Meet the New Service Committee Chair Nicole Belbin

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 Belbin, Western New England University

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.

Welcome Message from the LLNE President

Hello, and welcome to another new year in LLNE!  

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. 

Anna Lawless-Collins
Associate Director for Systems & Collection Services
Boston University School of Law
Fineman and Pappas Law Libraries

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. 

Take care, 

Anna

LLNE-SNELLA Members Support the Books-to-Prison Project

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:

Julian Aiken

Yale Law Library

127 Wall Street, New Haven, 06511

Or you can purchase an electronic gift card through RJ Julia Independent Booksellers and send it to julian.aiken@yale.edu.  

If you have any questions, please contact co-chairs, Jessica Almeida at jessica.almeida@umassd.edu and Kaitlin Connolly at kaitlin.connolly@jud.state.ma.us.

Thank you all again for supporting this cause!

The Service Committee

Interview with Spring Meeting Panelist Yasmin Sokkar Harker

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!

Interview with LLNE Spring Meeting Panelist Ronald Wheeler

As we continue to get ready for the LLNE Spring Meeting, we want to share this interview with Ron Wheeler, the plenary panel moderator:

  1. Tell us a fun fact about yourself!  
Ronald E. Wheeler, Jr.
Director of Fineman & Pappas Law Libraries

I once attended a Madonna concert dressed as Madonna. 

  1. What is your favorite New England spot and why?  

Downtown Providence because it is urban and foody and cultured and full of life. 

  1. Do you have any pets?  

No, but I still hope to one day own a very large dog. 

  1. What is your favorite hobby?  

Dancing, reading, traveling 

  1. What do you enjoy most about being a law librarian?  

The people I work with. 

  1. How did you end up where you are, doing what you’re doing? How did you end up in your specialty?  

A combination of hard work, dumb luck, serendipity, and remembering to always be my true and authentic self. 

  1. What do you think is one of the most important aspects of critical law librarianship?  

The need for us to always question what is presented to us as truth. 

Interview with LLNE Spring Meeting Speaker Justin Simard, Michigan State University College of Law

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:

Justin Simard is an Assistant Professor of Law at the MSU College of Law where he teaches Professional Responsibility, Commercial Law, and Legal History and directs the Citing Slavery Project. Justin has a B.A. in History from Rice University, a J.D. and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Pennsylvania.
  1. Tell us a fun fact about yourself! I’m a host for a breeding mom for Leader Dogs for the Blind. That means that I help whelp and raise future guide dogs. Here’s a link that describes our work: Voices of the Leader Dog Community: Lauren Eckberg and Justin Simard – Leader Dogs for the Blind
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. What is your favorite hobby? I enjoy distance running.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
  7. 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.