AALL Spectrum Blog

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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.
9/24/2014 2:51:37 PM

Never Underestimate the Power of a Librarian!

I recently returned from a trip to Ireland for family research; a cousin and I spent time looking for the graves and records of distant ancestors in the Ballymena (County Antrim) area before most of the family immigrated to America. Like any good librarian, I did genealogy research before the trip; checking several genealogy databases, the Irish and Northern Ireland government websites and reading the appropriate “find your family” books. Even though I prepared for the research portion of the trip, it was spending time in the library and talking with the local librarians that found relevant family information I didn’t even know existed!

I visited two libraries on my trip; the first was located at Trinity College in Dublin. Yes, that Trinity College, otherwise known as the home of the Book of Kells (http://www.tcd.ie/Library/bookofkells). I emailed the subject librarian for the law collection about visiting the library and she kindly allowed me a tour of the law collection on the first floor of Berkeley Library.

Several interesting facts: Dewey decimal classification organizes the law collection,

the architect who designed the library continues to visit the building, like many law libraries the use of legal databases by students is high whereas the books are still used by faculty,

and the lighting in the reading area is grand.

The Berkeley Library, as a legal deposit library, is one of several in Ireland that receives a copy of all books published in the Republic of Ireland. The legal collection includes Irish, British (UK), European Union (EU) and some American (US) law material. I appreciate the time and opportunity to visit the law collection and recommend reaching out to fellow librarians when traveling abroad.

The second library I visited was in Northern Ireland, the Ballymena Central Library (http://www.librariesni.org.uk/Libraries/Pages/Ballymena-Central-Library.aspx) a branch library in the Libraries NI system. The Local Studies section of the library is available to visitors who are conducting research on family history in the area. We struck a pot of gold with this reference collection! The Griffith’s Valuation from 1862 listed the area where my ancestors lived and the survey maps showed the exact location that was mentioned in family correspondence from the 1980’s. The Local Studies librarian knew the library collection, the Ballymena area and history – all the necessary information that I couldn’t get from a database or website. Never underestimate the power of talking to a librarian!


Marcia L. Dority Baker is the Access Services Librarian at the University of Nebraska College of Law, Schmid Law Library in Lincoln, Nebraska. She can be reached via email; mdoritybaker@unl.edu

Posted By Marcia Dority Baker at 9/24/2014 2:51:37 PM  0 Comments
9/22/2014 4:11:17 PM

Fall 2014 Issue of ALL-SIS Newsletter Available Now!

The Fall 2014 issue of The ALL-SIS Newsletter is available now!  Were you unable to attend the 2014 Annual Meeting in San Antonio?  Find out what you missed in this issue’s program reviews.  You’ll also find articles about selecting art for your law library, law libraries as publishers, hiring a citation/research specialist, and much, much more!

Posted By Kristen Moore at 9/22/2014 4:11:17 PM  0 Comments
9/19/2014 5:51:28 PM

Dreaming of a Green Conference…

As an environmentalist and a law librarian it can be a real challenge marrying two somewhat disparate identities.  This marriage seems to be the most difficult at AALL’s Annual Conference and Chapter meetings because sustainability issues often fall by the wayside to our fabulous programming, receptions, and parties.  That being said, the new Social Responsibilities SIS Environmental Taskforce and the Environmental Libraries Caucus  have teamed up to raise awareness, promote sustainable solutions, and to hopefully work towards a greener and more sustainable conference in Philadelphia in 2015.

The Taskforce is currently focused on the following issues:

  • Developing a survey to sample AALL member interest in sustainability.
  • Drafting an AALL Sustainability Resolution.
  • Proposing sustainability related programming for the 2015 Annual Conference.
  • Developing best practices standards for implementing sustainable practices in the law library setting.

The Taskforce is still looking for members so if you are interested in contributing please contact David Selden, National Indian Law Library/NARF at dselden@narf.org.

For those AALL members interested in learning more about sustainability (especially in the library context) below please find a list of resources:


Taryn L. Rucinski
Environmental Law Librarian
& Adjunct Professor of Law
Pace University School of Law
White Plains, NY


Posted By Taryn Rucinski at 9/19/2014 5:51:28 PM  0 Comments