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The AALL Spectrum® Blog is published by the American Association of Law Libraries. Submissions from AALL members and other members of the legal community are highly encouraged. Opinions and editorial views expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the official position of AALL. AALL does not assume any responsibility for statements advanced by contributors. Previously, the AALL Spectrum Blog was located at aallspectrum.wordpress.com.
1/13/2015 12:47:33 PM

What I Did On My December 9th Lunch Hour

My favorite thing to do is go to a museum.  Whether it’s fine art or historical artifacts, I’m never happier then when I’m walking into a great building devoted to the display of human endeavor and learning.  I am particularly fortunate in my location, as Washington, D.C. is home not only to the world-class Smithsonian Institution, but also to the National Gallery of Art, as well as many other fine, although admission-charging, institutions.  Not only do I live in the D.C. area, but my office is located walking distance from the Mall, home to the National Gallery and to most of the Smithsonian museums.  This means, when the weight of the world is on my shoulders (meaning, I've had one too many requests from attorneys), I can stroll a few blocks down the street at lunch time to soothe my soul and clear my head.

So imagine my delight at being able to combine my profession and my great passion and take a guided tour of the library of the National Gallery of Art!  Arranged by Andrew Martin, librarian at the National Labor Relations Board, under the auspices of the Law Librarians’ Society of Washington, D.C., a group of law librarians took a tour of the National Gallery’s library last month.  Our group met with several of the library’s staff members, including Gregory Most, who was kind enough to spend a lot of time showing us the library’s fantastic image collection.  Note that, unlike those of us in the law library world, the National Gallery is not moving from print to digital resources!  They will go on acquiring art books as long as they are around to be collected; many of them are works of art themselves.

Located in the East Building, the library is still open to visitors while much of the rest of the building is undergoing construction for the next several years.  Although most of the people who enter the library come to do research, there is also a display case in the reading room area with rotating small exhibits throughout the year that is open without an appointment.  There’s a guard at the entrance, a feature I wish I had at my library, but you can just tell him or her that you’re there to see the display and in you go.  For more information on the library, visit their website located here: http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/research/library.html.

So why am I telling you about this?  Sure, it’s a nice story: law librarians venture out and make a new friend, but it’s not exactly “breaking news.”  What I got out of it was an opportunity to expand my horizons, to see how another library works, how it’s different from and similar to a law library.  It’s easy to become insular in law librarianship - there are enough of us that you can always talk to another person who does the same thing you do, and the specialized jargon is often incomprehensible to someone without a legal background.  In these times of chaos (really, “change” doesn't do the situation justice), reaching out to other librarians, to see how they do things in their library, how they handle patron requests, how they make collection development decisions, is a rich (and free!) source of new ideas.  The more connections we can make, the better off we’ll all be.  So if your local law library organization offers tours of other types of libraries - by all means, make the time and go.  If not, suggest that they start.  

Susan Ryan, 2015
Librarian, Seyfarth Shaw, LLP, Washington, DC  sryan@seyfarth.com

Posted By Susan Ryan at 1/13/2015 12:47:33 PM  0 Comments
1/12/2015 3:58:00 PM

Winter 2015 Issue of ALL-SIS Newsletter Available!

The Winter 2015 issue of the ALL-SIS Newsletter is now available!  Do you love checklists?  Ever thought about a legal research checklist?  Maybe you should read Kasia Solon Cristobal's article, "Having Fun with Checklists."  You can learn about instructional design in Angela Hackstadt's article.  There is a very nice memorial for Nancy P. Johnson by Ronald E. Wheeler.  And, you'll meet ALL-SIS member, Jonathan Rountree, in the new member profile.  You'll also find great ideas from other libraries, book reviews, section news, and member news.

Posted By Kristen Moore at 1/12/2015 3:58:00 PM  0 Comments
1/2/2015 9:38:23 AM

Magna Carta: Muse & Mentor – Exhibition at the Library of Congress

One of the benefits of working in the nation’s capital is easy access to cultural treasures like the Library of Congress. Not only is it astoundingly beautiful inside and out, but it is also hosts fascinating exhibitions like the current Magna Carta: Muse & Mentor exhibition commemorating the 800th anniversary of the creation of Magna Carta.

While the centerpiece of the exhibition is the Lincoln Cathedral Magna Carta, one of four existing copies that date to 1215, the year of its creation, it includes much more. In addition to documents, books, letters, newspapers, judicial decisions, and images that provide an account of the initial granting of Magna Carta and its many confirmations by kings and parliament, it also explores Magna Carta’s impact on principles and protections of American law such as due process, trial by jury, and the writ of habeas corpus. One section even features Magna Carta in Culture with an array of items from commemorative stamps to Jay-Z’s recent album, Magna Carta Holy Grail.

Lincoln Cathedral Magna Carta

Blackstone's Magna Carta

Commemorative Magna Carta stamps

While the standing exhibition will only be at the Library of Congress until January 19th, a traveling exhibition has been touring the country and will continue to make its way to different cities throughout 2015. Exhibition dates and locations can be found on the ABA’s website. If it happens to be coming to a city near you, I highly recommend you take the opportunity to check it out.

Sara Gras, Reference Librarian

Georgetown University Law Center

Washington, D.C.


Posted By Sara Gras at 1/2/2015 9:38:23 AM  0 Comments