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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.

The AALL Spectrum blog is no longer published. Previous posts are archived on this page.
10/2/2014 9:55:05 AM

Difficult Patron Behavior - RIPS-SIS Patron Services Survey

Please excuse the cross-posting.  We need your help.

The RIPS-SIS Patron Services Committee has been tasked with writing a white paper about successfully handling difficult patron behavior. We are specifically interested in gathering information about the disruptive behavior of all types of patrons (attorneys, judges, students, stakeholders, members of the public, legislators, elected officials, etc.) Our subcommittee created a short survey to find out more information about the experiences library staff at all types of law libraries encounter. In addition, we are examining the policies and procedures, both formal and informal, of law libraries with respect to handling difficult patron behavior. This short survey will assist us in collecting information on these issues: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PMY62MD.

While we welcome the opportunity to discuss these sensitive issues with respondents at length, we also understand that confidentiality is critical for some respondents. As such, responses will be anonymous unless you opt to share your name and contact information during the survey.

The survey only has a handful of questions and the results will help us help you! It will be available for completion from 9/8 to 10/12

Thank you,

RIPS-SIS Patron Services Committee

Genevieve Tung
Kristen Moore
Nicole Dyszlewski

Posted By Kristen Moore at 10/2/2014 9:55:05 AM  0 Comments
10/1/2014 6:08:12 PM

A Rare Book Tour at the Law Library of Congress

On Monday, September 8, a small group of members from the Law Librarians’ Society of Washington DC visited the Law Library of Congress for a Rare Book event.  We were welcomed to the LLoC by one of our most prestigious members, David Mao, Law Librarian of Congress, and then we took a tour through time and history as Jim Martin, the Acting Rare Materials Curator, spoke on ten different items from their vast collection at the LLoC.  Everything from authentic signatures of our forefathers to margin doodles from the time of the Holy Roman Empire. 

After the talk, attendees were able to stay and discuss what they had seen, along with the upcoming events surrounding the
Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor exhibition.  If you ever find yourself in the Nation’s Capital, make sure a visit to the Law Library of Congress is on your agenda.

Blog post and photos submitted by Emily Florio and Alicia Pappas.

David Mao, Law Librarian of Congress welcoming LLSDC members

This is a Fourteenth century manuscript of the Institutes of Justinian.  Many pages include notes and doodles by students.

This is a collection of the laws passed by the first session of the first Federal Congress.  Note George Washington's signature.

Jim Martin, the Acting Rare Materials Curator talks to LLSDC members about one of the rare books in their collection.

Posted By Emily Florio at 10/1/2014 6:08:12 PM  1 Comments
9/29/2014 1:21:43 PM

So You're A Law Librarian...

“What do you do exactly?”

It’s a question I hear pretty regularly - every time I see a new doctor or talk to other parents at my daughter’s school functions. Many of you probably do too. In all fairness, it’s probably not a profession non-lawyers think much about, and I certainly don’t mind being asked. The trouble comes when I try to formulate an answer.

“Well, this month I taught a lot of legal research classes…” I begin.

“Oh, so you’re a teacher?”

Oops. “Um, no, not exactly...sometimes…”

But yes, I suppose we are - maybe not always in the traditional sense, unless we teach as faculty members. Still, many law librarians are teachers, every day, both in law schools and in private libraries. We help our patrons gain knowledge of legal materials, in print and online. We teach them how to be better researchers - how to ask the questions that get them to the answers they want and need.

We are also therapists, who listen sympathetically as students and young associates confess their confusion and bemoan the wasted hours, and reassure them that they aren’t alone in their struggles. We are researchers, delving into the farthest reaches of the Internet or the dustiest shelves, looking for everything from historical codes to non-binding decisions of immigration court judges. We are inventors, using new technologies to develop tools to guide and enhance the legal research process. We are critics, using our knowledge and experience to build collections of materials that anticipate the needs of our patrons without wasting dwindling budgets.

That’s just what I do as an academic reference librarian, without even touching on the many other roles librarians play within the wide variety of institutions and positions we hold. Sometimes it’s just easier to say, “Oh, it’s just a little of this and a little of that.”

Sara Gras

Reference Librarian

Georgetown University Law Center Library

Washington, DC


Posted By Sara Gras at 9/29/2014 1:21:43 PM  0 Comments