for Massachusetts Residents – Hearing on MA Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act H.43 (UELMA) Tomorrow!

ALERT: Hearing on Massachusetts Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act H.43 (UELMA)

A hearing for H. 43 before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary will be held on Wednesday, 5/27/2015. Barbara Morgan will testify for LLNE and Marnie Warner will be available to answer questions. We are requesting that LLNE members who live in Massachusetts and have state Representatives and/or Senators ON THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY contact them to express their support for the bill. Time is of the essence!

1. Who are your legislators?

2. Is one of them a member of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary?

3. If one of your delegates is a member of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary and you support UELMA, please e-mail a letter to them supporting its passage, and then send the letter in the mail. A sample letter to a Committee Member is attached, but it is suggested that each person make the letter their own with a personal touch.

A one-page summary of why UELMA should pass in Massachusetts is available from the llne.org website at http://bit.ly/1AplqMd. A sample letter is attached, but the more you can personalize it, the better. Additional materials about UELMA appear on the AALL website.

Thank you! This legislation is at the heart of what we do as Law Librarians, giving people access to their law.

Barbara Morgan, Barbara Schneider, Marnie Warner, Joan Shear, Sue Zago and Michelle Pearse
LLNE Massachusetts Government Relations Committee
Sub-committee working on the passage of UELMA in Massachusetts

Nominees for the LLNE Board

The LLNE Nominating Committee has presented the final slate of nominees for the LLNE Board.  Elections will be held at the LLNE Luncheon and Business Meeting at the AALL Annual Meeting.

VP/President-Elect: Elaine Apostola
Education Director
: Ellen Frentzen
Treasurer: Rick Buckingham

The nominating committee includes Jocelyn Kennedy, Marnie Warner, and Kyle Courtney.

Vermont Law Library Transition Plan

By Anne McDonald and Emilie Benoit, Co-Chairs, LLNE Government Relations Committee

LLNE Government Relations Committee would like to share this news from the Vermont State Department of Libraries with our membership.

Unfortunately, the state legislature did not allot enough money to keep the state law library open and Vermont Law School will take on legal reference services to the public.

Vermont State Librarian Martha Reid comments: “The only good news came in the final days when the Legislature returned to our budget $67,000 that had been slated to be cut, the result of advocacy from the Board of Libraries and others. This $67,000 will be used as a pass-through grant to the Vermont Law School so that their library can take on legal reference services for the public. I am grateful to leaders in the House and Senate who recognized the essential need for public access to legal information and a trained law librarian — and to the Law School for stepping up to the plate; it will help ease the pain of pending cuts to be made in services now provided at the State Library here in Montpelier.” Here is a link to the full text of the Department of Libraries newsletter.

We thank Emily Feltren, Director of AALL’s Government Relations Office, for her constant vigilance on the Vermont law library situation and for keeping us informed.

Emily has spoken with Vermont Law School’s Library director who has stated that while the law school is rural, she is willing to take on the commitment of serving the public.

State Law Librarian Paul Donovan was honored with the Vermont Department of Libraries Staff appreciation award.  Congratulations, Paul!

Karen Quinn receives Edgar Award

Karen Quinn received the Edgar Award at the Spring 2015 LLNE meeting.  LLNE is pleased to provide her remarks below.

“I am deeply touched and honored to accept the Edgar Bellefontaine Award today.   It is truly fitting as today, April 24th, is the fifth anniversary of Edgar’s death.

“I know many of you here remember Mr. B personally.  How could you forget him?  He was larger than life in every sense of the phrase.     He was the commander of the  Social Law Library ship for 35 years and during those many years, he not only witnessed many innovations, he masterminded them.

“A technological guru before the phrase was coined – he was high tech and embraced automation with open arms.  With his can-do attitude, he encouraged his creative staff to follow his lead and implement cutting edge projects.  He foresaw the advent of computerization of legal materials as early as the 60’s, set up the Social Law Library as an internet service provider in the 90’s, and in 1989 created a searchable databases of Massachusetts primary and administrative law.  Anyone old enough will remember how law librarians would shudder at the prospect of research in administrative law and are grateful to Edgar and the Social Law Library for this contribution to legal research.

“Oh,  and did I mention that he  worked tirelessly on committees, mentored new librarians and, as Regina Smith noted, put the Social  in Social Law Library.  Highly regarded as a preservationist, he gave new life to thousands of pages of court records which were found in the musty court house basement and brought them into the light for generations to come.

“I must say that I was a bit awestruck by Mr.  B. and his many accomplishments.   To receive this award and to have my name associated with Mr.  B. is an honor indeed.   But when you think about it, I don’t think we are that different.  Whether it be technology, digitization, reference or  preservation, I believe throughout our careers as librarians, we shared many of the same goals, with the main goal providing service to our users and greater access to justice.     That is Service with a capital S — Service to our patrons, whether large law firms, other librarians, solo practitioners or Joe Q Public.   Each constituency was to be treated equally and each was to be provided with the absolute best legal materials our individual budgets could buy.  By providing this service, the playing field would be levelled and access to justice would be enhanced.  Short and sweet, that is what we do, day in and day out and that is why law libraries remain and hopefully will remain, a cornerstone of democracy.

“Thank you to Raquel and Nicole for those lovely remarks, to the  committee for this honor, to my staff at the Rhode island State Law Library, most especially Colleen Hanna, who was  always there for me,  and to all  my friends at LLNE.

“It certainly has been a wonderful ride.”

Congratulations to Karen and thank you for all your work.

Two New Exhibits at the Harvard Law School Library

By Karen Beck

The Harvard Law School Library’s Historical & Special Collections team is pleased to announce two new exhibits, both on view from 9 to 5 daily in the Caspersen Room, Langdell Hall, through mid-August 2015.

It Was a Dark and Stormy Semester … Portrayals of Harvard Law School in Literature” seeks to highlight the role of Harvard Law School in fiction. Sometimes the law school serves as the scene, sometimes the featured characters are law school graduates, and sometimes the law school inspired its students to become novelists during their JD studies. A companion website to the exhibit can be found here. The exhibit was curated by Library staff members Claire DeMarco and Ed Moloy.

By Popular Demand” is our first student-curated exhibit. It features objects in a variety of formats from Historical & Special Collections, selected by HSC staff and voted on by HLS students.

I hope you have a chance to view both exhibits next time you find yourself in the Cambridge area.