SWALL Member News, Awards, and Highlights

Robert Hu
Professor of Law and Director
Sarita Kenedy East Law Library
St. Mary’s University School of Law

At the AALL Annual Meeting in D.C., Robert presided over the AALL’s Copyright Committee meeting as the chairman, participated in the Public Policy Update session as a speaker, and made remarks at the forum about the work of the Copyright Committee. Robert also wrote an article on Dr. Arthur Yao, who was a beloved professor on the faculty of St. Mary’s law school. The article is titled, Arthur C.Y. Yao (1906-2004): A Pioneer Chinese Professor At St. Mary’s University School of Law, and it will be published by St. Mary’s Law Journal this fall.

Karen Selden
Metadata Services Librarian
Interim Head of Technical Services
William A. Wise Law Library
University of Colorado Law School

Karen received the 2019 Renee D. Chapman Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions in Technical Services Law Librarianship from AALL’s Technical Services Special Interest Section.

Jeff Woodmansee
Associate Professor of Law Librarianship
Research Support and Reference Librarian

William H. Bowen School of Law

Jeff is a current candidate for the 2020 AALL Executive Board Member-at-Large, with voting to take place on October 2019

Jennifer Wondracek
Director of Legal Educational Technology
Professor of Practice
UNT Dallas College of Law

Jennifer received the RIPS-SIS Service Award. Jennifer also led the UNT Dallas College of Law Legal Educational Technology department in winning the 2019 AALL Innovations in Technology Award. This award recognized the team’s innovative efforts in creating a virtual crime scene. You can read more about this project in this Dallas Innovates article, or jump right into the scene!

Lisa Goodman
Executive Professor & Director
Dee J. Kelly Law Library
Texas A&M University School of Law

Lisa Goodman is the new law library director at the Dee J. Kelly Law Library at Texas A&M University School of Law! Congratulations and welcome Back to Texas!

When asked about her new position, Lisa said, “I am both thrilled and honored to return to the Dee J. Kelly Law Library and to have the opportunity to lead this talented group of professionals. I look forward to all of the work we will accomplish in the years ahead!”

Cara Sitton
Law Library Director
Dell Dehay Law Library of Tarrant County

Cara Sitton has been named the Director of the Dell Dehay Law Library of Tarrant County. Prior to joining the Dell Dehay Law Library, Cara worked for the Texas A&M University School of Law Dee J. Kelly Law Library for seven years. Cara earned her Juris Doctor from Texas A&M University School of Law in May 2019 and her Master of Library and Information Sciences from the University of North Texas in 2013. Congratulations, Cara!

Harris County Law Library
Houston, TX
Submitted By Joseph Lawson, Deputy Director

The Harris County Law Library took home several awards from AALL! The Harris County Law Library was named a 2019 recipient of the Joseph L. Andrews Legal Literature Award for its publication entitled Pro Se Litigant Handbook and the Spanish-language translation, Manual para Litigantes Pro Se.

The Harris County Law Library also won the AALL’s Excellence in Community Engagement Award for its Harvey recovery resources webpage, an effort to organize legal aid information for our storm-impacted neighbors.

Additionally, Law Library Director Mariann Sears received the prestigious Bethany J. Ochal Award for Distinguished Service to the Profession from AALL’s government section.

You can read more from the Harris County Attorney’s Office press release recognizing the law library’s achievements, the law library’s blog post, and this Texas Lawyer Newsmaker Column.

The Harris County Law Library also received a resolution from Harris County Commissioners Court recognizing July 14-20 as “Access to Legal Information Week” throughout the county. The resolution recognized the role the Harris County Law Library plays in providing legal information to both lawyers and non-lawyers in Harris County and the awards the library has received since becoming a part of the Office of County Attorney Vince Ryan. The Harris County Attorney’s Office published a press release with details and the Law Library published a blog post detailing an event for each day of that week. This can serve as a great model for public law libraries!

Deputy Director Joseph Lawson also presented a program at the Annual Meeting with fellow SWALL member Alyson Drake, from Texas Tech University School of Law, titled “Better with Science: Strengthening Patron Learning.”

Photo credit: Amanda Watson, Director of University of Houston Law Center O’Quinn Law Library

Travis County Law Library & Self-Help Center
Austin, TX
Submitted By Lisa Rush, Law Library Manager

The Travis County Law Library & Self-Help Center helps the Travis County community access legal information to help the courts advance fairness and equality in the justice system.

Here are some exciting changes about the Law Library:

New staff!
A new reference librarian position was added this year. The new position, combined with an opening, allowed us to hire Josephine Black and Abigail Weller. Both Josephine and Abigail are graduates of the University of Texas iSchool (formerly the UT School of Library and Information). Both are new to law librarianship and are now first-time members of SWALL.

New service!
The Law Library expanded its services to include expunction assistance. The Law Library hired attorney Nikki Hunt in April 2019. As the reference attorney for expunctions, Nikki helps patrons determine if they are eligible for an expunction or non-disclosure. If so, she helps them complete the appropriate court forms. This is an expansion of the reference attorney services offered by the Travis County Law Library. We also have attorneys on staff who assist with driver’s license issues and uncontested family law filings.

New Roomies!
Texas RioGrande Legal Aid now has an intake office in the Law Library. Patrons cannot visit with a legal aid attorney in the library but they can learn if they qualify for legal aid. The legal aid paralegals office in the Law Library every morning to assist applicants to complete the intake paper work. In addition to Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, we have two other “roommates.” Austin Bar in Action staffs an office with a part-time attorney who helps with our daily family law clinics and coordinates attorney and paralegal volunteers in the Law Library. Three years ago, we began a new partnership with the District Clerk’s Office. Travis County District Clerk Velva Price shares one of her clerks with the Law Library. The deputy clerk offices in the Law Library and can accept civil filings, issue service, and research filings in the Law Library.

New Outreach!
Google Groups makes it easy to create emailing lists. In July we launched a new email list called the Austin-Area Community Referral Exchange. The goal is to be a hub for announcements for related to new and changed legal services. For example, we post announcements about changed legal clinic schedules and free training opportunities. Flyers for job fairs and legal clinics are posted so that members can print the flyers to hang in their offices. The 32 Exchange members include legal aid providers, court services staff, community college career advisors, social workers and more.

New Project!
When the Travis County Commissioners Court passes new ordinances and regulations, those the Law Library adds those amendments to the Travis County Code. As codifier of the Travis County Code, the Law Library incorporated the amendments into the Code and then publishes an updated copy online. This means the online Code includes only the current regulations and ordinances. It isn’t possible to access the historical Code online. Starting this fall, we will work with a vendor to publish an easier-to-search online code that will allow research into past versions of the land use ordinances. As time permits, we will expand the historical access to chapters other than land use.

Kristin Love
Postdoctoral Fellow
University of New Mexico Law Library

Kristin Love joined the University of New Mexico Law Library in July 2019 as a Postdoctoral Fellow. This fellowship program serves as a foundational experience for 1-2 individuals who are just starting their career in law librarianship.

Kristin brings a decade of experience as a public interest lawyer in Mexico and the United States. Most recently, she was a staff attorney with the ACLU of New Mexico, where she focused on the rights of people in immigrant and Muslim communities and detained and incarcerated people. Kristin also clerked for the Honorable Martha Vázquez of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico, worked with the ACLU as a Border Civil Rights Fellow, the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights as a staff attorney, and Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. as a Skadden Fellow and a policy attorney. Kristin is fluent in Spanish and is a 2006 honors graduate of the University of Chicago and a 2009 graduate of the University of Chicago Law School. She plans to start library school in January.

Edward Hart
Assistant Professor and Assistant Dean for Law Library
UNT Dallas College of Law

CALIcon19: Paradigm Shift

The annual conference of The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) is the intersection of law school information technology, legal education instructional technology, and teaching substantive law and practical aspects of law using technology.  This year’s meeting was hosted by the University of South Carolina School of Law, at their relative new building in downtown Columbia.

The CALIcon19’s theme was Paradigm Shift with the definition provided, “A fundamental change in an individual’s or a society’s view of how things work in the world.” Working the two angles of recovering from the 2008 crash and the growth of new programs responding to the access to justice to gap, CALI is there to contribute to the discussion both as a partner and coordination of its members as the use of technology addresses these two fronts.

The keynote speaker to set the tone for CALIcon19 was Prof. Dave Yearwood of the University of North Dakota.  Not from a law school, Prof. Yearwood was the Graduate Director of Technology and the PhD program in Teaching and Learning.  His address was titled “The Education Conundrum: Teach as you were Taught, or Teach for the Future?” 

He challenged us to rethinking how we teach.  While we teach our students to change, we are not keeping pace with making changes with our pedagogy.  How do we communicate our qualities as a good teacher when teaching online? He called for us to look at in person opportunities as time for exploration, not to introduce content. We, faculty and librarians, are no longer the sole sources of information. Classes are where students should Inquiry, experiment, and develop solutions.  Modern tools, such as those provided by CALI, allow for these personalized instruction.

CALI consistently works to provide its member schools’ alternatives to what otherwise require costly solutions.  This year John Meyer announced the formation of Law School and Bar Exam Study Skills Fellowships.   With support of AccessLex Institute, seven fellows were selected to author CALI Lessons “to develop students’ critical-thinking skills.”  Unlike the thousands of CALI lessons that currently exist, Meyer states. “The new interactive lessons will focus on meta-skills for succeeding in legal education and will explore the intersection of law school and bar exam curricula. We have assembled a stellar team of academic success superheroes and hope to engage the broader community in future materials development.”

But do not forget those current lessons and CALI’s other efforts such as eLangdell books, CALI’s leading efforts that are still the foundation of their work on behalf of all law students. At the heart of CALI are its substantive lessons on Law, which provided formative assessment long before that concept became vogue with the latest ABA Standards.  Books from the eLangdale are growing in numbers covering more areas of law.  Here at UNT Dallas we use Sources of American Law by Beau Steenken and Tina Brooks of the University of Kentucky, in our first year Legal Research class. CALIcon20 will be in Chicago back at the mother ship Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology, 4-5 June 2020.  I highly encourage you to attend!

SWALL Members at the 2019 AALL Annual Meeting in D.C.

One thought on “SWALL Member News, Awards, and Highlights

  1. Pingback: Volume 42, Issue 3 (Post-Conference Edition) Table of Contents | SWALL Bulletin

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