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Court News Ohio Review's April Newsletter highlights the work of several Ohio Law Libraries. Interviews with Judith Maxwell, Lauren Morrison, and Erin Waltz are included and pictures from several county law libraries can been seen. Read the entire article.
The American Association of Law Libraries' Government Law Libraries Special Interest Section recently started a new segment in their online newsletter called Market Mavens to highlight special programs and projects in the Government Law Library world. The first Marketing Maven was Angela Baldree and the Franklin County Law Library. Learn all about their Brown Bag Lunch Program.
According to a New York Times article, Harvard Law Library is creating a complete, searchable database of American case law that will be offered free on the Internet, allowing instant retrieval of vital records that usually must be paid for. Click here to read the entire article.
The Columbus Dispatch had the following write up regarding the Franklin County Law Library
A recent renovation of the library on the 10th floor of the former Hall of Justice at 369 S. High St. resulted in the news that the chairs and tables purchased when the building was built more than 40 years ago are valued by collectors.
A craftsman hired to re-cover the chairs told library staff members that the furniture is from the Viking Oak line manufactured by the Romweber Co. in Batesville, Ind. The Viking collection, inspired by Scandinavian folk art, was manufactured from the 1930s to the 1980s.
The library has 53 barrel-back chairs as well as a sofa, love seat, bench and several swivel chairs, club chairs and wingback chairs. The library also is equipped with other Viking Oak pieces, including eight 9-foot tables, three 5-foot tables and 11 end tables.
The man who refurbished the chairs is not an appraiser, but he estimated that the chairs are worth about $286,000.
Records show that the county purchased all of the furniture for $44,153 in 1972, according to Angela Baldree, the library’s executive director.
Matt Cudahy | For The Post
Athens County Commissioners met with Zachary Saunders, an attorney for Mollica Gall Sloan & Sillery Company, at their meeting Tuesday morning to discuss plans to renovate the county’s law library, located on the fourth floor in the Athens County Common Pleas Court.
The project would include taking out the back wall of the library and putting in three or four rooms that could be used for private meetings, Saunders said.
“The rooms can be used for mediations, or for client and attorney meetings or even it can be used by the public,” Saunders added.
As of right now there is no timetable or start date for the project, Saunders said, though he’s hoping the commissioners will decide soon so the plan can be put in motion.
“It’s a pretty good proposal,” Chris Chmiel, county commissioner, said. “Legally they can’t pay for the renovations, so they need our money and it probably won’t be a problem.”
The cost of the renovations will be somewhere around $14,000, Chmiel said.
Court News Ohio has just announced that the Ohio Supreme Court has purchased the Lexis Digital Library of ebooks. A browsable and searchable list of what the Supreme Court has acquired can be found at this link. According to the Supreme Court:
"The LexisNexis Digital Library is a virtual library website that provides legal books in an e-book format. The digital library allows Supreme Court employees to access the library’s complete Lexis collection from any location and from any type of electronic device such as tablets, smartphones, and laptops. All other patrons can access the complete collection from any computer inside the Supreme Court library.
Patrons can download the e-books for free, which include the legal volumes Page’s Ohio Revised Code, The Law of Professional Conduct in Ohio, Ohio Civil Practice with Forms, and Corbin on Contracts. Once checked out, Internet access is not required to read the e-book."
The Ohio Supreme Court is the first court library in Ohio to acquire this resource, but several Ohio County law libraries are also considering purchasing resources in the Lexis Digital Library for their patrons.
Citing declining use, the need for space, and the expense of operation, the Androscoggin County Law Library in Maine, the county north of Portland, announced the planned discard of its entire collection. The Maine court administrator is cited as saying most lawyers do their research online now. The president of the local bar association noted that he has never used the library. Interestingly. the state judicial branch's website page that discusses due process and equal protection, notes that "...the Judicial Branch maintains a law library for the use of judges, attorneys and the general public in each county courthouse. These libraries contain basic Maine legal materials, including statutes, court rules, and the opinions of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, as well as certain federal legal materials." However, another article announces that the state will maintain only three public law libraries, in Portland, Bangor, and Augusta, requiring nearly an hour's drive between the county seat in Androscoggin, for example, and the nearest public law library. Neither news story mentions the public, self-represented litigants, or access to justice.
The State Library of Ohio publishes a quarterly magazine called Ohio Libraries Quarterly. The latest edition focuses on special libraries in Ohio. Featured are the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library, The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library, The OCLC Library, The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library, The Supreme Court of Ohio Law Library, and many more. Judith Maxwell wrote a great article on the Ohio County Law Libraries. Use the link above to read the entire magazine.
The Sentinel (Carlisle, PA) reports that the Cumberland County Law Library will move to the local public library. The move is described as a relocation of collections. The court administrator extols the move as a significant expansion of access to the resources. Melissa H. Calvanelli
District Court Administrator, said via email, "We do not currently have any law library staff... Bosler [public library] plans to provide training to their reference librarians and will be able to provide much better service and accessibility than we are able to." Public library staff will be trained in legal research. Presumably, the public library will take on the cost of updating the legal materials, as it is also funded by the county, which is required by law to provide "necessary funds, accommodations, goods and services." (42 PA Consolidated Statutes §3724)
I just finished reading Law Librarianship in a Digital Age (Scarecrow Press, 2014), and while many of the articles are focused on academic and law firm libraries, there are several great take-aways for county and public law libraries. First, the authors remind us that our “core” mission is to match people to knowledge, but our title of librarian hardly covers everything that we do. As knowledge managers, we are the most valuable resources our libraries possess! Although our physical spaces are shrinking, we still have opportunities to grow our services, which could include providing inter-disciplinary research and competitive intelligence, both of which are trending in law firms and solo law offices. Great tech tips included using programs to collect and analyze reference statistics and database usage, creating asynchronous online tutorials for “just-in-time” research needs, offering web conferencing as legal research training, buying ebooks and integrating them and other resources we purchase into our OPACs through a discovery layer for a ‘Google-like’ search experience, supporting BYOD (“Bring Your Own Device”) at our law libraries, keeping up on new legal APPs and even creating our own, adding QR codes everywhere, maintaining a mobile-friendly website, creating intranets and extranets, and migrating more services, software and library infrastructure to the cloud. All of this leads to what one author called “ubiquitous mobility” for our patrons, who want “ubiquitous access.” Since we have smaller staffs and budgets, a more difficult suggestion we need to think about is changing the model where patrons come to us to literally taking our ‘show on the road’ to staff office hours outside our existing library walls and get noticed where lawyers, judges and potential other patrons congregate. According to one author, we need to be “visible, available, responsive, efficient and accurate” in order to sustain customer experiences. Collaboration is also key to our continued existence, and the book suggested engaging in all types of social media on a consistent basis. The book also suggested that we should treat our law libraries like for-profit businesses and market our services to busy people who sometimes forget we are here and treat us only as an “as needed” destination. This last point is a mantra that I have lived by for the last 11 years.
The Athens News reports that Athens County Law Library is canceling all its remaining print subscriptions and going fully digital. Library director Ed Kruse notes that the library will have two public computers and wireless access so that patrons can use the online services. The print sources remaining in the library will not be updated. While the Athens County Law Library Resources Board (CLLRB) voted unanimously for the shift in format, board members acknowledged concerns about accessibility by attorneys and the general public less familiar with online legal research methods. However, the Board voiced confidence in the law librarian's ability to help these patrons. The article erroneously states that provision of access by the public is now mandated by statute. RC 307.51 stipulates that the CLLRB shall establish rules regarding public access and hours of operation of the law library but the law stopped short of mandating public access. A recent survey of Ohio county law libraries showed, however, that none of the 32 responding libraries disallows public access.
Legal Technology News from law.com has just published 2 must-reads for Law Librarians. The first article captioned Redesign Research discusses many new roles librarians can serve to support knowledge management in their organizations. While business and competitive intelligence is a hot topic now, they also suggest that librarians can perform legal project management and develop/maintain/search social networking sites, among other new functions we might consider. Law Librarians Survey: The New Normal goes beyond lamenting that we are doing more for less and confirms that we are still happy with our jobs. More importantly, this article offers a few tips on dealing with vendors and suggests the optimal way for firm librarians to train lawyers how to conduct legal research-just tell them what is available, provide online conferencing, and create quick tools for when lawyers actually need to conduct research using a particular product.
Ohio Governor John Kasich has appointed Judge James A. Shriver to the Clermont County Probate/Juvenile Court. Judge Shriver has been serving as a Judge on the Clermont Municipal Court for the last 18 years. Judge Shriver currently serves as a member of the Advisory Board for the Ohio Consortium of County Law Library Resources Boards created by ORC 3375.481.
Legislativegazette.com reports that newly proposed regulations by New York's Commission of Correction would permit jails to decide on the right mix of print and electronic, or all print or all electronic, material to serve their inmates, potentially saving about $5,000 per jail and providing space for other functions. There would be no change in the requirement to provide inmates with access to legal information read more ...
The San Francisco Law Library filed suit on February 6, 2013 against the City and County of San Francisco, alleging that San Francisco has provided inadequate space for the library. California state law requires that all counties maintain a law library and that suitable and sufficient quarters be made available. Since a city hall earthquake retrofitting in 1995, which forced the law library to move temporarily - and never moved back, the law library has been in a space much smaller than is needed to house California's oldest law library's collections and its services for self-represented litigants and the legal profession. Resolution of the location issue is critically important, since the library is about to be moved out of its so-called temporary setting. The Petition for Writ of Mandate from the Superior Court of California website is available here. read more ...
The Portsmouth Daily Times reports that Fourth District Court of Appeals Judge Elect Marie Hoover has asked Scioto County commissioners to turn the law library into her office. The request was referred to the county's prosecuting attorney for a legal opinion, who explained that the county must provide space for the law library and space for court and consultation space for the judges. The assistant prosecuting attorney noted that a courtroom is already available; the office space is the issue. BOCC chairman Riffe commented, "I don’t feel like we should be changing the law library however that does not mean that I do not want to see her [Judge Elect Hoover] here." Read more: Portsmouth Daily Times - Hoover asks for law library as office
UPDATE: January 22, 2013 Scioto County Law Library's law librarian Beverly Grimshaw reported "The County Commissioners are moving the Prosecutor’s Office out of the courthouse (across the street) and giving that space to Court of Appeals Judge Hoover."