President’s Message – March 2011

By Susan Herrick
Research Librarian
University of Maryland School of Law

Hello LLAM Members,

By the time you read this, March will have come in like either a lion or – dare I say it? ….a lamb. Either way, I’m sure you all join me in welcoming the end of winter and the longer and (I hope!) balmier days.

Spring brings much to anticipate… whether it’s a religious holiday, a spring break, or perhaps making plans for gardening or a summer vacation… and of course some great LLAM programming!

We had a very informative program on bankruptcy law on February 17, thanks to attorney Edie Altice of Saul Ewing (see the article in this issue for a full description.)

LLAM again co-sponsored the annual Maryland Library Association Legislative Day at the General Assembly on February 23, thanks to the efforts of Joan Bellistri, our Government Relations Committee chair. This was my first year attending the Legislative Day, and it won’t be the last. It’s no surprise that this year the major legislative concerns of librarians relate to the ongoing budget constraints they face.  It was an inspiration to hear our colleagues in Maryland public and school libraries speak on this topic at the briefing that begins the Legislative Day, and a reminder that all librarians share a common interest and purpose in protecting our institutions and our services to patrons, no matter what type of library we may represent. An added bonus this year was that while attending the session of the Maryland State Senate, we were able to hear the consideration of amendments on the second reading of the Maryland same sex marriage bill, one of which renamed the bill the “Civil Marriage Protection Act.”  Not only was the debate substantively interesting, it was fun as librarians to hear the references to the Maryland Code, COMAR, and the Maryland Register which were flung about during the discussion of the various amendments.

Our Program Chair/Vice President Sara Witman has other great programs planned for this spring as well. In upcoming weeks we can look forward to our annual “LLAM Reads” author talk. We are pleased to welcome Charles W. Mitchell, author of Maryland Voices of the Civil War. Check out the reviews of his book on! This one is a don’t miss, so please join us on March 21 at University of Maryland School of Law Library. See Sara’s article within this issue for details on this and on a program planned for April at the Maryland Archives. And of course save the date and plan to attend our annual Spring Fling, for which the tentative date is Friday, May 6. Please come out and join us to celebrate spring and a great year for LLAM, and to congratulate our current, outgoing, and new board members.

Speaking of which – spring is also election time for LLAM. Our Nominations Committee, composed of Joanne Colvin, Pat Behles, and Janet Camillo, has worked hard to recruit members for the positions of Vice President/Program Chair and Board member. Our election will be held in early April, with the ballot available electronically via Survey Monkey. Watch for the email announcement. What better time for me to encourage you to step forward and volunteer for a position as committee member or chair? It’s a rewarding experience and a real opportunity to contribute something to your local law library chapter; a local chapter position to enhance your CV; and a chance to work with a really smart, helpful, and nice group of people. LLAM needs your involvement!

This year LLAM is in the fortunate position of being able to award both an AALL Chapter Registration Grant (for the amount of the AALL Annual Meeting registration fee) and a grant funded from LLAM Silent Auction proceeds and general funds. This a great opportunity because since the travel expenses  for Philadelphia will be less than they often are, receiving a grant may enable a LLAM member who has not attended AALL, or hasn’t attended recently, to be able to go. So please don’t hesitate to apply!  Our Grants & Awards Committee, chaired this year by Jim Gernert and also including Jean Hessenauer and Mark Desierto, have provided complete information on how to apply (see announcement within this LLAM eNews.)

In closing, on behalf of LLAM, congratulations to Bernice Bernstein on her retirement after 44 years of service at the Maryland State Law Library. The State Law Library sponsored a lovely reception for Bernice on Feb. 23, attended by LLAM members who had participated in the Legislative Day and many other active and retired members of the law library community, in addition to court personnel. It was a great party!

Ah spring, bringing changes and reminding us of both renewal and regeneration… Enjoy, everyone!

President’s Message – December 2010

By Susan Herrick
Research Librarian
Thurgood Marshall Law Library

I recently had dinner with a friend who reported that her husband, an avid winter sportsman, is hoping for a repeat of the weather we experienced last winter. As we face the season of shorter days and chillier temperatures, I suspect that many of you share my own hopes, which are somewhat different from those of my friend’s spouse… but either way, greetings and welcome to the season!

LLAM programming continues at a fast clip this year, thanks to Vice President/Program Chair Sara Witman.

On October 19th, about 15 LLAM members enjoyed a fascinating tour of the NPR facilities and library. The NPR librarian guides were fantastic! Many thanks are due to Sara and to Katherine Baer, formerly a librarian at NPR, for organizing this trip. (See the full story on the trip elsewhere in LLAM eNews.)

Our scheduled program for November 30 on bankruptcy law unfortunately had to be cancelled due to a scheduling conflict of our presenter. We plan to reschedule this program in early 2011.  In the LLAM Member Survey we conducted in the fall of 2009, many respondents were enthusiastic about including more programming on specialized legal research topics – and this program certainly fit the bill. Any suggestions for programs/speakers of this nature are always welcome – so please contact me or Sara if you have ideas.

I was happy to see so many of you at the LLAM Holiday Party – we had about 35 attendees. I hope you enjoyed the event as much as I did! A special thanks to all who contributed to, and bid on items, at the Silent Auction. This year the auction yielded about $550, and the board has voted on the distribution of the proceeds, which have historically been split between our LLAM Grants and Awards program and a charitable organization (last year it was Doctors Without Borders for Haiti relief efforts; in the recent past, the Maryland Food Bank and the Baltimore Reads Foundation have been recipients.) This year the Board voted to send half the proceeds to the Maryland Food Bank.

Last but certainly not least, kudos to Jean Hessenauer for initiating and coordinating the Baltimore Ronald McDonald House dinner project (see the article on this event elsewhere in LLAM eNews.) On two dates this past fall, LLAM members visited RMH and prepared and served dinner for the families of seriously ill children, for whom the House serves as a “home away from home.” Thanks so much to everyone who volunteered to participate. This is a great project, and I would love to see LLAM to do more public service projects of this nature. I’d be happy to hear any ideas any of you might have for such ventures.

In closing, it’s with great happiness for her personally, but with collective regret, that LLAM recognizes the retirement of Janet Camillo from her position as Law Librarian at the Montgomery County Circuit Court Law Library. Janet’s contributions to LLAM can’t be overstated, not only in her official capacity as (former) President, Vice President, Secretary,  and chair of many committees over the years, but also in her always knowledgeable, insightful, and tactful informal guidance on many a topic. Janet has also been active in the court library community, and we know her leadership will be missed there. We look forward to having Janet as one of our active LLAM members in the “Retired” category! Joanie Bellistri has written a lovely tribute to Janet in this issue of LLAm eNews.

I wish you all the happiest of holiday seasons – fun and relaxation with family and friends, and physical and spiritual renewal to launch us through the winter of 2010-2011.