August 12, 2012

State Advocacy Strategies: The New York Story

Included below are my introductory remarks delivered at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Law Libraries on July 23, 2012 as part Program E-1 State Advocacy Strategies: Learning to Connect, Grow and Survive. The material below includes only my introductory remarks and a series of slides (see link below) not included as AALL handouts. See added explanation below.

David Badertscher

My role is to discuss briefly library advocacy and strategies with a primary focus on those trial court libraries included within the New York State Unified Court System which have been formally designated as Public Access Law Libraries. When first approached about making this presentation I contacted some colleagues still working in the System for their recommendations as to how I should best proceed. All agreed that in view of the complexity of the New York Court structure I should first provide some historical context to help clarify issues mentioned in the ensuing discussion. I do this by first presenting a quick overview using a historic timeline related primarily to court libraries before continuing with a discussion of advocacy issues and ending with some general observations all incorporated into a series of power point slides prepared specifically for this purpose.

Since these slides were not included in my electronic handouts sent to American Association of Law Libraries and are therefore not otherwise accessible as part of my formal presentation I am posting them here after consultation with AALL personnel at the Annual Meeting. For my complete presentation, including commentaries you will neet to contact the American Association of Law 312-939-4764 or

Links to Slides:

NY Slide Presentation as PDF

NY Slide Presentation as Powerpoint

August 20, 2010

Network Neutrality: Some Background and Perspectives (Updated August 26, 2010)

David Badertscher


In an August 6, 2010 posting on the AALL Washington Blawg, “As Talks Break Down, What is Next for Neutrality”, Emily Feldman discussed the implication of talks on network neutrality between the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and stakeholders of network neutrality falling apart, or at least being sidetracked, as part of the fallout from the private proposal presented by Google and Verizon regarding the management and possibly financing of internet traffic. As Ms. Feldman correctly noted, network neutrality is a priority for the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) because law librarians “are providers, creators and users of digital information, and it is up to law libraries to ensure that everyone has equal access to the information they need”.Although librarians are special stakeholders in issues relating to the nature and the existence of network neutrality due to the nature of their mission, everyone in our society should have special concerns about the outcome of these discussions and debates because of the increasing perception of web based information as increasing in value as a service, and even perhaps as a commodity (or something like a commodity).

The above considerations have inspired me to create a new posting to update information previously posted on this blog about network neutrality and also to incorporate new discussion about what network neutrality is, providing some added information to help bring the recent FCC, Google, Verizon interactions into perspective, and conclude by providing some information regarding positions taken on network neutrality by two organizations with which I am most familiar, the American Association of Law Libraries and the Internet Society.

What is Network Neutrality?

Network neutrality (also net neutrality, internet neutrality) is essentially a principle or concept which holds that companies providing Internet services should treat all sources of data equally and that there should be no restrictions by Internet service providers and governments on content, sites, platforms, on the kinds of equipment attached, and also no restrictions on the modes of communication allowed. See also New York Times: Times Topics discussion on Network Neutrality updated to August 12, 2010.

Google Verizon and the FCC

Critics of network neutrality have argued that some kinds of data discrimination on the Internet for some purposes, such as to guarantee quality of service, are actually highly desirable. Such divisions of opinion have resulted in large internet companies talking about creating a two-tiered Internet with a “fast lane and a slow lane”. An alternative approach has recently been presented in a joint proposal by Google and Verizon. In their proposal, Google and Verizon advocate enforcing network neutrality principles on wired communications but not on the wireless Internet. The Google/Verizon proposal also includes something they refer to as “additional differentiated online sources”.What this means appears to be an open question as noted in the following e-mail received from the New York Chapter of the Internet Society:

The break up of the FCC’s ‘secret talks’ and the publishing of
the Google/Verizon joint legislative proposal has certainly stirred up a
net neutrality hornets nest. Just what ‘differentiated services’ do they
have in mind? Is wireless really out the window?

The New York Chapter of the Internet Society have prepared a discussion regarding the Google/Verizon involment including a chronology with links to related "Google/Verizon Statement on Open Internet Net Neutraltiy" on their website. I was prepared to do some reasonably extensive research on this topic myself but thanks to the people at ISOC-NY it was unnecessary for me to do so

Positions Taken on Network Neutrality by the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) and the Internet Society (ISOC).

American Association of Law Libraries (AALL):

The American Association of Law Libraries is a member of the Save the Internet Coalition and the Open Internet Coalition, both of which bring together individuals, non-profit organizations, businesses and bloggers who strongly support network neutrality . AALL also maintains a Net Neutrality Issue Brief which is currently updated to June 2010.

Internet Society (ISOC)

While the Internet Society does appear to have an Official Statement (included among the Google/Verizon documents mentioned earlier) which addresses the Google/Verizon Proposal I have been unable to determine if they have a document approved by their Board of Directors which constitues an official position of ISOC regarding network neutrality. That does not mean however that ISOC has not taken positions on this subject.. As an example see the ISOC paper "Open Inter-networking" (February 21, 2010) which includes a useful discussion of open network considerations including network neutrality which it considers to be" a broad and ill-defined term that encompasses a range of policy objectives including free expression, user choice, and discrimination as well as business issues including network traffic management, pricing and overall business models." This paper also asserts that "[T]he Internet Society believes that the proper focus in this discussion [open inter-networking] is on the desired outcome: continued open inter-networking. Current debate centres on whether or how IP packets can be treated impartially"

Update as of August 26, 2010.

Since the above information was posted two additional documents useful to this discussion have come to our attention:

Access to Broadband Networks: The Net Neutrality Debate
Report No. R40616
Subjects: Telecommunications
CRS Reports, 111th Congress (8/11/2010; Posted: 8/26/2010)

Campbell, Robert. "Lawmakers Argue Against Adoption of Verizon-Google Net Neutrality Plan," Originally posted on Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & LLP website. August 20, 2010. Also on August 26, 2010.

In an August 20, 2010 paper posted on Lexology, " Lawmakers Argue Against Adoption of Verizon-Google Net Neutrality Plan," Patrick Campbell of Paul Weiss Rifking Wharton & Garrison in New York reports that four Democratic members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have written to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski voiceing their concerns with the net neutrality policy framework proposed by Verizon Communications and Google, Inc. Mr. Campbell writes: "The lawmakers claim that the agreement 'reinforces the need for resolution of the current open proceedings at the Commission to ensure the maintenance of an open Internet.' In the week since its introduction, the regulatory roadmap offered by Google and Verizon has added considerable ammunition to the debate over net neutrality that continues to intensify in the wake of the D.C. Circuit Court’s decision in the Comcast- BitTorrent case. Specifically, the companies’ plan would prohibit wireline broadband operators from selectively blocking web transmissions while exempting wireless mobile broadband providers from net neutrality regulation..."

June 18, 2010

NISO Announces Six Recommended Practice Development Projects for Information Standards

Ellen McGrath of the Charles P.Sears Law Library at the University of Buffalo has forwarded the following announcement from the National Information Standards Organization (NISO). We are posting it here in recognition and appreciation of the importance of NISO's ongoing work to the library community:

David Badertscher

Date: Fri, 18 Jun 2010 10:24:09 -0400
From: Cynthia Hodgson
Subject: NISO Announces Six New Standard or Recommended Practice Development Projects - Programs at ALA 2010 Annual Conference to provide more

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) has launched six new standard or recommended practice development projects in the past six months. There are now more development projects underway than at any time in NISO’s history. Experts from interested and affected organizations have volunteered to participate on working groups to develop consensus
standards or best practice recommendations for each of the six projects.

“The rapid pace of new development projects,” states Todd Carpenter, NISO’s Managing Director, “is an indication of both the need for standards and recommended practices in the NISO community and the community’s confidence in NISO as the organization that can best bring together all the parties needed to find innovative and practical solutions.”

“Many of the new projects are joint efforts with other organizations,” Karen Wetzel, NISO Standards Program Manager, points out, “or are expansions on work begun by others in our community. This is a reflection of NISO’s outreach in recent years to organizations working in related areas.”

The six new project working groups are:

E-journal Presentation & Identification – Chaired by Steve Shadle
(University of Washington), this working group will develop a NISO Recommended Practice for the presentation and identification of e-journals to improve the title listings and supporting metadata on journal websites and to particularly address the issue of titles that change names or publishers.

Improving OpenURL Through Analytics (IOTA) – Chaired by Adam Chandler
(University of Cornell), this working group is investigating the feasibility of creating industry-wide, transparent, and scalable metrics for evaluating and comparing the quality of OpenURL implementations across content. It builds on work begun at Cornell University as part of a
2008/2009 Mellon Planning Grant. The results of this investigation and follow-up recommendations will be published in a NISO Technical Report.

RFID in Libraries Revision
‑ Co-chaired by Vinod Chachra (VTLS) and Paul
Sevcik (3M), this working group will produce a revision of the NISO Recommended Practice, RFID in U.S. Libraries (NISO RP 6-2008). The related ISO standard on RFID in libraries is in the final stages of development, with publication expected in late 2010. The NISO RP revision will ensure that the recommendations are up-to-date and provide U.S. implementers of
RFID tags in libraries with sufficient guidance to conform to the ISO work.

Standardized Markup for Journal Articles Working Group ‑ Co-chaired by
Jeff Beck (National Library of Medicine) and B. Tommie Usdin (Mulberry Technologies), this working group will take the currently existing National Library of Medicine (NLM) Journal Archiving and Interchange Tag Suite version 3.0, the three journal article schemas, and the
documentation and shepherd it through the NISO standardization process.

NISO/NFAIS Supplemental Journal Article Materials – Following a NISO/NFAIS roundtable meeting on the topic, a two working groups – one to focus on business issues, the other on technical issues -- were launched to together develop a Recommended Practice for publisher inclusion, handling, display, and preservation of supplemental journal
article materials. The business working group will be co-chaired by Linda Beebe (American Psychological Association) and Marie McVeigh (Thomson Reuters). The technical working group will be co-chaired by Dave Martinsen (American Chemical Society) and Alexander (Sasha) Schwarzman (American Geophysical Union).

NISO/UKSG Knowledge Bases and Related Tools (KBART) Phase 2 ‑ Co-chaired by Sarah Pearson (University of Birmingham) and Andreas Biedenbach (Springer Science+Business Media), this working group takes up the outstanding items that were identified in the January 2010 recommended practice, KBART: Knowledge Bases and Related Tools (NISO RP-9-2010). The group will develop a second recommended practice focusing on the more advanced, complex issues that cause problems in utilizing OpenURL knowledge bases. The group will also deliver a centralized information portal to support educational activities.

All of the new projects will be discussed at various programs during the American Library Association 2010 Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.from June 25-27. Visit the NISO @ ALA webpage ( for a complete list of these programs. More information about all of the active NISO working groups can be found on the workrooms webpage (
). Public interest group e-mail lists are available for most NISO working
groups; visit to sign-up or review the list archives.

For More Information, Contact:

Victoria Kinnear
Business Development and Operations Manager, NISO
Phone: 301-654-2512
Email :

Karen A. Wetzel
Standards Program Manager, NISO
Phone: 301-654-2512

June 7, 2010

Resources for Librarians Participating Online: Videos, Tip Sheets, Guidelines, Articles, and More

Jaclyn McKewan, Virtual Services and Training Librarian at the Western New York Library Resources Council in Buffalo writes:"People not picking up instant messages is continuing to be a problem, so I created a 7-minute Camtasia video that shows people what to do when they get that message on the screen saying "New IM has arrived." It covers receiving the message, sending, and a bit of info on transferring patrons. I originally created it for our Ask Us 24/7 librarians, but figured that everyone else may find it useful as well"

Actually Jaclyn is being very modest regarding her efforts. As important as the Instant Messaging component is it is only a small part of this fine resource that she has created. Areas covered include receiving and sending instant messages (IM), finding articles online, finding books online, reference sources, and search techniques. It is a multi-featured resource, useful to all librarians (both experienced and inexperienced) involved in any type of virtual reference and research. After reviewing her material I contacted Jaclyn and am posting it here with her permission.

David Badertscher

May 18, 2010

Nylink To Close Its Operations In A Year

Many of us just learned the sad news that Nylink, which has served New York State Libraries for 37 years, is phasing out its operations and will be closing in one year. We understand that Nylink will be closing its operations primarily due to a steep decline in its revenue stream which has seriously degrated Nylink's ability to remain fully self supporting and continue delivering an acceptable level of service to its members beyond this period. Throughout the years many of us have come to rely on Nylink for its sustained high level of dedicated, personalized service. Nylink will be missed. We wish the employees a good 12 months and every success in the future

David Badertscher

For additional details see:

Letter to Nylink members from Executive Director W. David Penniman May 17, 2010

May 17, 2010 Press Release Announcing Nylink Closure in One Year.

FAQ Regarding Nylink Phasing Out Operations

May 12, 2010

Harvard Law School Library Joins the Chesapeake Project Legal Information Archive

Sarah J. Rhodes, Digital Collections Librarian at the Georgetown University Law Center writes: "The Chesapeake Project Legal Information Archive, now in its third year, is pleased to welcome a new law library partner. See the announcement below."


Cambridge, Mass. (May 9, 2010)--As the first annual National Preservation Week begins, the Chesapeake Project Legal Information Archive is pleased to announce that its digital preservation efforts are expanding with the addition of a new partner library, the Harvard Law
School Library.

By joining the project, the Harvard Law School Library is taking part in
the first collaborative digital preservation program of its kind in the law library community. Libraries participating in the project share costs, resources, and expertise to preserve important Web-published, born-digital legal materials within a shared digital archive.

"We are thrilled to become part of this project addressing the crucially important issue of preserving born-digital materials," said John Palfrey, Vice Dean of Library and Information Resources at Harvard Law School. "We feel fortunate to be participating in such a very relevant,
collaborative project, harnessing the economies of scale and benefitting from the training and expertise of our new partners who have already been working in this area."

The Harvard Law School Library is currently prioritizing content for preservation and will be developing its digital archive collections in the coming months.

The Chesapeake Project was launched by the Georgetown, Maryland State, and Virginia State Law Libraries in 2007 as a collaborative digital archive. Today, as the project expands with a new partner library, it is also working with the Legal Information Preservation Alliance (LIPA)
in the formation of the new Legal Information Archive, a collaborative digital preservation program for the law library community modeled after the Chesapeake Project.

For more information, visit the Chesapeake Project at or the LIPA Web site at Additional information about the first annual National Preservation Week is available at

May 7, 2010

Postcard Campaign to Save New York City Libraries

The following is being posted as an urgent message at the request of a law librarian colleague :

As I am sure you know this year is on track to produce a budget disaster for libraries in New York City. The cuts currently proposed will result in massive layoffs and cuts in public service. A small group of library workers and concerned citizens has started a postcard campaign to highlight support for public libraries and ask the City Council to restore as much funding to library budgets as possible.

The idea is that we are going back to an old fashioned postcard writing campaign. Individuals are encouraged to write postcards in support of libraries and mail them to the offices of City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer. His office will collect the postcards and present them to the City Council, en masse as a sort of Miracle on 34th Street statement. Any postcards will do. We suggest being creative, but inexpensive postcards, ten for a dollar in Time Square, work great too.

This effort was started by the group Urban Librarians Unite and is now being endorsed and supported by Queens Library Guild Local 1321, Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO), and Desk Set. It is not a part of the formal campaigns by the city public libraries, and it is our intention to augment, not compete, with those official efforts. We are asking you to pass the word to your members, encourage them to solicit postcards, and promote the campaign. As we move forward we hope to organize events including a possible read-in to support New York City libraries.

The deadline for sending postcards to Council Member Van Bramer is Tuesday, June 15. But, of course, there is no time like the present for information profession and librarian colleagues to support one another.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope that you will ally yourself with us as we fight for every dime we can get for public libraries in the city.


Christian Zabriske
Urban Librarians Unite

May 7, 2010

Some Good News About Law Libraries in Connecticut

Jonathan Stock who along with others has been working tirelessly to save six threatened law libraries in Connecticut from closure due to financial constraints. Here is Jonathan's latest report, received as an e-mail on May 6, 2010.:

The Connecticut General Assembly closed down last night. We now know that the bill, its substance merged with the 2011 Budget, passed. You will find herein as an attachment [ see download link below] the latest bulletin from the Judicial Office of External Affairs. We have saved at least three of the six threatened law libraries: Bridgeport, Litchfield, and Hartford. Depending on the Branch's negotiations with the Department of Public Works, we may also get back the Willimantic Law Library as well as the Willimantic Courthouse.

The good news Jonathan writes about would not have occurred without his continuing, tireless efforts along with those of many other people and organizations such as the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), Southern New England Law libraries Association (SNELLA).
You may also want to review other postings on this blog regarding efforts to save law libraries in Connecticut:

Separation of Powers Regarding Judicial Funding in the State of Connecticut

Help Save Connecticut Courthouse Libraries By Spreading the Word

Click on the below link to download the document referenced in Jonathan Stock's e-mail:

Connecticut Judicial Branch - External Affairs Division - 2010 Legislative Session Update Number 5 May 5, 2010

David Badertscher

May 6, 2010

OCLC and Cassidy Cataloging Services, Inc.- Re: OCLC WorldCat Local

By Joni L. Cassidy
Cassidy Cataloging Services, Inc,

On March 17, 2010, my post about and OCLC included the following statement:

“OCLC and Cassidy Cataloguing Services, Inc. may finally reach a compromise. OCLC may grant permission to allow a WorldCat Local institution that has purchased Cassidy MARC record sets to view the records as part of its WorldCat Local subscription.”

Cassidy Cataloguing is very happy to report that we have signed an agreement with OCLC that enables us to display our records in WorldCat Local for Cassidy subscribers using that service as their OPAC. The records will only display to users of that institution’s WorldCat Local OPAC and will not be available to other libraries, or other commercial members, for copy cataloguing or to attach holding codes.

Cassidy Cataloguing will continue to upload P-CIP (cataloging-in-publication) MARC records into WorldCat on a monthly basis. Cassidy Cataloguing has also been offered the right to edit their records uploaded to WorldCat without having to relinquish the rights to them.

If you need additional information, please contact us at

April 12, 2010

Important Changes to OCLC's Content Services

In March 2010 OCLC announced an important change to their FirstSearch content services. According to the announcement, OCLC is transitioning out of their role as reseller of vendor-owned content. Therefore they will transfer or discontinue sale of the vendor-owned databases on FirstSearch when subscriptions have ended. According to the announcement, they will instead increase their focus for both FirstSearch and on providing libraries with access to a rich set of library-owned content and increasing visibility and access to the full scope of a library’s collection. They will work with libraries, publishers and other information providers to expand as a comprehensive platform for eContent. As a part of this migration, EBSCO has acquired the rights to license a select number of vendor-owned databases that OCLC currently offers on FirstSearch. OCLC's long-term relationship with H.W. Wilson is also changing as OCLC will work together to transition from reselling Wilson databases on FirstSearch to indexing Wilson databases in WorldCat Local over the coming months. According to OCLC there will be no interruption in service to libraries.

FirstSearch FAQ’s:

EBSCO News Release:

H.W. Wilson News Release:

April 12, 2010

New Website: Alabama Supreme Court and State Law Library

The Alabama Supreme Court and State Law Library is pleased to announce the launch of its new website. Please check us out at As part of our redesign, we are proud to present the full text of the Alabama Rules of Court—Civil, Criminal, Small Claims, Juvenile, Appellate, and Judicial Administration and the accompanying forms.

April 2, 2010

Disaster Plannning for Law Libraries

This morning I was one of many who received the following e-mail from Jessica Van Buren of the Utah State Law Library. :

A few weeks ago I asked if any of you had disaster plans to share. I offered to compile responses for a new Toolkit page on the SCCLL [ State Court and County Law Libries Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) ] website if there was interest.

There was plenty of interest! Only two had plans to share, but it's a start. The information I gathered is now on the new Disaster Planning page on the SCCLL website at

My thanks to our webmaster Kate Fitz for her work putting the page together! If you'd like add your plan (or any other information) to the web page, please send it to her at
After reading Jessica Van Buren's e-mail I visited the SCCLL website and was quite impressed by both the design and content. It is a wonderful place for those who need disaster planning information, not necessarily just for law libraries, to also visit.

David Badertscher

March 8, 2010

Consultant: Oregon County Law Libraries Planning Grant RFP

Oregon County Law Libraries Planning Grant, Request for Proposals

"Summary: The Oregon Council of County Law Libraries (OCCLL), representing 36 county law libraries throughout the state, received a planning grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the LSTA, administered by the Oregon State Library. The OCCLL has administrative responsibility for implementing the grant project. The grant project team seeks the services of a professional library consultant who will guide the OCCLL through the planning process. The general duty of the consultant is to facilitate the accomplishment of project goals and activities".

Oregon Law Libraries RFP Rev4_1

For more information, contact:

Laura J. Orr

Law Librarian

Washington County Law Library

111 NE Lincoln St

Hillsboro, OR 97124

Phone: 503-846-8880

Oregon Legal Research Blog:

January 29, 2010

OCLC Announces QuestionPoint and Text A Librarian Collaboration

OCLC's QuestionPoint and Mosio's Text a Librarian announce virtual reference collaboration
Project to offer text messaging reference options to QuestionPoint users. Here is the Press Release :

DUBLIN, Ohio, January 15, 2010-OCLC and Mosio are working together to enable seamless integration of Mosio's Text a Librarian text messaging reference software with OCLC's QuestionPoint reference management service to provide a comprehensive virtual reference solution for libraries.

OCLC and Mosio are exploring solutions to the demands of a mobile world and the need for libraries to be able to communicate with their patrons online and on-the-go.
"Library reference services need to be accessible where and when users need them, in the form they want," said Jay Jordan, OCLC President and CEO. "Users are increasingly relying on mobile technologies, and QuestionPoint is committed to providing libraries with the tools they need. Text a Librarian is a leader in texting services for libraries in the U.S. Working together, we believe we can deliver an efficient and cost-effective solution for libraries."

QuestionPoint's reference management suite that includes email, online chat and chat widgets combined with Mosio's Web-based Text a Librarian service for text messaging would offer patrons more virtual reference options and provide libraries increased efficiencies in managing patron inquiries in a single place.

"Mobile reference services are an exciting opportunity for libraries," said Noel Chandler, Mosio CEO and Co-Founder. "This collaboration combines our expertise in mobile reference technology with OCLC's experience as the leader in virtual reference management software to provide libraries a full digital reference services package."

The integration of Text a Librarian with QuestionPoint services will begin with libraries based in the United States.

For more information, visit or

About OCLC
Founded in 1967, OCLC is a nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world's information and reducing library costs. More than 72,000 libraries in 112 countries have used OCLC services to locate, acquire, catalog, lend, preserve and manage library materials. Researchers, students, faculty, scholars, professional librarians and other information seekers use OCLC services to obtain bibliographic, abstract and full-text information when and where they need it. OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the world's largest online database for discovery of library resources. Search WorldCat on the Web at For more information, visit

About Mosio's Text a Librarian
Text a Librarian is a mobile reference service technology developed specifically for libraries. Built on Mosio's award-winning mobile questions and answers platform, Text a Librarian enables libraries to reach more patrons on the go through their mobile phones. For more information regarding Text a Librarian, please visit

January 29, 2010

Rhodes on Preserving Born-Digital Legal Materials

Robert C. Richard, Editor in Chief of Vox PopoLII reports thatSarah Rhodes has just published a terrific new overview of digital legal preservation, entitled "Preserving Born-Digital Legal Materials…Where to Start?" on Cornell's VoxPopuLII blog. The post addresses core concerns, as well as emerging issues, and provides a thorough and accessible view of the field. He thinks it will prove a very rewarding resource for novices and experienced preservation professionals alike.

January 13, 2010

Help Save Connecticut Courthouse Libraries By Spreading the Word

Since first hearing about the planned closure of of six of the fifteen courthouse libraries in Connecticut I have contacted I have heard from a number of people (both librarians and non-librarians) from throughout that state. By all accounts the announced closures will prevent attorneys, judges and members of the public from accessing the up-to-date legal materials they need. They will especially hurt disadvantaged citizens and pro se litigants, who are especially vulnerable and may be unable to access official legal resources and will be required to struggle to travel to far-away courthouses. While the dire budgetary circumstances are the state currently faces are understandable, it is essential that Connecticut’s public law libraries and courthouses remain open. They are irreplaceable.

To help spread the word, the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) has been working closely with the Southern New England Librarians Association (SNELLA) to oppose the announced closures . Kate Hagan the AALL Executive Director has distibuted an e-mail (see below) which details that effort. It includes some useful links for those who want to become active in saving Connecticut court libraries.

People are also urged to search the directory of state legislators and government employees at the of Connecticut Website for other contacts that could be helpful in this effort. This web site includes a directory of state employees, a directory of state legislators, and a directory of federal legislators serving Connecticut, all with links for e-mail contact information.

Additionally I have included a link at the end of this post to enable you to download the November 18, 2009 written testimony of Judge Barbara Quinn, Chief Court Administrator at an Appropriations Committee public hearing on Deficiencies. In this statement she includes a section on "Closing law libraries".

Please help spread the word about the importance of saving Connecticut courthouse libraries.

David Badertscher

AALL has been working closely with the Southern New England Law Librarians Association (SNELLA), to oppose the announced closure of six of the 15 courthouse libraries in Connecticut. They are jointly sponsoring online petitions to save the courthouse libraries in Bridgeport, Hartford, Litchfield, Milford, and Norwich. The sixth library, at the Willimantic Courthouse, is not staffed and its small collection will likely be moved to the local public university. Each petition includes a compelling statement by a leader of the local bar association, whose members stand ready to join forces with us. Attorneys and pro se litigants will be deprived of local access to current and historic legal materials, as well as the knowledge and expertise of professional librarians, if we do not stop these proposed closures.

The petitions are open to all residents of Connecticut, so please help spread the word so that our efforts are successful in quickly getting as many signatures as possible to keep these public law libraries open and staffed.

In addition to the petitions, on December 23, AALL and SNELLA sent joint letters to Connecticut's Governor Rell and to the leadership of the Appropriations Committee strongly opposing the decision, which was announced by Judge Barbara M. Quinn, chief court administrator. The closures became necessary, according to Quinn, after the executive branch cut $12.9 million from the budget for the judicial branch.

Kate Hagan
Executive Director
American Association of Law Libraries
Suite 3300

105 W. Adams Street
Chicago, IL 60603

Written Testimony of Judge Barbara M. Quinn, Chief Administrative Judge of Connecticut to the Appropriations Committee Public Hearing on Deficiencies, November 18, 2009

January 6, 2010

User Driven Enhancements to THOMAS Launched on its Fifteenth Birthday

THOMAS was launched on January 5, 1995, at the inception of the 104th Congress. The leadership of the 104th Congress directed the Library of Congress to make federal legislative information freely available to the public. Since that time THOMAS has expanded the scope of its offerings to include many features and content including those listed below.:

Bills, Resolutions
Activity in Congress
Congressional Record
Schedules, Calendars
Committee Information
Presidential Nominations

Now, fifteen years later in response to user feedback and in celebration of its fifteenth
anniversary, THOMAS has been updated for the second session of the 111th

As reported by Emily Carr of the Public Services Division at the Law Library of Congress, the new items include a bookmarking and sharing toolbar, top five bills of the week, a new RSS feed, highlighting how to contact Members of Congress, a tip of the week, enhanced visibility of bill PDFs, and an increased timeout interval.

The bookmarking and sharing toolbar, found near the top of most THOMAS pages, allows users to save or share a permanent link via bookmarks,email, or social networking sites such as Twitter or Facebook. The toolbar also includes quick links to subscribe to THOMAS RSS feeds and to print.

The five most-searched-for bills from the past week will be listed in the center box on the right side of the homepage. Hovering the mouse over the bill number will display the title of the bill.

The new Bills Presented to the President RSS feed and email update lists bills that have passed both the House and Senate and have been sent to the White House for the President's signature.

It's now easier to contact your Members of Congress. A link to this page of tips about how to contact your Representative or Senator is included on the homepage.

Each week, a new tip about using THOMAS will be displayed on the right-hand side of the THOMAS homepage, below the “Top Five” list.

Based on user feedback, links to the bill PDF are more visible and accessible. Clicking on a PDF link will bring you to the Government Printing Office (GPO) PDF for a specific version of a bill.

Search results within THOMAS are displayed on temporary pages. The timeout interval has been increased from 5 minutes to 20 minutes..

THOMAS can be accessed at

January 4, 2010

Characteristics Which Can Help Save Libraries in a Highly Competitive and Dynamic Environment

BY: David Badertscher*

I have been following with great interest recent discussion on listservs and in the literature regarding a perception that libraries are becoming less relevant in a technologically-oriented society that relies increasingly on “instant gratification”(achieved largely through online searching and related techniques).

Technology is wonderful, and I think should it should be embraced, but not at the expense of alternative tools and methods that produce better results and may be more cost effective. If they are to accomplish their mission and remain relevant over time to their parent organizations, libraries must always be prepared to use a variety or mixture of techniques and materials, both technical and non-technical, to achieve results that are accurate, timely, efficient, cost effective, and deemed by patrons and managers to be trustworthy. The alternative is to increase the risk of libraries being perceived as no longer capable of meeting growing expectations and thereby becoming possible candidates for eventual closure.

How can libraries hope to escape this dilemma and continue to thrive in the highly competitive and dynamic environment where we live and work?

The discussions mentioned earlier include many excellent observations and recommendations which I think should be adopted. I agree that law libraries (and perhaps all libraries) need ready access to the services of a public relations department with the capability of responding quickly and professionally to articles denigrating libraries**. Discussions regarding these matters should be extended outside the library to include a broader population served by libraries, and more should be done by way of educating people “who work with librarians as to the value added elements a well-trained library staff adds to”*** the utility of both the library and its parent organization.

These and other excellent recommendations and suggestions being discussed are both necessary and useful, but are not by themselves sufficient to address the overall dilemma mentioned above. They need to be presented within a broader context which includes both core competencies of librarians such as the ones currently being revised by the American Association of Law Libraries for law librarians and a separate list of characteristics essential for libraries and library systems to maintain their relevance and effectiveness over the long term. If properly constructed, such a list should go far in helping libraries and library systems to be perceived as being essential components of our society due to their leadership role in both identifying and responding to information needs in a thoroughly professional manner. While much work continues to be done regarding the competencies of librarians, it appears that insufficient attention is being devoted to the complementary but distinct effort in identifying those overall characteristics or attributes of libraries, library personnel, and library systems essential for their assuming and maintaining a leading role in our increasingly dynamic and competitive world. Although other work has probably already been done in this area, I am not aware of it.

The following is my effort to compile such a list based on my own observations and conversations with colleagues. Hopefully it will stimulate both thought and further action. With that in mind the list of characteristics can be used as a point of departure for further development. A second equally important objective is to convey to the reader reviewing the list a sense of the vital, irreplaceable role libraries and librarians can play in meeting the information requirements of an increasingly dynamic and competitive environment. Thirdly, I would hope to convey my basic optimism regarding the future of libraries and library systems, provided that measures such as those discussed above are implemented and maintained consistently over time.

Some of the characteristics listed below apply primarily to librarians as a group. Others also include additional components of libraries such as the physical space, records, etc. Characteristics listed are assumed to incorporate a willingness to take actions and assume appropriate risks associated with those actions in the areas concerned. While all of the characteristics are considered important (even essential) to the relevance of libraries and library systems over the long term, some will be perceived as being more significant than others in particular situations and circumstances. Therefore, since the focus of this article is long term, no attempt is made in the following list to rank characteristics in terms of relative importance or significance. In my view they all play vital roles in the long term relevance and ultimate success of libraries. In addition to the characteristics (upper case and bold type) the following list includes some definitions and other illustrative material. Since the illustrative material is not intended to be all inclusive I have added the notation “Other, as appropriate” at the end of each grouping to underscore that fact.

The List:

Ability, right, or permission to approach, enter, speak with, or use; obtainable; approachability.
Accessibility of library directors, managers, department heads, and others as appropriate to decision makers and to meetings and other forums where policies and procedures related to libraries and library systems are being discussed and deliberated.
Accessibility of library collections in all formats, including digital, to library users.
Other, as appropriate

Skill, aptitude, and motivation in the identification and detailed examination of components of systems, procedures, documents, organizations, or other entities and to infer meaning and communicate conclusions based on such examination..
Evaluations (including evaluations of library collections)
Compilations (including bibliographies, development and continuing maintenance of library catalogues, indices)
Financial evaluation and analysis (includes financial planning - budgets)
Analysis related to strategic planning
Systems Analysis related to library applications and services
Other, as appropriate.

The ability to transcend traditional ideas, techniques, rules, approaches
Develop new, improved approaches to resolving challenges
Exploration of new and emerging developments as to their possible application to library applications and services.
Other, as appropriate

Desire, and drive, to learn and understand
Urge and motivation to become more aware of ways to adapt libraries and librarianship to competitive, dynamic environments
Other, as appropriate

Ability to vicariously experience experiences, feelings, thoughts, attitudes of others
Caring about and relating to other people
Other, as appropriate

Willing to adapt and adjust
Accepts and is reasonably comfortable with change
Willing to yield when appropriate
An important attribute in a rapidly changing library environment
Other, as appropriate.

Ability to make things happen
Provide direction
Take initiative and assume risk
Strategic planning
Ability to ensure that quality of organization and service are maintained at a high level
Ability to persuade and articulate at a high level
Take lead in encouraging coordination, collaboration, and sharing as considered appropriate
Take lead in introducing new technologies as appropriate
Ability to say “no” when situation warrants
Other, as appropriate

Ability to stay the course and be steadfast in working toward objectives of the library, especially in difficult, challenging situations
Other, as appropriate

Includes all areas related to maintaining the integrirty of library records, including bibliographic records as well as financial and business records associated with the library
Cataloging, indexing, issues related to authentication of digital records and materials over time Preservation of materials and records over time
Maintain consistent and steady relationships with parent and other organizations as needed Maintain stable physical environment in library or library system
Other, as appropriate

Ability to deal skillfully with new or difficult situations
Ability to adapt quickly
Skillful in finding ways of doing more with less as situation warrants
Other, as appropriate

Comments are welcome.
*Although David Badertscher is the Principal Law Librarian of the New York State Supreme Court Criminal Term, First Judicial District, the opinions, conclusions, and observations expressed in the above article are entirely his own and should not in any way be attributed to that organization, the State of New York Unified Court System, or any other organization or group with which he has been associated, past or present. He also wishes to thank Theodore Pollack, Senior Law Librarian at the New York County Public Access Law Library for his assistance in editing the final version of this paper.

**E-mail from Mary Matuszak, Director of Library Services, New York County District Attorney's Office, December 18, 2009.

***E-mail from Joni L. Cassidy, President and Technical Services Librarian, Cassidy Cataloguing Services Inc., December 17, 2009/

December 10, 2009

Placement: Preservation Librarian Opportunity at GPO

Librarian (Preservation)

Salary Range: 102,721.00 - 133,543.00 USD /year

Open: Monday, December 07, 2009 to Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Series & Grade: PG-1410-14

Position Information: Full Time Career/Career Conditional

Duty Location: 1 vacancy - Washington DC Metro Area, DC

Who may be considered: US Citizens and Status Candidates

Come be a part of one of the largest digital information facilities in the world! Make Your Mark on the reinvention of a major government enterprise. The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) is Keeping America Informed by providing excellent publishing and dissemination services for official and authentic government publications to Congress, Federal agencies, Judiciary, Federal Depository Libraries, and the American public. We have developed new product lines, employed new strategies, reengineered processes, and significantly restructured our organization into a digital-based facility. Established by Congress in 1861, GPO was founded on values of integrity, teamwork, commitment, and dependability. Be a part of history as we continue this tradition through new technologies and strategic initiatives.

This position is located in the Collection Management and Preservation Office of the Library Services and Content Management organization, Washington, DC.

Develop and implement operational policies, procedures, and guidelines for the Government Printing Office (GPO) collections and preservation program for informational products.

Establish, review, and maintain comprehensive plans to participate in nation-wide preservation programs.

Serve as an expert liaison with U.S. Government agencies and libraries on issues associated with the maintenance of materials made available in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) collections, including FDsys, GPO Access, and the FDLP Electronic Collection.

Represent GPO in major studies related to new technologies for preservation and issues related to the management of collections in all formats.

Provide oversight and executive strategy for preservation projects with agency-wide impact.

Develop comprehensive strategies to eliminate problems or barriers to mission accomplishments, promote team building, and implement quality improvement as related to preservation and policy goals.

December 10, 2009

Special Libraries Association Members Fail to Approve Proposal to Change Organization's Name

We just received word about the outcome of the vote on the proposal to change the name of Special Libraries Association (SLA) to the Association for Stategic Knowledge Professionals. The name change proposal stemmed from the findings of the Alignment Project, an intensive two year research effort aimed at understanding the value of the information and knowledge professionals in todays environment and how to communicate that value.

Although not a member of SLA, I have followed developments related to this issue on the SLA listserv and have been very impressed with both the dedication and passion exhibited by the SLA membership.

As for the outcome, I think this is good news. As a professional librarian (an information and knowledge professional) I am very concerned about libraries and librarianship being viable now and remaining so in the future. An important part of that viability, it seems to me, relates to the essential need for libraries and librarians to maintain a clear identity as the preeminent information and knowledge professionals in the world, both now and in the future. There is a danger that proposals such as the one we are discussing here will, if ratified, result in a dilution of that identity and by extension diminish the perceived value of librararies and librarians (whatever their names) in the marketplace as compared to other organizations and occupations that are somewhat comparable. I commend the SLA membership for its decision.

David Badertscher

Here is a note from SLA Headquarters concerning the outcome of the vote of the SLA membership:

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