Legislative Research Librarians
Legislative Staff Achievement Award Recipients
Shelley Day, Utah
Shelley Day has served as the Legislative Information Liaison in the Utah Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel since 1991 and has managed the research library since 2000. She conducts research on policy issues for committee studies and legislation, conducts customized training, and provides project guidance for legislative interns and constituent services. She coordinates, edits, and contributes to the production of major legislative publications.
As the Utah State Legislature webmaster since 1995, Shelley has been involved with other legislative staff in designing, maintaining, and updating content on the website. In 1998 she and her director represented the office when presented with the Roy B. Gibson Freedom of Information Award by the Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. The Utah Legislative Website also received NCSL's first Online Democracy Award in 2005. Shelley also developed the Legislative Kids' Page in 2002.
Shelley has played an active role in NCSL's Legislative Research Librarian (LRL) Staff Section. She hosted LRL in 2004 at NCSL's Annual Meeting in Utah and planned two of the LRL sessions. She has spoken at LRL Professional Development Seminars, on the Legislative Library Web Sites Panel in 2002 and on the Legislative Website Functions and Design Panel in 2008. She has served as chair of the LRL Staff Section and served an additional three years as an officer. During her tenure on the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee she participated in the Outreach Work Group and Technology Subcommittee and the E-Learning Subcommittee. She also coordinated and moderated NCSL's first LRL Webinar, “Researching Legislative History and Intent” in 2010 and oversaw its second Webinar, “Creating Databases for Statutorily Mandated Reports,” in 2011.
Shelley has coordinated the NCSL America's Legislators Back to School Program in Utah since 2001 and spoken at numerous conferences about the program. At the invitation of NCSL she was a plenary speaker at the national Civic Education Network Meeting in 2006. Also at the invitation of NCSL in 2008, she was a presenter at Trust for Representative Democracy: Voices of the People, a leadership seminar for master teachers across America.
Shelley is a member of the Utah State Library Board and Utah Library Association. The 2012 Legislative Staff Achievement Award from LRL recognizes Shelley’s service to the Utah Legislature and for her tireless efforts to promote legislative information for legislators, citizens, and students.
Kristin Ford, Idaho
Kristen Ford has served as Legislative Librarian for the Idaho Legislature since 1999. In addition to research, cataloging, and indexing, she conducts legislative research classes for law students and CLE seminars for attorneys, participates in new legislator orientation, and assists the public with legislative history research. She staffed the Idaho Citizen's Commission on Redistricting in 2011-2012, designing the website, writing the guidelines, and providing information for the commission.
During the past decade, Kristin has authored several articles which were published in Legal Reference Services Quarterly. She contributed an article, “Researching Uniform and Model Laws,” that appeared in West Group's Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing. She also co-authored an article with two Idaho senators on the judicial use of legislative history that was published in the Idaho Law Review.
In 2011, Kristin’s work as a legislative librarian was featured as part of an NCSL Executive Committee project highlighting legislative careers. This project serves to inform and to draw young people into public service. Each of the staff sections was featured in a video and, representing LRL, Kristin did a wonderful job of talking about the role and importance of legislative libraries in the legislative process.
Kristin has been active in NCSL in other ways. As an LRL officer, she participated in the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee and was a presenter at the Annual Meeting in 2005.
She is a longtime member and has been very active in the Legislative Research Librarians Staff Section (LRL), serving one year as Chair and another three years in other section offices. She served as a regional coordinator and as a member of the Core Collection Update Committee. Her contributions to LRL by serving six years on the Notable Documents Committee, of which she is currently Chair, are as notable as the documents which they review.
Kristin is active in other professional organizations, including the Western Pacific Chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries. She served as Secretary for that organization during the same time she presided over the LRL staff section. The 2012 Legislative Staff Achievement Award from the Legislative Research Librarians recognizes Kristin’s dedicated service to the Idaho Legislature and her profession.
Robbie LaFleur, Minnesota
The Legislative Research Librarians Staff Section (LRL) honors Robbie LaFleur for her professionalism, competence, and integrity in serving the Minnesota Legislature and for her continuing contributions to the work of NCSL through her commitment to LRL. Robbie is the Director of the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library. Robbie is very committed to documenting the Legislature and issues in Minnesota. The Minnesota Legislative Reference Library has developed several important databases covering information on legislators and legislative statistics and is committed to ongoing and retrospective digital archiving of legislative and state government reports. Robbie has participated in LRL activities since the early 1990s. She was a member of the LRL Executive Committee from 2001-2004. During her tenure on the LRL Executive Committee she served on the Professional Development Task Force. As Chair-elect she organized the Professional Development Seminar held in Bismarck, North Dakota, in 2002. She was the LRL Staff Section Chair in 2002-2003. In addition to her LRL leadership roles, Robbie took an active role in NCSL meetings. Robbie was a speaker on a panel at the 2003 Annual Meeting on "Programming Versus Content in Building and Maintaining Legislative Web Sites," as well as a panelist on a session on "The Virtual Legislative Office." She presented a program on the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library's Legislators Past & Present Database at the Annual Meeting in Boston in 2007. Robbie has served as a judge for the LRL Notable Documents Award, and was one of the judges for the first LINCS/NALIT Online Democracy Award in 2005. She served on the NCSL Assessment Mission to the Algerian Parliament in January, 2006. In related work, in 2008 she was awarded the Peter S. Popovich Freedom of Information Award by the Minnesota Chapter of Professional Journalists for her long-term promotion of access to state documents and legislative information for the Legislature and citizens. She is a member of the Minnesota Library Association and a board member of the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information. Robbie continues to be an active, responsive, and enthusiastic member of LRL. LRL thanks Robbie for her exemplary actions and looks forward to her continuing service to legislative librarianship!
Anne Rottmann, Missouri
The Legislative Research Librarians Staff Section honors Anne Rottmann for her professionalism, competence, and integrity in serving the Missouri General Assembly and for her continuing contributions to the work of NCSL through her commitment to the LRL. Anne’s entire professional career has been with the Missouri Committee on Legislative Research where she has worked since 1978, being named Librarian in March 1981. She and her staff are credited by her Director as being wonderful resources for the members and staff of the Missouri General Assembly. Anne’s contributions to LRL have been numerous, long-term, and significant. She was a member of the LRL Executive Committee from 1996-1999, serving as LRL Chair in 1998-1999, as well as Secretary (1996-97), Chair-Elect (1997-98), and Immediate Past Chair (1999-2000). During this time, she also served on the NCSL Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee, participating in the Task Force on Outreach and External Communication, and the Public Service and Legislative Institution Task Force. She has also served as an LRL regional coordinator and on the committee to produce the Core Collection List for LRL libraries. In related work, she serves on the Missouri Historical Records Advisory Board and has served on the Missouri Library Association's legislative committee. Before the Internet became universally available for research, Anne was in the forefront of the electronic exchange of information through NCSL and LRL. During the 1990’s, when NCSL’s Legisnet database was the primary means of exchanging state legislative documents, Anne volunteered to index documents for the database, thereby increasing their accessibility. The staff section continues to share acquisitions lists on the LRL Web page, based on her original proposal to do so. Anne was also a member of the first staff section listserv and remains a faithful and thorough responder to listserv questions. Anne continues to be an active, responsive, and enthusiastic member of LRL, offering a warm welcome and guidance to newcomers and serving as a model of legislative librarianship. Thank you for your exemplary service, Anne.
Cathy Martin, North Carolina
The Legislative Research Librarians staff section honors Cathy Martin as a leader with a champion combination of traditional library values and forward technology thinking. Cathy came to librarianship by way of the law. Fortunately for us, after six years as a legal services attorney she redirected her goals and added MLS to her JD. As Legislative Librarian of the North Carolina General Assembly since 1990, her division director credits her tremendous insight into the needs of legislative staff to this combination of careers. She is praised by her colleagues as a quick and efficient researcher, always cognizant of new information technologies, supportive and open, thorough and accurate and an excellent mentor.
Cathy began her LRL duties by serving as a regional coordinator for many years. As an LRL staff section officer from 2005 to 2009, including chair for 2007-2008, Cathy has been thoughtful, creative and diligent. She confidently and competently asserts ownership, on behalf of legislative librarians, over information retrieval and dissemination issues in the NCSL community. She participated in LSCC E-Learning and Technology Review subcommittees as well as the Executive Committee’s Web Redesign Task Force, and contributed much toward harnessing the powers of new web technologies to increase remote professional development opportunities and education for members. Thanks and congratulations, Cathy! We look forward to your continuing service to legislative librarianship.
LRL is pleased to honor Susan Southworth with the 2009 Legislative Research Librarians’ Staff Achievement Award. Susan has devoted over 35 years to working with or for the Connecticut General Assembly. She was hired as the first librarian for the Connecticut Office of Legislative Research, later moving over to head the Law/Legislative Reference unit at the Connecticut State Library before returning to the General Assembly as the Connecticut Legislative Librarian. Susan first participated in NCSL as a faculty member at the 1984 Annual Conference. She served on the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee (LSCC) Task Force on Promoting and Developing Professionalism of Legislative Staff, the LSCC Task Force on Promoting the Legislative Institution, and the NCSL Legislative Staff Nominating Committee.
Susan chaired LRL in 1999-2000, after previously serving as secretary and vice-chair. She served on many LRL committees, including the Core Collection Committee in 1998-1999 that developed benchmarks for legislative library resources. Susan has continued to serve, often in less visible positions, and remains always willing to lend a hand, whether it is to write a meeting summary article for Newsline, to answer questions posed by colleagues on the listserv, or to serve on a committee. Susan believes her contributions to the staff section are low-key and not deserving of an award, but we see her as one who has given her best over many years and worthy of recognition for her articulate support of libraries and her example of service.
Susan Gilley, Oklahoma
LRL is pleased to honor Susan Gilley with the 2008 Legislative Research Librarians Staff Achievement Award. Susan has given over 30 years of service to the Oklahoma legislature under a series of structures for its library services. From 1977-1981 she was librarian in the Legislative Council. When the Legislative Council was dissolved in 1981, she was transferred to the Legislative Reference Division of the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. In 1985 she was appointed head of that division, and since 2000 has been Administrator of the Law and Legislative Reference Divisions of the Oklahoma Department of Libraries.
Susan is one of the pioneers of our staff section and her work helped to develop major LRL achievements. Although her projects are too many to list completely, they include helping to plan and produce our first professional development seminar in 1989, the Bibliographies Project, and the first Core Reference List. She chaired our staff section in 1990-1991, has been a regional coordinator, a member of NCSL's Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee, on the NCSL Task Force on International Legislative Cooperation, and was a faculty member at annual meeting in 2000.
At home Susan is also an activist in the Oklahoma Library Association, has served on a variety of committees, including Program Planning and is currently co-chair of the Ethics Committee. She previously chaired the Reference Roundtable and the Technical Services Roundtable, planning workshops and conference programs. She is also a member of both the Mid-America Association of Law Libraries and the Southwestern Association of Law Libraries.
Equally importantly, Susan has shared with us her great gifts of humor, friendship and the ability to cut through government nonsense. Thank you, Susan! Congratulations, Susan!
Tracey Kimball, New Mexico
Tracey has served the New Mexico Legislative Council Service with diligence and distinction since August 1995. She has been an active member of the LRL staff section, serving LRL officer 2004-2007 and as chair from 2005-2006. Among her accomplishments with LRL, she enhanced the e-learning component of LRL's web page by having the professional development seminar and annual meeting materials posted. She also assisted in LRL's 50-State Compilations projects, a website that indexes all NCSL legislative information. Currently she is working with an LRL subcommittee to develop a way to collect and organize non-NSCL 50 state compilations. LRL was honored to hold the 1997 Professional Development Seminar in New Mexico and is now celebrating that ten-year anniversary back in Santa Fe, with Tracey as the gracious hostess. She has been working assiduously to make the meeting substantive, fun, and exciting. Congratulations, Tracey!
The David R. Poynter Legislative Research Library, Louisiana
and the Senate Law Library, Louisiana
Front row, L to R: Frances Thomas, Carmen Geologo (student intern), Jessica Foley (student intern), Robyn Cockerham
Back row, L to R: Laura Edmonston, Suzie Johnston, Pat Stewart, Arthur McEnany, Marilyn Kitchell, Berlene Morgan
Not pictured: Kate Lemon
It is a great pleasure to announce this year's winners of the LRL Legislative Staff Achievement Award—all of the library staff members of the Louisiana legislature: The David R. Poynter Legislative Research Library and the Senate Law Library.
We chose to honor and recognize all of the staff members, rather than an individual, for their special efforts and successes following the disasters of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita last fall. Their team work included researching legislation from other states such as disaster recovery contracts, small business assistance, housing assistance, emergency elections, debris removal, loan programs and federal funds relief. They helped with research for the Law Library of Louisiana, located in the historic French Quarter of New Orleans, while its staff was evacuated and services suspended.
After regular library work schedules they also assisted with a special, temporary Legislative Resource Center that was open 14 hours a day fielding calls from survivors who needed help and information and from others offering resources and assistance. They again worked long hours through two special sessions in November and February and their regular session which ended June 19, 2006.
All this in addition to opening their homes to friends and family members evacuated from the disaster areas. Please join me in extending our congratulations and esteem to our dedicated—and tired—colleagues. Tracey Kimball, Legislative Council Service, LRL Chair, 2005-06
David Harrell, Oregon
David has been the chair of NCSL’s Legislative Research Librarian’s Staff Section for the past year. He was a very unifying chair, inclusive and welcoming to all. His quarterly newsletter columns were personal, yet universal to all the librarians who face many of the same challenges. He has faithfully served the research needs of the Oregon Legislature for over fourteen years, and kept them up to date with a daily news service. He has contributed research to many legislative publications and has written a few Background Briefs himself. And, as is the case in many small legislative bodies, he has frequently worn several hats - including Senate Sergeant-at-Arms. He will be retiring from the Oregon Legislative Library upon the Legislature’s adjournment this summer. Congratulations, David!
Nan Bowers, Nevada
In Nevada's Legislative Counsel Bureau works a librarian worthy of the Legislative Staff Achievement Award: Nan Bowers. During her leadership tenure as LRL Chair, she was a vocal advocate for LRL and insured the staff section was heard in NCSL. In her home place, Nevada's Legislative Research Library, Nan has worked on the library web pages for the Legislative Counsel Bureau and also consolidated and converted all serial records in the library to a database in the late 1990's. Without much commotion in her quiet dignified manner Nan has that rare ability to recognize the needs of the end user of legislative resources and move toward making practical accommodation whether within NCSL or Nevada, which is why LRL is truly pleased to grant her the Legislative Staff Achievement Award.
Marian Rogers, Wisconsin
Marian Rogers has served the Legislative Reference Bureau for nearly three decades, currently serving as Managing Librarian of the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau’s Theobald Legislative Library. Her meticulous and consistent application of library standards and practices has been essential in maintaining the continuity of the library’s organization and workflow. Caring, compassion, and respect are the qualities that guide her management style. Marian’s dedication to the Library was most clearly evident during the preparation for our recent move to a new location. Her diligent attention to detail in every aspect of the design and construction of the new library underscored her knowledge and concern for every aspect of the Library’s operations. In addition to her day-to-day responsibilities as manager, she is an NCSL contact, editor to Index to the Bulletin of Proceedings of the Wisconsin Legislature, and cataloger. With all that Marian does, LRL is delighted to grant her the NCSL Legislative Staff Achievement Award.
Irene Stone, California
Irene Stone's career in public policy information service began with the California State Library in 1968. She was responsible for the introduction of online database search services to the California executive and legislative branches. In 1985 she accepted the opportunity for the State Library to take over the responsibilities of the Assembly Office of Research Library. Irene retired in 1990 after 22 years of exemplary service, but returned to the California Research Bureau in 1996 as a 'retired annuitant.' Again she was innovative. She developed "Studies in the News," a weekly current awareness tool for elected officials. It provides access to research reports that are hot news on television talk shows and in newspaper stories
Irene was instrumental in the creation of the NCSL Legislative Research Librarians Staff Section. She served as chair in 1973-74, just the beginning of her contributions. Irene has been masterful at welcoming new members of the LRL staff section and making them feel instantly a part of the team. In her role as staff section archivist she has documented our history. It is safe to say that more legislative librarians have met Irene over the years than any other one person.
With severe budget cuts looming, Irene retired once more from public service, in June, 2003. One of Irene's coworkers wrote, "Her standard of excellence is still the measure in providing services to the governor's office and the legislature." With this award, her service to NCSL and the LRL staff section is equally appreciated. Congratulations, Irene!
Deborah S. Priest, New York
The Legislative Research Librarians’ Staff Section recognizes Deborah Priest, director of the New York Assembly Information Center. Deb was instrumental in creating and organizing the Notable Documents Award presented by the LRL staff section each year to states that publish outstanding documents through print or other media. She helped develop the criteria used in judging these documents and helped arrange the publicity for the winners through State Legislatures magazine and State Government News. She still serves as chair of the Notable Documents Award Committee for LRL. She has made substantial contributions to the well-being of the staff section.
In her own library, Deb led the effort to introduce information technology through the development of proposals and selection of a vendor that specializes in archival document storage. This has provided access to older documents while freeing up valuable space for newer materials. She also sponsors training sessions for new staff to introduce them to the workings of the New York State Assembly. Deb is active with local professional librarians’ groups, encourages her staff to participate, and has fostered the professional development of her staff.
Dr. H. Rupert Theobald Legislative Library, Wisconsin
The Legislative Research Librarians Staff Section recognizes the Dr. H. Rupert Theobald Legislative Library for its contributions and services to the Wisconsin Legislature, the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau and the legislative librarians’ profession. The library houses a large collection of legislative research materials and a clipping collection dating back to the early 1900s. The library has an Internet presence through its catalog and monthly publications.
The library staff has been supportive of NCSL since its formation by attending conferences and seminars, serving as regional coordinator for the LRL Staff Section and making presentations at LRL events. This year also marks the 101th anniversary of the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. It served as a model not only for other state legislative research libraries, but for the Congressional Research Service as well.
Elizabeth Furbush, Montana
The Legislative Librarians' Staff Section recognizes Elizabeth Furbush, librarian for the Montana Legislative Reference Center, in recognition of her contributions to the profession, the staff section, NCSL and the Montana Legislature. LRL acknowledges her numerous years of service in providing information and reference assistance, research, publications and general aid to Montana legislators and legislative staff.
Beth has been especially supportive of the LRL Staff Section through participation on committees and acting as current secretary. Her efforts as an LRL officer were exemplary, and her involvement in conference calls and producing excellent minutes all through the year is greatly admired. Beth has exhibited an active commitment to increasing resources for and expanding services to the state's legislators, legislative services division staff, and the researching public. She automated the basic library collection, adding periodicals, newspapers and memo indexes. Her dedication to her profession has extended to involvement with the Legislative Librarians Research Section of NCSL. She also has been a member of the Core Collection Committee, the Librarians Helping Librarians Committee, the Notable Documents Award Committee and the LEGISNET Indexing Committee, providing article citations to NCSL for entry in its initial database.
David R. Poynter Legislative Research Library
House of Representatives
The Legislative Research Librarians Staff Section recognizes the David R. Poynter Legislative Research Library for excellence in service to the Louisiana House of Representatives and to the legislative librarians’ profession. The David R. Poynter Legislative Research Library is an outstanding legislative library in terms of the services provided to the Louisiana Legislature, collection of materials, innovative use of technology, and dedicated staff. The director and staff of the David R. Poynter Legislative Research Library have provided support to the LRL Staff Section by attending the conferences and workshops, hosting the Professional Development Seminar for 2000, and making informative presentations to the LRL Staff Section.
Director Suzy Hughes was instrumental in the formation of the Legislative Research Librarians Staff Section in 1972. She secured a National Conference of State Legislatures/National Science Foundation State Science Engineering Technology legislative grant, through which the creation of the Louisiana Government Information Network was facilitated. The library is a leader among legislative libraries in preparing a periodical checklist that provides selective magazine articles of research value to legislative staff and to libraries. These checklists now are incorporated into a Web-based catalog system that is available to all legislative staff online as well as to members when they are in session. The library also has developed a weekly Internet service for members and staff to access current information, including hyperlink connections to research-orientated Web sites, online news articles and Web-based documents in full text.
Jonetta Douglas, Iowa
Hawaii Legislative Reference Bureau, Frances Enos
Lynda C. Davis, Maryland
Marilyn Johnson, North Dakota
Marilyn Cathcart, Minnesota
Clare Cholik, South Dakota
Debbie Tavenner, Ohio
The award for an individual is presented with deep appreciation to Debbie Tavenner, Library Administrator, of the Ohio Legislative Service Commission. Debbie Tavenner's service to the Legislative Research Librarians' Staff Section is both long and meaningful. Debbie served as Chair of the Staff Section for 1994-1995, when she performed her duties with utmost care and devotion, including writing and compiling the LRL Automation Survey. During her term as an LRL officer, Debbie served on the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee and faithfully attended all of the committee's meetings. She represented the staff section well and brought the interests of legislative librarians to the forefront. She continues to attend staff section seminars and NCSL annual meetings in order to learn ways to do her job better and to network with other legislative librarians. Currently, Debbie is taking an active role in preparing the staff section newsletter by gathering information from the Regional Coordinators and compiling it for every issue. She has a strong commitment to the staff section and vigorously promotes legislative librarians and the important role they play in the legislative process.
Sally Reynolds, Texas
The award for a legislative library is presented to the Texas Legislative Reference Library. For many years, the Director and staff of the Texas Legislative Reference Library have provided support to the LRL staff section by attending the conferences and workshops, hosting the professional development seminar, and making informative presentations to the LRL staff section and other NCSL staff sections. Library staff members are active in staff section activities, and currently serve on the NCSL Executive Committee, the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee, and as Chair of the LRL staff section. This service requires a commitment of time and resources. The Texas Legislative Library collected and organized the information for the Legislative Intent Research Guide. This LRL staff section project was successful principally because the staff of the Texas Legislative Library was committed to its success. The Texas Legislative Reference Library is an outstanding legislative library in terms of the services provided to the Texas Legislature, collection of materials, innovative use of technology, and dedicated staff. The Library is a leader among legislative libraries in implementing optical technology for legislative bill files and newspaper clipping files. Through its new home page on the World Wide Web, the Library continues to extend access to its collections, introduces new patrons to library resources, and expands services provided to the Texas Legislature.