Interview with LLNE Spring Meeting Panelist Nicholas Mignanelli

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 one of the panelists.

Picture of Rufus looking like a good boy!
  1. Tell us a fun fact about yourself! I have always loved folklore (not the Taylor Swift album). I am especially fond of urban legends, ghost stories, and local cryptids. New England, being America’s creepy attic, is full of them.
  2. What is your favorite New England spot and why? There are so many to choose from, so I’ll highlight two spots found in our host city of New Haven. First, Center Church on the Green – The First Church of Christ in New Haven, a  church completed in 1814 that serves as the meetinghouse for a congregation that was organized in 1639. It contains a Tiffany window depicting Puritan minister John Davenport preaching his first sermon in New Haven, a Fisk organ, box pews, a crypt with 137 well-preserved headstones dating from 1687, and a friendly and welcoming congregation. Second, Lighthouse Point Park, a city park that features the iconic Five Mile Point Light, a turn-of-the-century carousel, a beach, nature trails, and magnificent views of the Long Island Sound and the New Haven skyline.
  3. Do you have any pets? No, but my parents have a German Shepard named Rufus who I adore. He is intelligent, funny, and a good boy (although I still haven’t forgiven him for the time he ate my HeinOnline facemask).
  4. What is your favorite hobby? I collect rare law books. I recently acquired a first edition of Tapping Reeve’s The Law of Baron and Femme, an early American legal treatise on “domestic relations” (family law) published here in New Haven in 1816.
  5. What do you enjoy most about being a law librarian? As Alfred, Lord Tennyson put it, “[m]astering the lawless science of our law, / That codeless myriad of precedent, / That wilderness of single instances, / Thro’ which a few, by wit or fortune led, / May beat a pathway out to wealth and fame.” I have a romantic view of legal information, and this is what brings me joy as a law librarian and legal research professor.  
  6. How did you end up where you are, doing what you’re doing? How did you end up in your specialty? I fell in love with legal research instruction as a student at UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law, where I worked as a teaching assistant in legal research. I had wonderful mentors who encouraged me to go to the University of Arizona Law Library Fellows Program, the first law library program to offer an entire graduate seminar on teaching legal research. After Arizona, I served as the reference & instructional services librarian and a lecturer in law at the University of Miami School of Law, where I first discovered Critical Legal Research and began to think about how I could integrate critical perspectives on legal information into the legal research classroom. About a year and a half ago, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to return to New England as the research & instructional services librarian and a lecturer in legal research at Yale Law School. 
  7. What do you think is one of the most important aspects of critical law librarianship? I think the heart of critical law librarianship is the theory that power structures in our society shape the organization of legal information and embed biases in legal research tools. Accordingly, we need to find ways to contend with this phenomenon, whether through the methods and strategies of Critical Legal Research or the pedagogical techniques of critical legal information literacy. 

Reflections from an LLNE Education Committee Co-Director

I am serving my second consecutive term as one of the Education Directors for LLNE.  A large part of the position is requesting Law Libraries to host the semi-annual LLNE Meeting and Conference.   

My first LLNE meeting was after moving from New York to Maine in 1994.   I agreed to drive to a meeting in Boston.  I was arrogant and thought driving in Boston would not be an issue.   That is when I first found out that Boston is not organized in a grid. I decided to stop for coffee on the way back to the parking garage at the end of the day. Everywhere I went people said, ‘You’re welcome, Maureen’, ‘Have a nice day, Maureen’.   A person held the door and said, ‘have a good evening, Maureen’.  I was busy thinking of how to easily get north and it would be on the drive that I realized I was still wearing my name tag. I have an appreciation now for the bus and train.  I have since learned that Boston is a very nice city to walk around and I still prefer walking to driving.

LLNE meetings are a place to spend some time meeting other Law Librarians.   When I attend a meeting, I always learn something new, talk to someone I did not know and, thoroughly enjoy myself. When Maine Law hosts the meetings, I enjoy being able to share my fondness for Maine and our little city, Portland.  New England is a large geographic space.  I suggest talking yourself into traveling and seeing more of New England’s  wonderful cities and neighborhoods. How often are you getting the opportunity to visit a part of New England you do not live in?  There is a good chance that an old friend will also be in attendance. Meet some new Librarians and see a Law Library you have not visited before.  

LLNE offers scholarships for those attending an LLNE Conference and Meeting

Thank you to all the Law Libraries who have hosted meetings.  We know there are many hours of work and planning that go into each meeting. The Education Directors and everyone at LLNE are aware that it is no easy task to host a meeting.

Save the Date!

Logo in blue and yellow for LLNE’s virtual fall conference, [In]accessible Justice: Innovation, Technology and Solutions with a yellow figure climbing the words

We are excited to announce, the LLNE Fall Conference, will be held November 12th online.

Entitled, [In}accessible Justice: Innovation, Technology, and Solutions, it will focus on the intersection of technology and access to justice and explore ways that technology can help to bridge the justice gap. The day will begin with speakers from the National Center for State Courts defining the justice gap and discussing existing approaches to address it. The following panels will explore ways technology can improve access to legal assistance, information, and institutions. Speakers from technology firms, nonprofits, law firms, law schools, courts, and bar associations will discuss their initiatives and how they have used technology to address an identified need. 

A lot of research and location scouting was done to find a COVID safe location for the Fall 2021 meeting.  Sadly, after monitoring health recommendations and local and regional COVID-19 developments, it was decided to not hold an in person meeting. 

Many more details and registration are coming soon on the conference website!

We look forward to seeing you there!!! -Nicole Dyszlewski, Jessica Almeida, Kaitlin Connolly, Danielle Lamontagne, Joshua LaPorte, Jessica Panella, Anne Rajotte, and Michael VanderHeijden