Spring 2015

From the Chair

Greetings and Salutations Fellow SR Members:

It has been a busy and exciting spring for our SIS as we lead up to a fantastic Annual Meeting in Philadelphia this year.  We have lots of great projects and activities this year, and I’m sure there is something there for everyone.  While you are walking around loading up on all that sweet conference SWAG in the exhibit hall stop by the SR-SIS table and read through the flyers from the groups that make up the SR.  I have been repeatedly surprised as I go through them during the preparations by some of the things I didn’t know about our group.

The SR is sponsoring our famous book drive once again.  Stacy Etheredge and John Cannan are expertly organizing this year, and the books will be going to the Philadelphia Children’s Foundation a non-profit educational-support organization connecting students and their families to resources and opportunities in the Philadelphia area.  To donate or find out more check out the page at http://www.aallnet.org/srsis/resources-publications/projects/annual-book-drive/, and share with your colleagues.

The SR-SIS Task Force on Environmental Sustainability once again invites you to participate in the Solar Heater Project to help make the AALL Annual Meeting a little greener.  To learn how you can Go Green check out the project’s website at the link.

There are several great programs planned for this year’s Annual Meeting and many address the goals of the SR-SIS and/or involve our members.  I encourage you to attend as many of them as possible, and be sure not to miss this year’s SR-SIS sponsored program at the Annual Meeting.  It is G-2: The Jail Mail Blues – How Law Libraries Support Access to Justice for Prisoners at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 21st, and features this year’s SR-SIS Annual Meeting VIP Marc Bookman, Director of the Atlantic Center for Capital Representation in Philly.

As some of you may know, the Animal Law Caucus, led by Stefanie Pearlman, submitted an agenda item for the AALL Executive Board Meeting at the Annual Meeting.  The information item encourages AALL to be as cruelty free and humane as possible with event-planning and other activities.  The SR agreed to co-sponsor this item along with the Environmental Law Caucus.

Speaking of Stefanie Pearlman, this summer we will be welcoming Stefanie as the incoming Vice-Chair of the SR-SIS.  Stacy Etheredge will begin her term as the SR Chair while I become the Past-Chair.  Liza Rosenof will continue her role as Secretary/Treasurer, and we will offer many, many thanks to Sarah Jaramillo for her service as she cycles off the SR Executive Board from her position as Past-Chair.

Check out the rest of the newsletter for even more details about our activities.  I want to thank you all very much for giving me the opportunity to serve the SR-SIS.  This is such a special group and it really has been a great privilege.

Thank you,

Charles (C.J.) A. Pipins II

SR-SIS Chair 2014-2015

Thurgood Marshall Law Library University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

Standing Committee on Disability Issues Update

Earlier in the year the Standing Committee on Disability Issues co-sponsored a web-discussion with the Government Law Libraries SIS (fka SCCLL-SIS) and RIP-SIS entitled Five Topics in Five Days: Mental Health Issues in Law Libraries.  Members helped moderate a lively discussion on mental health issues that affect law libraries.  The discussion covered topics such as library rules and policies, maintaining mental health at work, security issues, and further resources that discuss mental health topics.  See here: http://goo.gl/aXGBHa for a summary of the discussion and explore the conversation further.

The standing committee hopes to build upon the resources collected in the joint discussion above and maintain a bibliography of useful disability issues related materials for librarians (e.g., accessibility issues, mental health issues).  Please contact Nick Harrell (nickholas.harrell@colorado.edu) if you would like to contribute.

We would also like to highlight several programs at the 2015 Annual meeting in Philadelphia that address disability issues.  Those include:

  • Vinyasa Yoga, Sunday – Tuesday, July 19-21, 6:00am-7:00am, Marriott-Room 302/303
  • Struggling with Juggling? How to Stress Less, Sunday, July 19, 4:00pm, PCC-Room 113A
  • Web Accessibility Will Be the Law: Are You Prepared?, Monday, July 20, 11:30am, PCC-Room 103BC
  • Managing Challenging Patron Behavior: Stop, Collaborate, and Listen, Tuesday, July 21, 2:30pm, PCC-Room 103BC


Submitted by:

Nick Harrell

Standing Committee Chair

University of Colorado Law Library

Standing Committee on Library Services to Prisoners Update

Help Improve Access to Legal Materials for Prisoners by Joining!

  • Participate in a major project that will survey the status and operations of prison law libraries across the country
  • Create an updated, online version of Recommended Collections for Prison and Other Institution Law Libraries and Guidelines for Prison Law Libraries (1996 ed.), cited in several court cases challenging prisoners’ lack of access to legal materials or law libraries

Our Events at AALL Annual Meeting 2015:

  • Business Meeting.  Open to everyone.  Sunday, July 19th, 11:30 – 12:45, Marriott Room 307
  • Joint Roundtable on Library Services to Pro Se Patrons and Prisoners.  Sponsored by the LISP, GLL, and SR SIS.  Open to everyone.  Monday, July 20th 4:00 – 5:00, PCC Room 110A
  1. Sara Galligan, Ramsey County Law Library, and Joan Bellistri, Anne Arundel County Public Law Library, will talk about their work with the GLL-SIS Special Committee on Best Access to Justice Practices
  2. Sara Gras, Georgetown, will speak about her work on coordinating a prisoner letter program at Georgetown

Submitted by:

Stacy Etheredge

Committee Chair

West Virginia University College of Law Library

Standing Committee on Lesbian & Gay Issues Update

The SCLGI will hold its annual business meeting on Sunday, July 19th, 2015 at 5:15pm-6:30pm in Marriott Rm. 304. I look forward to seeing many of you there! We’ll be electing a new vice-chair/chair-elect. Nominations will be welcome during the meeting, but I’ll gladly accept nominations by e-mail in advance.

The SCLGI Reception will be on Sunday, July 19th, 2015 8:00pm – 11:00pm at Smokin’ Betty’s  116 South 11th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107. At the corner of 11th St. and Sansom, it’s a short 6-8 min. walk from the Convention Center. Thanks to generous sponsorship by Bloomberg BNA, LexisNexis, Thomson Reuters, & Wolters Kluwer we’ll have a great selection of heavy hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Donations to the Alan Holoch grant fund will be accepted at the door. Bring your friends—all are welcome!

This year’s Alan Holoch grant recipient is Scott Burgh—congratulations Scott!

In case you missed it, the May issue of Spectrum includes a column offering suggestions for making our workplaces safe and welcoming for our trans colleagues: http://www.aallnet.org/mm/Publications/spectrum/archives/Vol-19/No-7/ref-desk.pdf

Submitted by:

Jane Larrington

Committee Chair

University of San Diego Law Library

Hotel Soaps, Shampoos, Lotions Sought at Annual Meeting

You can donate your unused hotel toiletries—soaps, shampoos, lotions—to Women Against Abuse:  Advocacy in Action, Philadelphia’s “leading domestic advocate and service provider among the largest domestic violence agencies in the country.”  The shelter provides safe havens for domestic violence victims, transitional housing, legal assistance, education and training, and other resources.  Please donate your unused hotel toiletries at the SR-SIS table in the exhibit hall.

How Tutoring Makes Me a Better Research Instructor

After the Peace Corps, I determined that the best way to improve the world was to be a good person every day (which is hard) and to serve my local community (which is easy).

I have been a volunteer tutor and volunteer teacher since 2000.  In the Bronx, I read with children living at a shelter.  In Philadelphia, PA, I helped second graders with math homework.  In Cambridge, MA, I tutored for an after school program, and later taught ESL.

Now in Long Beach, CA, I work with a nine-year old boy named J.  He lives at a shelter with his mom and older brother.  He loves playing football and is amazing at drawing.  And he still does not know his letters or numbers to 20.  He is eager and sweet.  But no one has ever taken the time to help him learn these things.  Together, in one hour a week, we are getting there.

This has taken a lot of imagination, and some trial and error.  What I have learned is that J is just like my ALR students.  He is motivated, but is not really engaged unless it relates to something he likes, like football or zombies.  Although he can’t read, he listens well and can extract a lot of meaning from stories.  He can understand numbers in a story more than he can, for example, recognize the symbol for four. Like with law students, stories are a subtle way to teach the simple things.

When we first started meeting, and before I really knew J, I would sometimes talk about numbers and letters thinking that he already appreciated the value.  By chance one day, he brought a book about beasts that had beautiful images and a lot of text.  He wanted me to read everything.  He got so excited.  I think this was the first time he really valued letters.  He saw that letters can teach you about werewolves and yetis.  J is not unlike those ALR students who may not alway know to value research even as 3Ls.

And just like every law students, J responds super well to constant feedback.  You can see him get more engaged with every “great job” or “love that question.”  He feels like he is a part of what is going on and mostly in charge.

I learned a lot about teaching law students from tutoring kids.  And in the last four months, in working with J, I have gained extra insight into how the basics.  Everyone learns best when they are interested in the subject, understand the value, hear stories, get feedback, and feel somewhat in control.

Submitted by:

Lisa Junghahn

University of California Irvine Law Library

Link Rot Symposium

On Friday October 24, 2014 Georgetown Law Library hosted a symposium called 404/File Not Found: Link Rot, Legal Citation and Projects to Preserve Precedent. The day was devoted to a discussion of the very modern problems associated with digital information relied upon by jurists, legal scholars, practicing lawyers, and the general public. Information available on websites has made its way into the footnotes and citations of judicial opinions, law review articles, and just about any piece of legal writing.  Unfortunately, many people are starting to discover there is no guarantee that the information found at a particular URL will remain there forever.

The concept of “link rot” refers to a situation where a URL no longer opens up a page at all.  Another similar concept is that of “reference rot” which occurs when a URL takes a reader to a web page but the actual cited material has been altered or removed. Either situation is already of great concern to law librarians, and should be to the entire legal community.  These references in judicial opinions, statutes, and administrative materials are either a part of the law or at least supplementing the law. One study discussed at the symposium found that up to 50% of these URLs suffer from Link Rot or Reference Rot, and the proportion of failures keeps increasing the older the URLs are.

This issue may seem like a mere inconvenience or a bump in the road for expert researchers like law librarians.  However, when the issue is examined from the point of view of a pro se litigant, some very real barriers between the law and those who need it can be identified. People with no legal training face enough challenges as they try to comprehend and apply the law.  A roadblock like a 404 message or a website with different content than when it was cited could be a devastating problem.  As access to justice conferences and initiatives continue to proliferate, link and reference rot must be among the topics addressed.

Many of the scholars producing the recent works on Link Rot and Legal Citation were present at the symposium and spoke about the growing size and immediacy of the problem and several possible solutions.  Jonathan Zittrain, George Bemis Professor of Law at Harvard gave the perfect keynote address, setting the stage for others who have written about link rot to explore their discoveries. Proving this isn’t just a concern for U.S. law, Karen Eltis, a professor of law at the University of Ottawa, spoke about the need to ensure that the sources that “nourish” judicial decisions are available to the public because this access “forms the basis of public confidence” in the law.  Other notable speakers included Ed Walters from Fastcase and Raizel Liebler, Head of Faculty Scholarship Initiatives at The John Marshall Law School.

Some of the solutions discussed were more technologically complicated than others, and those who would be responsible for coordinating the proposed solutions ran the gamut from authors to librarians to vendors of legal resources.  The star of the show was perma.cc which allows the creation of links that won’t rot and will be reliably archived—to be provided as a parallel, backup citation for the original URL.  Perma.cc is already being used by a number of libraries and their schools’ journals, and at least one court, and the number is growing.  A group that has already been working to preserve digital legal information in a focused area of law is the Chesapeake Digital Preservation Group.  By June of 2014 the Chesapeake Digital Preservation Group had archived almost 10,000 items that are now safe from link rot.  Other solutions mentioned were extensions to your browser like Memento or to reference-building programs like Zotero.

More information about the Symposium, including a bibliography, list of speakers, and many great readings, is available at its website: http://www.law.georgetown.edu/library/404/index.cfm. Videos of the presentations are also available.

Submitted by:

Charles (C.J.) A. Pipins II

SR-SIS Chair 2014-2015

Thurgood Marshall Law Library University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

Book Drive

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!
With the Annual Meeting fast approaching, it is now time to unveil the 2015 AALL Annual Children’s Book Drive – “A Book in the Hand is Worth Two in the Store”!
The AALL Children’s Book Drive, sponsored by the SR-SIS and celebrating its 17th year, has begun and will continue until the end of the Annual Meeting in Philadelphia (July, 2015).  This year’s book drive will benefit the Philadelphia Children’s Foundation (PCF). PCF is a non-profit educational-support organization connecting students and their families to resources and opportunities in the Philadelphia area. The books from this drive will benefit PCF’s Reading for Success program, which makes 2-3 large book donations per year to Philadelphia schools serving students from Kindergarten to the 8th Grade. Typically, the recipient schools have small library collections or no library at all, so these books truly go to students in need. The Reading for Success program seeks books, new and gently used, geared towards K through 8th graders on any and all subjects. How can you help PCF provide books to children in need?

  • Order a book online from “AALL 2015 Children’s Book Drive” Amazon.com wishlist.
  • Send books, checks, or bookstore gift cards (from any bookstore) to the book drive co-chair in Philadelphia (see address below).
  • Drop off books, gift cards, checks, or cash in Philadelphia during the AALL Annual Meeting at the SR-SIS table in the Exhibit Hall.

Help us ring in the books for the children of Philadelphia!

For more information regarding this book drive, please contact Stacy Etheredge, stacy.etheredge@mail.wvu.edu, or John Cannan, jc3238@drexel.edu.  Also check out our recent article in Spectrum!

John Cannan and Stacy Etheredge Co-Chairs, 2015 SR-SIS Children’s Book Drive

AALL Announcements

Save the Date: AALL Business Skills Clinic to be Held October 16-17

Save the date for the AALL Business Skills Clinic, a two-day intensive experience designed to give you skills in strategic planning, managerial finance, human resources, negotiations, and marketing/communications. The program will be held October 16-17 at the Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile Hotel in Chicago. Contact Katie Brown, Chair of the Business Skills Education Task Force or Celeste Smith, AALL’s director of education, for more information.