Newsline is the newsletter of the Legislative Research Librarians Professional Staff Association.
By Teresa Wilt (Nevada), LRL Chair 2019-2020
I wanted to write an article full of deep thoughts to inspire you all, but I have found lately I have neither the time nor the patience to read anything (other than fiction) that isn’t a bullet-point list. Therefore, some observations:
Keep an eye out for an upcoming LRL National Conference Call!
Connect with your fellow librarians in the legislatures, ask each other questions share ideas and innovations in an uncertain time. In a week or two LRL Liaison, Megan McClure, will be sending an email to the full membership with more information and an RSVP request.
Award and Officer Nomination Deadlines:
Legislative Staff Achievement Award nominations are due by Friday, April 24.
Notable Document Award Nominations are due by Thursday, April 30.
Nominations to become an officer of the LRL Executive Committee are due by Monday, April 27: Email firstname.lastname@example.org to express your interest in becoming the newest member of the LRL Executive Committee.
Staff Week: May 4-8
Celebrate the dedication and hard work of legislative staff with a webinar, podcast, blogs and other activities and resources created specifically for legislative staff.
2020 NCSL Legislative Summit
The annual NCSL Legislative Summit will be held Aug. 10-13, 2020, in Indianapolis. Keep an eye out for additional programming details for legislative librarians and legislative staff in general.
Staff Hub ATL 2020
The Staff Hub ATL 2020 joint professional development seminar will be held Oct. 7-9 in Atlanta, Ga Join colleagues from RELACS, NALFO, LINCS, NLPES, LSS and, of course, LRL.
LRL has a full slate of plans in the mix for the 2020 NCSL Legislative Summit this Aug. 10-13 in Indianapolis, Ind. Professional development designed by and for legislative staff cover a wide array of topics, including how to use and communicate evidence to inform policymaking, preserving institutional knowledge, the Americans with Disabilities Act’s impact on legislatures, marketing the legislature and comprehensive communication training. There will be ample time for networking with not only other legislative librarians and researchers, but also staff in a variety of other roles from across the nation and world. LRL will be planning a Dutch treat lunch and dinner for members and two to three tours of local libraries and museums.
Prospective Library/Archive Tours:
LRL chair Teresa Wilt, along with representatives from five other staff associations, are busy planning the Staff Hub ATL 2020 meeting taking place in Atlanta this coming Oct. 7-9.
This is a unique gathering of legislative staff. During this meeting, six of NCSL’s professional staff associations will gather, creating a dynamic atmosphere for learning, collaborating and networking. Over the course of three days, you will sharpen your skills and explore a wide variety of topics, including research, evaluation, fiscal analysis, communications, bill drafting, editing, leadership and soft skill development. This professional development seminar is designed specifically FOR legislative staff BY legislative staff.
Participating Staff Associations:
This meeting is meant to foster cross-pollination and shared learning between professional staff associations, increase overall attendance at a staff-focused meeting, learn about different staff functions and staff roles in the legislature, and increase synergy among the participating associations.
Every year, hundreds of documents are produced through the work of state legislatures or to help support the work of state legislatures.
NCSL and the Legislative Research Librarians (LRL) professional association are looking for documents that go above and beyond and stand out from the pack
Each year, LRL sponsors the competition for outstanding state and legislative documents. Deadline for submissions is April 30.
Any state or legislative document published in the last two years is eligible. Submissions are generally made through each state’s legislative librarian, but any legislative staffer may submit documents.
The Notable Documents Awards:
Do you know a legislative staffer who goes above and beyond? Who does the field of legislative librarianship proud?
The annual Legislative Staff Achievement Award was created by the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee to recognize excellence in supporting the work of a state legislature and strengthening the legislative institution. Each of NCSL’s staff associations may name up to two recipients–individuals, teams or legislative offices–for recognition each year. Recipients of the awards are presented with a plaque and are recognized by the NCSL staff chair during the legislative staff luncheon at the NCSL Legislative Summit.
This year’s committee consists of chair Catherine Wusterhausen of Texas, Lindsay Pealer from California and Anthony Aycock of North Carolina.
All members of LRL and legislative libraries are eligible for this award. Nominations may be submitted by the nominee, a supervisor or by other members of the staff association. Click here for more information, the nomination form and award criteria.
The Legislative Research Librarians (LRL) professional staff association is seeking nominations for candidates to run for secretary. The deadline for declaring your candidacy is Monday, April 27, 2020. This year’s nominating committee is chaired by LRL Immediate Past Chair Betsy Haugen of Minnesota, along with LRL Vice Chair Eric Glover of Idaho and Travis Moore of Nebraska.
Under LRL Bylaws, the role of the secretary is as follows: “The secretary shall serve a one-year term and shall record minutes of all staff association meetings and perform additional duties as may be assigned by the chair. The secretary shall preside at LRL executive committee and staff section meetings in the absence of both the chair and vice chair. The secretary shall succeed the following year to the office of vice chair.”
The secretary serves for one year and then automatically moves up for one-year terms as vice chair, chair and immediate past chair. As vice chair and chair, you will serve on the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee, which meets four times a year in various fabulous locations. Attending these meetings is not mandatory, but it is valuable to LRL and you as it provides the opportunity to meet the officers from other staff associations, learn more about other states’ legislatures, and contribute to work that benefits all legislative staff.
For more information or to submit names of nominees, please contact Betsy Haugen and LRL liaison Megan McClure.
The deadline to apply for the 2020 Legislative Staff Management Institute (LSMI), the nation’s premier management and leadership development program for legislative staff, is Monday, May 2. Learn more at www.ncsl.org/lsmi.
By Joel Rudnick
My name is Joel Rudnick, and I am brand spanking new to the world of legislative libraries. (I write this on Dec. 20, 2019, well into my second week. Does this make me a veteran neophyte?) So far, I am finding my position fulfilling and my team to be intelligent, capable, enthusiastic and kind. The strange and wonderful thing is it is each and every person here. So glad!
In the past, I have mostly served in academia, interning at Hillman Library and Finney Music Library at the University of Pittsburgh and working in a professional capacity in libraries at Goldey-Beacom College and Delaware Technical Community College. I have also served as treasurer of the Delaware Library Association’s Executive Board and have been active on their Legislative Action Committee.
I am well into the process of collecting good people. It is going quite nicely. I am proud, happy and thrilled to know and connect with a group of stellar associates, friends and loved ones. I also love music, reading, classical languages, art from a variety of cultures and periods and a handful of fun TV shows.
In my spare time, I am a superhero, though I cannot reveal my avocational name for fear of endangering the above collection of good people. My superpower is causing as little harm as possible. (I have but one weakness. Sadly, it is any sort of physical pain. Alas, this has made the superhero life difficult.)
By Travis Moore, Research Analyst with Nebraska’s Legislative Research Office
The Legislative Research Office is a nonpartisan division of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature which provides policy and legal research to 49 legislators and their staffs, as well as other legislative divisions, state agencies and others outside of state government. Our office houses a library consisting of more than 6,000 titles, newspapers and periodicals.
In 2018, a major renovation project of the Nebraska State Capitol’s HVAC system began, which required legislative offices to relocate for approximately 18 months. The Legislative Research Office, located on the first floor of the state capitol was moved to a temporary office in September 2019.
In preparation for moving our office, I was responsible for developing the plan for relocating the entire library. Upon beginning the planning process it became apparent that a lot more needed to happen than just move books.
In the summer of 2019, I began to weed through our entire collection removing outdated materials, adding new materials and updating the catalog. Our online library catalog now accurately reflects the resources available in our office.
During this process I also prioritized which portions of our collection would go with us and which pieces would go into short-term or long-term storage. I worked with the Nebraska State Law Library and the Clerk of the Legislature’s Office to ensure access to critical research resources and historical information.
Our office provides access to over 45 periodicals, journals and newspapers. Currently, these resources are primarily available in print form, and most can be routed to legislative offices on request. Whenever possible, I am transitioning the delivery of our publications to a digital format. This provides our users with faster and broader access to information. As more publications move to online only availability, our library is well-positioned to adapt to and use technology to streamline library services.
To maintain our relevancy, the Nebraska Legislative Research Office is making it a priority to proactively provide new information and promote the resources available in our library collection.
In the era of fake news and information overload, it is critical that legislators have access to resources that are factual and relevant. To assist legislators and staff, our office produces a digital publication we call our “library feature.” The feature highlights print materials available through our office and materials available online through a number of policy shops and think tanks. In the past, the library feature has focused on subjects pertaining to education policy, provided links to articles on what states are doing on tax incentive evaluations, and highlighted new materials added to our reference collection.
As the methods of accessing information and technology change, our office is working to provide timely and high-quality information to assist legislators in crafting state policy.
Winter LSCC/Executive Committee Meeting – Jan. 17, 2020
NCSL’s Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee (LSCC) serves in an advisory capacity to NCSL’s Executive Committee. LRL officers serve as members of the LSCC to represent the interests of LRL members and legislative staff before NCSL. The chair and vice chair of each of the professional staff associations of NCSL are members of the LSCC and each member of the LSCC is appointed to a workgroup and a subcommittee. Similar to legislative committees, these LSCC committees conduct the work of the LSCC and you can see the scope, goals and membership of each of the LSCC committees here.
The LSCC meets four times a year and recently held its Winter meeting in Austin, Texas, Jan. 17, 2020.
Below is an update on what was discussed.
The 2020 Super PDS Planning and Oversight Committee met in Austin and at this meeting determined a new name for the meeting, now called Staff Hub ATL 2020, with a tagline of Create I Connect I Collaborate. Be sure to bookmark this page to learn to learn more about this meeting and expect to receive updates through the LRL listserv and on the LRL webpage.
As a reminder, the LSCC Professional Staff Association Officers workgroup, of which the LRL officers are members, is reviewing the current NCSL Professional Staff Association overhead allocation formula. This formula determines the amount NCSL charges to a professional staff association to reflect the administrative costs of administering their annual professional development seminar. The LRL officers have been actively engaged in this conversation and the association will be updated should any changes be made to the formulas.
LRL Chair, Teresa Wilt, also serves on the LSCC Legislative Institution subcommittee. The subcommittee is focused on a few tasks this conference year and two of them may be of interest to LRL. The first is to explore options for staff to participate in a sponsored exchange program with the purpose being to give participating staff an opportunity to learn how their colleagues work in other legislatures operate and to further facilitate the exchange of ideas. Another task is to study staff retention issues in legislatures and then identify strategies to retain staff.
The Summer LSCC meeting was set for June 5, 2020 in Quebec City, Quebec. Because of the COVID-19 crisis this meeting has been canceled. The LSCC may meet virtually on that same day.
The Arkansas Bureau of Legislative Research library provides research only to legislators and legislative staff—thus, there is no fee to the public as there is no standard public access. The Bureau does not have a structured library or a librarian to maintain and provide those services. When receiving requests from NCSL’s lrl listserv the request goes to the appropriate party within the Bureau or it is forwarded to an outside agency for a response. The Bureau only deals with the public at the request of a legislator. If the Bureau receives a legislative history request from the public for publicly available information, we generally require a Freedom of Information Act request for the information. Please note that most information can be found on our web site electronically at http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/.
Joel Rudnick, legislative librarian
Indiana State Library
Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability
Cindy Roupe, director of reference, State Library of Kansas
Kentucky Legislative Research Commission
Thomas Frances, Poynter Library
Annette Haldeman, manager, Reference Services, (DLS) Library
Missouri Legislative Library
Missouri State Library
Nevada, Research Library, Legislative Counsel Bureau
Stephanie Heyroth Wilcox, senior assistant librarian
Ingrid Hernquist, Manager, OLS Library Services
Joanne Vandestreek, senior legislative librarian, Legislative Council Service
Julia Covington, reference librarian, North Carolina General Assembly
Ohio Legislative Service Commission Library
Christine Chen, administrative librarian, Office of Library Resources, Oklahoma Department of Libraries
Donna Wheeler, Pennsylvania Senate Library
We will only deal with the public at the request of a member. When such a request comes in, the materials are given to the member’s office for them to send to the constituent.
ANNOUNCEMENT/LRL REUNION CALL FOR ADDRESSES AND EMAILS
Debbie Tavenner, Ohio Legislative Service Commission
Last October, I spent a wonderful weekend in Denver with Marilyn Johnson of North Dakota; Tracey Kimball of New Mexico; and Susan Gilley of Oklahoma, just for the fun of it. Among the things we did was have tea with Rita Thaemert, a former LRL staff liaison. Marilyn and Susan have organized such gatherings from time to time. Sometimes bigger, sometimes smaller. We all thought it would be fun to have an LRL Reunion, so they put me in charge of organizing it since I still have contacts with the current staff. Betsy said it was OK to use Newsline to get the word out and collect addresses of former and retired staff members who might be interested.
The tentative (and plans are very tentative) idea is to organize a reunion around the Super Professional Development Meeting Oct. 5-9, 2020, in Atlanta. Hopefully, there will be an overlap where we can all get together. Please notify your former colleagues who might be interested and either provide me with contact information, or ask them to contact me directly through email or regular mail. Use email@example.com, or my address: Debbie Tavenner, 804 Neil Ave., Columbus, Ohio 43215
I am really excited about the opportunity to visit with former colleagues.
NCSL is committed to providing our members with timely responses to state research requests and the essential knowledge needed to guide state action. This page is updated daily to reflect new resources in policy areas ranging from education to health care costs and access. Check back often—resources will be updated as they become available.
NCSL Bill Information Service: For legislators and legislative staff only (this webinar is held on a monthly basis as an introduction to the NCSL Bill Information Service).