Additionally, though not specific to the law, GRC members in New Hampshire, Maine and Rhode Island noted several obscene material bills introduced in those states this session and are tracking their potential impact on libraries.
Catherine Biondo and Emilie Benoit, LLNE GRC Co-Chairs
The meeting will take place on Friday, April 14, 2023 at the MCLE Conference Center in Boston. The topic will be “A NextGen Curriculum for a NextGen Bar.” As many of you know, the first administration of the new bar exam will be July of 2026. Because the new bar examination will be testing foundational skills along with doctrinal subjects, many of us view the new bar exam as an opportunity for greater attention to fundamental skills, but have concerns about how the exam will test these skills. How can we best prepare students, and what curriculum changes should be made to ensure our students are ready?
We are fortunate to have a number of highly knowledgeable speakers and presenters on the NextGen bar and skills curriculum at this conference. Marilyn Wellington, Chief Strategy and Operations Officer for the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) will be the keynote speaker. Marilyn is leading the NCBE’s development of the Next Generation Bar Exam.
Associate Dean Hemanth Gundavaram from Northeastern University School of Law will also be speaking. Associate Dean Gundavaram presented at the AALS Annual Meeting in San Diego on the NextGen Bar and was on the NCBE Content Scope Committee. Associate Professor Dennis Prieto from Rutgers Law School was a panelist at the conference. Associate Professor Prieto is the one reference librarian on the NCBE Content Scope Committee, and we are interested in his thoughts on testing research skills.
Additionally, Dean Lisa Freudenheim of New England Law | Boston will address meeting attendees from the viewpoint of an administrator guiding the entire educational program for a law school. Dean Freudenheim has a background in academic support, which gives her a unique perspective on teaching and law school pedagogy.
As always, there will be an LLNE Business Meeting at lunch, opportunities to see new products from vendors and, most importantly, a chance to catch up with colleagues and friends.
The MCLE office is conveniently located within walking distance of South Station and the Red Line.
Many law libraries and many law librarians in New England have helped plan and host these semiannual events over the years. We all know the incredible amount of time and effort that goes into planning the meeting. Thank you to Kristin McCarthy and New England Law | Boston for hosting. Thank you to everyone who has hosted and planned a conference in the past. The tradition continues. Have a great spring semester.
Providing access to legal information is one of the main purposes of the Access to Justice Committee. LLNE Legal Link, which has been in existence for many years, recently received a complete review with updates ongoing. This presents an opportunity to think about what additional information may be useful for public libraries or members of the public.
Legal Link currently provides general information on legal materials and the ins and outs of legal reference. Each state also has a section that lists law libraries open to the public, information about free and low cost legal help, and legislative process information. Legal Link has also provided timely information, such as the Covid eviction protections for each state.
There are many possibilities for additional information that may help members of the public access information. One idea already presented to the committee is providing information about criminal record expungement for each state. Do you have an idea for commonly-sought legal information that we could provide through Legal Link? Contact the chair of the Access to Justice committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Location, location, location: The sheer beauty of the place stops first-time visitors to Roger Williams University (RWU) in their tracks.
And it is striking. Comprising 143 acres of New England waterfront, the RWU main campus overlooks Mount Hope Bay in Bristol, Rhode Island. Sparkling water and scenic coastline seem to lie in every direction. The towers of the historic Mount Hope Bridge loom in southerly views.
Like many buildings on campus, the RWU Law School features bay-facing rooms with expansive windows that take full advantage of spectacular views. Ample recreation areas and walking paths provide students, faculty and staff with plentiful opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Our great law library staff is no exception, and on most days, you will find many of us walking, running, or swimming over our lunch hour. From the law and campus libraries to the wraparound deck of the Sailing and Education Center (photo), there are also plenty of quiet places to study and relax.
Of course, for law librarians, our favorite spot is the law library. Providing a year-round retreat from campus bustle and all weather, the library is designed to afford open, comfortable, and multi-functional spaces to meet student needs for study, work, and research. As the library adjusts its collection to an ever-increasing inventory of digital materials, planned renovations in coming years will see some shelving spaces converted to even more practical nooks for student use.
RWU Law is the only law school in Rhode Island. Bearing the responsibility of that distinction, the law library maintains a unique collection of current and historical materials related to Rhode Island’s state and federal jurisdictions. The library also possesses a select collection of current and historical materials on other New England states, as well as key legal resources from farther afield.
Naturally befitting our coastal location, the law library collects heavily in maritime law. This collection supports the Marine Affairs Institute at RWU Law, a partnership with the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island Sea Grant. The Marine Affairs Institute is home to the Rhode Island Sea Grant Legal Program, which prepares law students with academic training and practical experience to work in ocean and coastal law and policy.
With its bay-view perch, RWU’s location is intertwined with its academic programs, strategic priorities, and campus life. With thoughtful interior spaces that complement outdoor natural beauty, RWU affords its community a healthy and supportive environment in which to thrive.
This fall, in addition to serving as the Chair of the Service Committee, Nicole starts her new position at Western New England University School of Law Library as the Associate Dean for Library and Information Resources and Professor of Law.
Nicole grew up in rural Ohio, where her first library experiences were thanks to the local book mobile. She joined the United States Marine Corps after graduating high school. She has been with WNE for seventeen years, when she started in an entry-level staff position and fell in love with library work. Nicole received her MLIS from Drexel University, and most recently, her JD from WNE in 2020. She is passionate about the role libraries play in student success.
She has been a member of LLNE since 2010 and has enjoyed serving on the Service Committee for the last two years. She is looking forward to leading the Service Committee this year and continuing to bring amazing service opportunities to our members. In keeping with the theme of starting new things, Nicole has been training to run her first (and maybe last) marathon in October.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the committee chairs for their work over the last year and welcome them as they do their work for this year. The new Communications Committee co-chairs are Emma Wood and Katharine Haldeman and the new Service Committee chair is Nicole Belbin. Thank you to all the new and returning committee chairs and members.
I’d also like to welcome new and returning board members. Welcome to Sara McMahon, our new Vice President, and congratulations to Christie Schauder on being reelected to the secretary position and Jessica Panella on being reelected to the education co-chair position.
While the pandemic is far from over, it has been wonderful to see many of you in person over the last few months as we use the tools we have available to us to stay safe. A huge thank you to all who organized and participated in a successful spring meeting at Yale, and I’m looking forward to the fall meeting on October 7th at the WayPoint Center in New Bedford! Keep an eye out for more information from education co-chairs Jessica Panella and Maureen Quinlan.
Finally, I’d like to encourage you all to think about what LLNE means to you as you go through your year. What do you value most about LLNE? Is it the community? Educational opportunities? The services we provide, like service committee projects and LRIP? I most value our membership – your creativity, your dedication, and your supportiveness with each other. I hope that as we go through this next year together, no matter what changes this year brings, we can all consider what makes LLNE special and hold space for that uniqueness.
Thanks to all who donated at the LLNE-SNELLA Spring 2022 meeting! The LLNE Service Committee partnered with the Lillian Goldman Law Library’s Books-to-Prison Project, an initiative spearheaded by Julian Aiken, Yale Law Library’s Assistant Director for Access and Faculty Services. Donations of new or like-new paperbacks (fiction or popular non-fiction) as well as recent law books help the project establish libraries in jails and prisons across Connecticut. The Project has also provided books to domestic violence shelters and will be working to expand outreach to additional local community programs.
Members had the opportunity to donate books to the Books-to-Prison Project either during the 2022 LLNE-SNELLA Spring Meeting at Yale Law School, by mail if they could not attend the meeting, or through donating e-gift vouchers to a local Connecticut bookstore. Through the generosity of LLNE-SNELLA members, the Books-to-Prison Project has so far received a total of 34 books and $200 in gift vouchers!
It’s never too late to make a donation! If you’d like to donate books to the Project, they can be mailed to:
We have one more panelist to feature before the Spring Meeting tomorrow. Yasmin Sokkar Harker is Student Liaison Librarian and Law Library Professor at CUNY Law. Her research interests include legal research pedagogy, critical information literacy, legal research and social justice, and information access issues. Read below for a more about Yasmin:
1. Tell us a fun fact about yourself! I participate I am in a book club that focuses on post apocalyptic science fiction.
2. Do you have any pets? Two cats.
3. What is your favorite hobby? Reading fantasy and science fiction, trying and failing to become fluent in a second language.
4. What do you think is one of the most important aspects of critical law librarianship? How much you can broaden your own critical perspective on legal information by learning from others and having intellectual humility.
For more information about speakers, take a look at this Libguide for the Critical Law Librarianship-LLNE / SNELLA Spring 2022 Meeting!
We are so excited for the LLNE / SNELLA Spring 2022 Meeting! In anticipation of our day at Yale Law School discussing Critical Law Librarianship, we hope you enjoy this interview with the keynote speaker:
What is your favorite Michigan spot and why? I’ve only been in Michigan for a couple of years, so I haven’t had the chance to explore as much as I’d like. Bath, a town near East Lansing, has some great dirt roads for running and trails for cross country skiing. That might be my favorite spot so far.
Do you have any pets? Yes. In addition to the breeding mom, Java, who is a black lab, I have two cats: Ella and Mäusel.
What is your favorite hobby? I enjoy distance running.
What do you enjoy most about being a law librarian? My favorite thing about being a professor is exploring ideas that are important to me and sharing them with my students and others. I love talking with law librarians because of our shared interests in legal research and citation.
How did you end up where you are, doing what you’re doing? How did you end up in your specialty? I developed an interest in American intellectual history in college thanks to Professor Thomas Haskell, whose class I took in my first semester at Rice University. I had also been interested in the law, and Professor Haskell encouraged me to pursue a J.D. in addition to a Ph.D. In graduate school, my advisor, Professor Sarah Barringer Gordon, introduced me to the graduates of the Litchfield Law School. Using them as a starting point, I ended up studying how the legal profession’s work drafting agreements, performing due diligence, securing notes, and giving advice shaped the American economy. This commercial role brought lawyers into direct contact with the law of slavery. When I found out that some of the opinions they wrote were still being cited today, I began to study that influence and catalog it at www.citingslavery.org
What do you think is one of the most important aspects of critical law librarianship? It is important to examine what is often unexamined. Critical law librarianship can encourage the legal profession to reflect on what it often takes for granted.