LISP Newsletter

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Volume 2000, Number 2
June, 2000
In this issue:


Welcome, LISP members, to the last Newsletter issue before the AALL Annual Meeting, and my last "Message from the Chair." I would first like to take the opportunity to thank the membership at large for having me as Chair this year. It's been a lot of fun - and quite educational - representing our section within the larger AALL community. I would also like to thank the members of our Nominations, Clearinghouse, Newsletter and Executive Committees for their work in keeping LISP rolling. Of course, a special thanks must go out to both our webmaster Fred Hanson, for providing the world with a window into our activities, and to Beth Schneider, for keeping us rich in promotional souvenirs! Although I can't yet be sure of this year's election results, I do know that we are quite fortunate to have Lee Warthen of the S.J. Quinney Law Library at the University of Utah coming in as Chair for the 2000/2001 year.

In this issue, I would like to call everyone's attention to the business meeting announcement, and encourage all LISP members attending the Annual Meeting to come spend an hour with your fellow section members in a relaxed, food-inclusive setting! We could really use every member's ideas and suggestions on a number of agenda items, especially those concerning membership participation and educational program ideas. For those who cannot attend either the Annual Meeting or the LISP Business Meeting, I would still like to hear from you, either as volunteers for one of our Committees (the Education Committee still needs people!), or simply as interested members looking to voice an idea.

Thanks again folks, for an exciting year!

Angus Nesbit, LISP Chair


I am pleased to announce the newest members of the LISP-SIS Executive Committee:
Deborah Norwood of the Washington State Law Library has been elected Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect, and Steven Thorpe of the University of Tennessee has been elected Secretary/Treasurer. Lee Warthen will take over as LISP Chair following the AALL Annual Meeting in July.
-Angus Nesbit, current LISP Chair

CONELL Personals

Chip Marlor, University of Connecticut
NLL, 5'2", blonde/blue, medium build, seeking to learn more about/become involved with AALL, RIPS-SIS, PDC, CRIV, AMPSC, GRC, LLJ, etc. Wishes to become financially secure. Enjoys ref., coll. dev. ISO ELL, 10-20 yr. LL exp. w/similar interests, possible LTR.
Fun, sincere, active NLL, 46, brown/brown, 5'10", ISO honest, active ELL for LTR. How to balance family and career? Prefer Seattle area.
Stylish ELL, young 50s, seeks promising new members of profession w/similar interests. I enjoy Dancing SIS, fit enuf for Hein Fun Run. 20 yrs. Admn. Exp. in Corp. & Firm LLs. Love New York City.
NLL, 34, happy, outgoing, loves learning, travel, the outdoors, the arts, family-oriented, honest, sincere. Enjoys long walks through Exhibit Hall. Passionate about Gov. Docs. Seeking soulmate, ELL with similar interests, for LTR.
Seeking ELL with a sense of humor, n/s, n/d to share wisdom, advice & guidance. Geo. unimportant. Vegetarian, CS exp. a plus.
Classy ELL, 58, intelligent, good listener, sp. 7 lang. Seeking NLL w/interest in FC&IL, cultural events, fine dining. Over 30 yrs. Exp. in Acad., SC&C LLs.
NLL, loves the beach, tennis, exercising, bodybuilding. Seeking fit, sports-minded, secure ELL w/Tech Svcs. Exp.
ELL, unique, artistic, compassionate, H/W/P. Appreciates home-cooked meals, collects Fiestaware. ISO n/s, n/d, NLL to share exp. w/Circ., ILL.
ELL, loves to cook, wine, golf. ISO NLL interested in Acq., Cat., Baseball SIS.
ELL, late 40s, red/green, H/W/P, ISO NLL.who is as passionate about cats and cataloging as I am. Love to read, knit.

  • Key to Abbreviations:
  • AALL=American Association of Law Libraries
  • Acq.=Acquisitions
  • Admn=Administration
  • AMPSC=Annual Meeting Program Selection Committee
  • Cat.=Cataloging
  • Circ.=Circulation
  • coll. Dev.=Collection Development
  • CRIV=Committee on Relations with Information Vendors
  • ELL= Experienced Law Librarian
  • etc=et cetera
  • FC&IL=Foreign, Comparative and International Law
  • gov. docs=Government Documents
  • GRC=Government Relations Committee
  • H/W/P= Height/Weight/ Proportionate
  • ILL=InterLibrary Loan
  • ISO= In search of
  • LL= Law Libraries
  • LLJ=Law Library Journal
  • LTR= Long Term Relationship
  • n/s=nonsmoker
  • n/d =nondrinker
  • NLL= New Law Librarian
  • PDC=Professional Development Committee
  • ref=reference
  • RIPS=Research Instruction and Patron Services
  • SC&C=State, Court, and County
  • SIS=Special Interest Section
  • Tech Svcs=Technical Services
If you are really new to the field of Law Librarianship and would like to develop an ongoing relationship with an experienced law librarian who is willing to provide guidance, support, and counseling, or if you are really an experienced law librarian interested in becoming a mentor, AALL's Mentor Project, under the auspices of the Mentoring and Retention Committee, will act as a matchmaker. Take a look at the Mentor Project at, where you'll find further details on the Project, as well as application forms for both Mentors and Mentees. You may also contact Dick Vaughan or Chip Marlor for further information.


Where will you be in 2025?

The AALL Public Relations Committee has a special project planned for the Philadelphia meeting. They are inviting all AALL SIS groups, Chapters, Committees, and the Executive Board to prepare time capsules which they will then store for twenty-five years.

Our SIS can help define our time and also be a unique part of law librarianship's past and future. This is an opportunity to offer a glimpse of AALL's and LISP's past to our future selves and colleagues. How does LISP want to be remembered? What's our legacy to AALL? As the profession which preserves the record of our past for future generations, it's only fitting that we, too, preserve a bit of our own law library history. In July, 2025 I hope we'll all still be around to attend the annual AALL meeting and watch as our time capsules are opened!

I will be receiving a capsule (archival box) for LISP's use. The box size is 5" X 17 1/4" X 11". The boxes will likely be on display on tables in the Activities Area of the Exhibit Hall. There will then be some sort of ceremony as the capsules are sealed. The Ceremony may take place as early as Sunday, but details are still being worked out. I will post further details on our listserv, as I receive them from the Public Relations Committee. Finally, the capsules will be shipped to the University of Illinois Law Library where they will be stored for 25 years.

Meanwhile, I'm looking for LISP members to suggest and/or volunteer some contributions to the capsule. The objects can run the gamut from the profound and serious to the weird, silly and sentimental. It's up to you. Please contact me (Angus Nesbit, 541-346-1673, if you have a suggestion/contribution, and I will arrange with you to pick it up in Philadelphia. Some items that have been suggested to me for inclusion are:>br>

  • LISP Newsletters, especially any published in December 1999 or January 2000 (Millennium issues), or Newsletters from every 5 years or every couple of years,a or those that go back to the beginnings of the SIS so our future colleagues can see what was happening in our libraries and the SIS's.
  • Photos from meetings or gatherings (with names of those in the photos so those looking at these things in 25 years won't wonder who these "old" people are!)
  • Business Meeting Agendas (C'mon, past Chairs - I know some of you must have copies floating around somewhere!)
  • SIS souvenirs (pens, pencils, bookmarks, etc.)
  • Membership Directories
  • SIS bylaws
  • Chairs' Messages from the past decade, past 5 years, past 3 or 4 years, etc.
  • Letters to our future colleagues describing life in our libraries now and what we envision in 25 years
All the items in our time capsule will become a permanent part of AALL Archives, so anything you include will be of interest to future generations who wonder what libraries/librarians were like in the late 1990's - 2000.
-Angus Nesbit LISP Chair

LISP Business Meeting Wants You (to snack, share your views and have fun!)

This year's meeting will be Monday, July 17, 5:15-6:15pm. Location of the meeting won't be assigned by AALL until about mid-June, after which you can check or wait and just check the Final Program in Philadelphia.

Food - probably a mix of fruit cups, ham & cheese croisants, coffee/tea/juice - will be provided, so this is your chance to fortify yourself a bit for those long, Westlaw Party queues!

A preliminary meeting agenda follows. If you would like to add anything to the agenda, please contact Angus Nesbit (541-346-1673;

  • I. Introduction
    • A. Election Results
    • B. Attendance/Committee sheet
  • II. Treasurer's Report
  • III.Old Business
    • A. Committee Reports (Newsletter, Clearinghouse, Education?)
    • B. Membership (Brochure, Drive, Participation)
    • C. Public Library Toolkit
    • D. AALL's New Strategic Plan, 2000-2005
    • E. Reports/Announcements on LISP and related programs in Philadelphia
  • IV. New Business
    • A. Call for proposals for AALL 2001 (Minneapolis)
    • B. LISP Grants for Annual Meeting
    • C. Email Reference Clearinghouse
    • D. Other Business/Announcements
  • V. Passing of Gavel to New Officers
--Angus Nesbit

Book Review

by Brendan E. Starkey
Reference Librarian
Seattle University School of Law Library
900 Broadway / Seattle, WA 98122-4340
(206) 398-4223 / Fax: (206) 398-4194

A practical companion to the Constitution: how the Supreme Court has ruled on issues from abortion to zoning by Jethro K. Lieberman. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999.

The Constitution has never been short of acclaim. As an example of the kind of praise it has received over the years, the author of A Practical Companion to the Constitution quotes reforming British Prime Minister William Gladstone, who, on the occasion of the document's centennial, extolled "the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man" (p. 1). While modern readers might raise an eyebrow at the perceived overstatement of another age, they would have to agree that such sentiment for the work and its "framers" has given the Constitution a certain primacy in the popular imagination.

Unfortunately, people can be somewhat hazy on what is actually in there, and, just as importantly, how the courts have interpreted it. In keeping with Mark Twain's definition of a classic being that "which people praise and don't read," some credit the Constitution with principles it does not contain, and conversely, are unfamiliar with sections that are rarely invoked. We frequently hear questions like "What does the Constitution say about privacy?" or "How can Congress get rid of the President?" Because of this, any librarian who works with the non-law public will value this well-organized, readable encyclopedia of Constitutional issues and their treatment by the Supreme Court.

Arranged alphabetically, entries cover everything from particular sections (the Commerce Clause, the Fifth Amendment), to principles (freedom of the press), issues (literacy tests, abortion), major cases (Plessy v. Ferguson) and doctrine (fruit of the poisonous tree). Liberal cross-referencing and a subject/name index make this extremely easy to navigate. Numbered references to cases refer to an alphabetical table of cases, in which each case is given a number to avoid the plethora of footnotes that would result otherwise. Page numbers following the cites indicate where the case is discussed. This serves the dual purpose of locating all case cites in a single place, and providing an alphabetical index of cases, most of which do not receive their own entries, but rather are discussed in conjunction with the issues they cover. Textual notes other than case citations are flagged with asterisks and grouped in a single "Notes" section at the back of the book. For those wanting to see what they've been reading about, a copy of the Constitution with an accompanying concordance aids analysis of the document itself. Add to this a "time chart" and biographical information on Supreme Court justices, and you have a handy single-volume resource.

For currentness, the author added a chapter on the Court's 1997-98 term to include information that could not be incorporated into the alphabetical entries at press time. Beyond that, the publisher offers supplements that "will normally be available in September of each year following the end of the Court's term."

An added bonus, which in my view makes this resource complete, is the author's inclusion of three short introductory essays on the content of the Constitution, its interpretation, and an analysis of "how the Supreme Court hears and decides cases." Written in the same readable style as the entries, these brief articles themselves answer many questions that would lead people to this book. I would not overlook them.

Finally, as encyclopedists have prudently moved away from claiming complete coverage, there are stated limits to the content of this work. Constitutional law as decided by lower federal courts, along with scholarly theory, however influential, is not discussed. Treatment is limited to Supreme Court jurisprudence, and then, only as stated. Application by other courts is not addressed. Far from being a liability, however, these exclusions ensure a concise, focused reference source. As the author asks, "how big a book do you wish to hold in your hands?" This one is just the right size to hand to a patron.

How To Contact Your LISP Officers and Committees,

LISP-SIS Executive Committee


Angus B. Nesbit
Reference Librarian
University of Oregon Law Library
1221 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-1221


R. Lee Warthen
Assistant Director and Head of Collections, Building and Maintenance
University of Utah
S.J. Quinney Law Library
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0731
Fax: 901-585-3033>


Laura L. Stockton
Assistant Librarian
Riverside County Law Library
3989 Lemon St.
Riverside, CA 92501

Past Chair

Patricia G. Court
Cornell Law Library
Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901

Other LISP-SIS Committees

Clearinghouse Committee

Elizabeth K. Schneider (Chair)
Associate Law Library Director
Texas Tech University School of Law Library
1802 Hartford
Lubbock, TX 79409-0004

Members: Laura Stockton, Steven Thorpe

Education Committee

Membership Committee

Newsletter Committee

John Adkins (Chair)
Reference Librarian
Legal Research Center
University of San Diego
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110

Members: Elizabeth McKenzie, Brendan Starkey

Nominating Committee

Joan Allen-Hart (Chair)
North County Branch Librarian
San Diego County Public Law Library
North County Branch
325 S. Melrose, Ste. 300
Vista, CA 92083-6697
; 760-940-4386
Fax: 760-724-7694

Members: Ruth Nunez-Schaldach, Randy B. Mafit

Public Library Toolkit Committee

Marsha Thomas (Acting Chair)
Reference / Head of Teaching
University of Utah, S.J. Quinney Law Library
332 S. 1400 E.
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0731
fax: 801-585-3033


LISP wants to know what its members are doing.  Have you, or anyone you know, given or attended a lecture, seminar, training session or other presentation?  Published an article?  Discovered a good Internet site or other resource?  Know of any other news that LISP members may be interested in?  Don't keep it a secret - LISP wants to know!  No news is too small!

Please send submissions to:

John Adkins
University of San Diego Legal Research Center
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110

Email or use regular mail - with 3.5" floppy, and current version of Word or WordPerfect.