Legislative Research Librarians


Fall 1997

Chair's Column
Professional Development Seminar
Annual Meeting
Legislative Staff Management Institute
Coordinators' Corner
NCSL Publications
Staff Section Regional Coordinators

Return to LRL Homepage

Chair's Column
by Jonetta Douglas, Iowa
LRL Chairperson

Fall is upon us and I hope everyone had a great summer. I would first like to say how honored I am to be chairing this staff section for 1997-98. Having now had some opportunity to see some of the other staff sections in action, I realize that we stack up very well, not only with the participation we have within the staff section, but also with our activity throughout NCSL.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sally Reynolds (TX) for her representation of the staff section on the Executive Committee and to congratulate Clare Cholik (SD) on her appointment to the Executive Committee.

In this issue of Newsline, you will find information on the Professional Development Seminar in Santa Fe and several articles that report on LRL activities at Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. Read about our tour of the Jenkins Law Library, our tour of the renovated Trenton, New Jersey capitol complex and presentations in Trenton on their legislative library and information technology, the state library and the Attorney General's library, as well as our visit to Princeton University.

Thank you for your fine responses to the question, "What would you like to see in Newsline?" Many items on that wish list can materialize with the new LRL listserv. Just tell Rita you want to sign on and provide your e-mail address. The listserv is a way to have an online discussion group and share Web information, i.e., useful sites, descriptions of what's there. The LRL listserv can also provide information on new publications, useful journal articles and book reviews. As a discussion group, the listserv can work to solve problems, with questions posed and answers and suggestions provided by respondents from across the country. We would, of course, continue the Coordinators' Corner column and welcome your questions for each issue.

Other good ideas for Newsline include articles from any LRL member on lessons learned in their legislative library: book reviews; a "What's New" column; tips on organization, computers, information sources, staffing, budgeting, marketing, and "how to succeed" guides. One state legislative library each quarter could submit a short, descriptive report on their library-programs, staff, collections, troubleshooting, project development-whatever the reporting library wishes to contribute. Send your articles to Rita today.

We encourage you to submit your ideas for LRL's homepage logo. Rona Mertink and Courtney Gardner (TX) and Randi Madisen (MN) will be working to update the homepage. Thanks to Rona and Courtney for their updates and making the LRL directory a part of the page.

Finally, some of you may not yet know that Earl Greybeal, State Services Organization Library, has retired. We want to thank him for his participation in the staff section and wish him our best.


Professional Development Seminar
October 16-18
Santa Fe, New Mexico

We look forward to a good turnout for the Professional Development Seminar. We'll begin early Thursday morning, October 16, with registration and a continental breakfast at the capitol and board a bus at 8:30 a.m. to visit a Native American Pueblo library and museum and cultural center. Thursday afternoon, we'll hear from Terry Boulanger, New Mexico Technet, and New Mexico legislative staff about a centralized computer network that includes the legislature and state government and provides a one-stop source for public records and information. Thursday evening, an LRL reception.

Friday morning, we'll have a leisurely continental breakfast at the capitol and then hear about current events in the legislature, including a presentation on Indian gaming law in New Mexico today. Followed by a tour of the capitol. Then in the afternoon, librarians from the New Mexico State Library, the library at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Library of Congress will discuss their strategies for evaluating library resources, services and responsibilities. Followed by a roundtable discussion. Friday evening, an LRL dinner.

Saturday morning, we'll enjoy a continental breakfast at the Hotel Santa Fe and the LRL business meeting. Saturday afternoon will be a visit to Chimayo, a major center of Spanish weaving in New Mexico. Thanks to Tracey Kimball, New Mexico's Legislative Librarian, for all of her ideas and support.


Annual Meeting
August 6-10
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tour of the Jenkins Law Library
August 7

by Nancy Quesada, Texas

On Thursday, legislative librarians toured the Jenkins Memorial Law Library, the oldest law library in the United States. It was founded in 1802 by a consortium of lawyers to purchase law books for their law practices. Today, the Jenkins Library is funded by court filing fees and membership dues. Members are primarily attorneys in the Philadelphia area, (approximately nine thousand members) and they pay $50 in annual dues. It is open to the public, but there is a $5 per day fee. The purpose of the library is to "serve the research needs of its members in the best manner possible."

Today the library occupies 35,000 square feet, with some 320,000 volumes, plus an extensive microfiche collection, and a collection of rare law books. The collection includes federal materials, statutes, session laws, administrative codes, and court case reporters for all fifty states, and all law reviews from all U.S. law schools. In addition, the library is a depository for Pennsylvania court records and briefs, indexed in-house. In 1996, 500 new monographs were added to the collection and 300 new serial titles. The book budget is approximately one million dollars per year.

The library conducts legal research classes using the Internet, also law databases such as Westlaw and Lexis, and CD-ROMs. One aspect of the Internet classes is to teach members how to evaluate Internet resources and sites. The classes on legal research and the Internet are very popular. Primary clients include sole practitioners or those in small law firms.

The Jenkins Library staff numbers 35, with 10 full-time librarians, and two part-time librarians. All librarians have an MLS degree. The staff is organized into two main teams, reference and collection maintenance (traditionally called technical services). However, the librarians share reference desk duties and tend to work closely with one another regardless of their assigned team. The traditional barrier between reference staff and technical staff is not observed, and there is extensive cross-training between the two teams.

The library has an impressive homepage on the Internet, at the following site: http://www.jenkinslaw.org. It lists general information about the library, its resources and services, details of the document delivery services (which are fee-based), the classes on legal research and the Internet, library catalog, the CD-ROM network (over 100 titles), reference questions and answers, and new acquisitions. The site is maintained by the librarians, and each librarian is assigned a particular section of the website to update each month.

The legislative librarians and law librarians discovered that we share common problems, such as members who abandon the search when the first subject term they use is not successful ("Oh, there isn't any information on this subject"). Members can access so much information from their computers in their offices that visits to the library are not as necessary as before. However, requests for document deliveries have increased (even though fees are charged), and the library needs an optical scanner and two fax machines to fill these requests. Requests for documents and services are sent by e-mail, telephone and fax. The legislative librarians were impressed by the professionalism of their law librarian colleagues and gratified to learn that there is always a need for excellent library services regardless of the format of the information.

Legislative Staff Luncheon
August 7

by Susan Gilley, Oklahoma

The speaker, Tom Blankley, is the editor-at-large of George Magazine and former press secretary to Newt Gingrich. He was not exactly unbiased in his political assessments; neither was he a captivating speaker. Consequently, I got acquainted with those non-librarians at my table who, by contrast, were fascinating.

The musical entertainment, scheduled to perform for both the staff luncheon and the legislators' luncheon never arrived, apparently held hostage by the members, although no ransom message was ever received.

By far the best part of the luncheon for me was the recognition of the recipients of the Legislative Staff Achievement Awards, created in 1996 to recognize outstanding staff contributions to the work of state legislatures. Each of the nine staff sections associated with NCSL, as well as the Assembly on State Issues, may give up to two awards annually to individual staff members, offices or products. This is the first year for such awards.

The LRL staff section awarded both an individual and an office award: Debbie Tavenner, Library Administrator, Legislative Service Commission, Ohio General Assembly, was the individual and the Texas Legislative Reference Library was the office. The commitment of time, energy, and resources of both recipients has strengthened and enriched the LRL staff section, and their work on NCSL committees has been a source of pride to the staff section. They have set the standard for future recipients, continuing LRL's excellence.

(The food was okay, but not great, as was the service. The opinions expressed are the author's and not necessarily those of the staff section or NCSL.)

Capitol Complex and Legislative Library
August 8
Trenton, New Jersey

by Jonetta Douglas, Iowa

On Friday morning, LRL toured the New Jersey State House and Capitol Annex. Philip Hayden, Tour Program Coordinator, provided a wonderfully informative and entertaining view of the still-in-progress $100 million plus renovation project. Although information was scanty on the original look of the structure, a tremendous effort was made to recapture the appearance of the period. The work is beautiful. The New Jersey State House is the second oldest state capitol in continual use, just behind Annapolis, Maryland.

Also on Friday morning, Peter Mazzei, Legislative Information Technology Coordinator, conducted a technology workshop and explained the local area network (LAN) and the databases accessed by the New Jersey Office of Legislative Services. He discussed online services and the structure of their homepage. He explained the various uses for the LAN, i.e. Internet, Intranet and the West-CD ROM services. Peter also demonstrated scanning technology used to input legislative clippings onto the LAN, using Adobe Acrobat software.

In the afternoon, we heard from Janet Tuerff, New Jersey State Library, about service to all three branches of state government. The State Library would like to put several items online but, like the Legislative Library, they are concerned about copyright infringement. Having branched out and now in charge of several state agency libraries, their diverse clientele also includes Thomas Edison University, the general public, as well as state government business.

Jean Hunter, Attorney General's Library, indicated that their library functions like a private library, not available to the general public. They serve about 800 patrons, which includes legal representation for all state agencies. Staff can access Westlaw and automatically compile a legislative history for all enacted bills.

Princeton University
August 8
Princeton, New Jersey

by Anne Rottmann, Missouri

The Harvey Firestone Library is one of 16 libraries on Princeton's campus and houses the Social Science and Humanities collections. Mary George, Sally Burkman and Rosemary Little were our hosts. Sally discussed the U.S. Government collection, explaining that Firestone is a selective depository and chooses about 51 percent of available GPO documents. Rosemary, the Public Administration, Politics and Law librarian, indicated that the library has an extensive local government collection, with a spotty law collection that is strong on constitutional, environmental and labor law. Princeton does not have a law school, so collection development in the area of law depends on current emphasis in classes. They access and provide training on Lexis.

LRL Business Meeting
August 9

by Anne Rottmann

Nancy Quesada, chair, presided over the business meeting. Nominating committee chair, Susan Gilley (OK), reported that the committee had selected Jonetta Douglas (IA), chair; Anne Rottmann (MO), chair-elect; and Susan Southworth (CT), secretary. The slate was unanimously adopted.

Clare Cholik (SD) reported on Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee (LSCC) meetings. The Information Policy Task Force has adopted guidelines for appropriate use of the Internet. The Professional Development Task Force reported on the recent Legislative Staff Management Institute (LSMI). Attendance increased, and attendees gave high marks to the institute. The task force will pursue a written agreement/understanding with the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute. A Strategic Planning Task Force goal is to increase attendance at Assembly on State Issues (ASI) with more meeting advertising, by stressing that nonmembers can also attend and by asking states to fill vacancies as quickly as possible. Attendance was up at the spring and winter meetings.

Sally Reynolds (TX) presented the Executive Committee report. NCSL's new president is Senator Richard Finan (OH). A new Center for Governmental Ethics is being created as a separate entity from but will work directly with NCSL, seeking a 501 3C status.

Santa Fe, October 16-18, is the site of the 1997 Professional Development Seminar. Jonetta reported that the brochures are in the mail. A shuttle is available from the Albuquerque airport to Santa Fe at a cost of about $20. Jonetta urged everyone to attend.

Marilyn Guttromson (ND) reported on the LRL Notable Documents Award. The winners will be featured in an article in both State Legislatures and State Government News. Marilyn thanked Deb Priest (NY) for developing the committee's evaluation form. Fifteen documents were submitted.

The winners of the Legislative Staff Achievement Award were recognized. Debbie Tavenner (OH) and Sally Reynolds for the Texas Legislative Reference Library expressed their thanks. Nancy gave certificates of recognition to Sally, Marilyn Guttromson and Marilyn Cathcart (MN).

The LRL homepage will be updated and maintained by members of LRL. Some suggestions for inclusion were bylaws, past officers and award winners. LRL is still looking for logo ideas. Nancy appointed a homepage committee of Rona Mertink (TX), Randi Madisen (MN), Rita Thaemert (NCSL) and LRL officers to oversee the homepage.

There has been a lot of interest in forming an LRL listserv; moved and seconded that we promote it. NCSL Online Services will establish the listserv and all interested subscribers should contact Rita.

Certificates of appreciation were given to Barbara Laughon (OH), Videau Simmons (SC) and Earl Greybeal, State Services Library (DC) on the occasion of their retirements.

Rona Mertink (TX) presented a tentative calendar for updating the Legislative Intent Research Guide. The one page update will include information on who completed the original survey for each state and that only one entry will be accepted from each state. The calendar: Oct 1 - revised, Nov 1 - survey updates in the mail, Feb 1 - return date for survey, Apr - updates to NCSL, May - publish. Debbie Tavenner (OH) volunteered to help Rona with the survey.

Concern was expressed about the LEGISNET database and its priority in the scheme of NCSLnet. Clare Cholik (SD) will chair a committee to draft a letter to NCSL asking about the future of LEGISNET and communicating our concerns about its upkeep. The draft will be presented at the Professional Development Seminar for approval and/or suggestions.

With no further business, the meeting adjourned.


Legislative Staff Management Institute
by Clare Cholik, South Dakota

This summer I had the unique opportunity to attend the Legislative Staff Management Institute (LSMI). The Institute, an NCSL training program, takes place for two weeks each summer at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Its participants are senior level legislative professionals who have a commitment to the legislative process and want to enhance their skills in management, leadership, policy analysis and a host of other areas.

Although I was eager to attend the LSMI, I must admit that, upon my arrival on campus the first day, I wondered if my decision to attend was the right one. It was pouring rain outside and my little room in the dormitory closely resembled a prison cell. My first thought was that the two weeks ahead would likely be the longest of my existence. Contrary to my initial reactions, however, the time passed quickly and the experience was more fulfilling than I could ever have imagined on that first day.

As LSMI participants, we studied and practiced the art of negotiation. We discussed leadership and what it means. We engaged in strategic planning exercises. We talked about our careers and our values and the highs and lows we have experienced in our lives. We focused on the legislature as an institution. During brainstorming sessions, we helped each other search for solutions to some of the problems we face in our respective places of work. Throughout the entire program, the instructors were engaging and stimulating. Their enthusiasm for the matters at hand was contagious.

While virtually all the components of the program are worthwhile and memorable, what I found most remarkable about LSMI was that it was so much more than the sum of all its parts. For me, the opportunity to step back from my daily tasks and reflect on the "big picture" was highly valuable. If I had not attended LSMI, I may never have taken the time to do it. In addition, the informal interactions that participants had with each other were wonderful learning experiences all by themselves. Whether we were simply dining in the dormitory or sitting at a baseball game, we were sharing experiences, offering advice and learning from each other in ways that would not have been possible inside the classroom.

The relaxed atmosphere of the LSMI also adds to its success. We dressed casually, sat in a circle most of the time, and were unencumbered by the formalities that are so often present in the legislative setting. We felt comfortable in each other's presence. For a few days, we left our responsibilities behind us.

I think it is very easy for legislative employees to get so caught up in their work, especially during hectic legislative sessions, that they lose sight of who they are as individuals or where they are going. The LSMI provides participants with the opportunity to restore that sight. If any of you have the chance to attend the Institute in future years, I hope you will take advantage of it.


Coordinators' Corner

Much of the news in Newsline is gathered by a dedicated team of coordinators who call and fax to libraries and librarians in their regions to get the latest news and ask preassigned questions of interest to us all. Thanks to Debbie Tavenner for graciously agreeing to continue compiling the responses.
The queries for this issue are:

  1. What lessons have you learned in your legislative library experience?
  2. LRL homepage logo ideas?
  3. Summer news?


Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau

Wisconsin: Staff of the Legislative Reference Bureau Library
We learned that (1) the process of lawmaking is not as cut-and-dried as we learned in political science classes, and (2) the important role legislative support agencies play and how much their staff are needed to draft, introduce and disseminate legislative proposals.

A homepage logo suggestion is an oval showing the silhouette of a capitol dome, with an open book superimposed over it and "LRL" written on the open pages. Around the edge of the graphic, use the staff section name.

Connecticut Legislative Library

Deb Priest, Assembly Information Center, New York
1. All projects, initiatives, ideas will take 2 to 3.5 times longer to implement than you think. Top decision makers will decide about these proposals based on political considerations, not the logic or beauty of your proposal. Link these to a specific political initiative and it will go like greased lightening-at least on the decision-making end. It will still take at least two times as long to implement as you think, as their attention turns away, and you try to implement with hobbled staffing and multiple priorities. 2. Something universal/celestial to suggest the vast realm of information and need for professional navigators! 3. Bob Matthews has left legislative service to enter academe, working now at reference at Hudson Valley Community College, where he will also teach.

Michael Chernick, Legislative Council Library Vermont
1. Having already been a librarian at a private law firm, in my prelaw school days, I can't think of a specific lesson that I learned in my library capacity. Most of my learning growth has occurred in my legal role. 2. A logo might have a book or computer, or combination thereof, superimposed on top of a state capital dome. 3. News. Because of the passage of Act 60, Property Tax/School Financing Reform, which establishes a state wide education property tax, tax sharing among municipalities and expands the authority of the State Board of Education, the Legislature has been a busy place even during the interim. Suits have been filed to block the act's implementation that a special legislative study committee is overseeing.

A special interim House Committee is also examining the issue of electric industry restructuring. The Senate adopted S.62 which the House sought to more closely examine prior to proposing its own version of electric utility reform legislation. The House is particularly concerned with issues pertaining to consumer protection and stranded costs associated with the Vermont power industry's contracts with Hydro-Quebec that were signed in the early 90s.

As for the Legislative Council's own operations, we have laid the foundation for upgrading to Windows 95, from Windows 3.1, and to GroupWise 5, next summer. We also have improved our Internet connection by enabling each staff member to link his or her work station directly instead of proceeding through a shared transmission facility. The Legislature will also be adding the capacity to videotape and transmit hearings starting in January 1998.

Finally on an archival note, the Legislative Council has initiated a project to rebind the older volumes of the Vermont Reports whose covers were in dire need of replacement.

Susan Southworth, Legislative Library, Connecticut
1. (a) "No man's life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session." (1 Tucker 247,249) (NY Surrogate's Court, 1866) (b) Never throw anything away because "the more things change, the more they stay the same." Since topics repeat themselves from year to year, and sometimes decade to decade, otherwise outdated items become useful again. (My tendency to save is in conflict with our space constraints.) Happily my colleagues, Barbara and Jennifer, are less reticent than I to weed, allowing us a little breathing room for new purchases!

3. The Connecticut legislature is experiencing a somewhat overwhelming computer upgrade. We are moving from VT terminals on a VAX system to a PC network. This began in late summer and is expected to be completed in November. Each staff person is to have a PC and each legislator is to have a laptop, allowing individual access to the internet (previously there were only a handful of terminals in the entire building with this capacity), an intranet including email, as well as the MS Office suite...and training!! Our new email addresses are firstname.lastname@po.state.ct.us. Although there have been a few glitches, it is remarkable how smooth the process is going given the size and complexity of the rollover.

With all these changes, look for a home page from our Office of Legislative Research. (Preliminary versions have had hyper-links to the full text of OLR's Reports.)

Lynn Randall, Law and Legislative Reference Library, Maine
1. I guess the lesson I have learned over and over is PERSEVERE. I know that I have at times been daunted by questions for which I don't seem to be able to find anything at all. This situation is discouraging and frustrating all at once. However, by persevering I have always been able to find something. There is usually a source or a search strategy or a contact that was not apparent to me at first. I have also learned to persevere in situations in which there seems to be too much information. Sometimes the only way to find an answer is to review a great deal of material. It always is so satisfying when you finally reach the end and have the answer. Then you be sure to write it down for the next time-but that's another lesson....

2. The design question is difficult for me because we don't have a logo for our own homepage-we're just using the state coat of arms. I like the symbolism of an open book, but we also need other media. Perhaps lay a CD over the open book. Would be nice to incorporate a capitol dome, above the book. Then place arrows going outward in all directions from the book.

3. The Maine State Law and Legislative Reference Library has been planning for circulation automation. Records for the collection are already in an online catalog, and we will begin inputting patron records shortly. We also participated in planning for systems furniture in one library office. Installation will follow painting and laying of new carpet.

Coordinator JOYCE GRIMES
South Carolina Legislative Council

I recall from the Denver Professional Development Seminar a quote I have come to repeat many, many times: "Don't let their problem become your problem!" Also, another one that I remember quite often is: "lack of planning on your part doesn't constitute an emergency on my part!" Somehow paraphrasing these thoughts along the way as I meet the requests, helpsme keep a sense of humor and show that great stress reducer-a smile!

Some thoughts on C-R-E-A-T-I-V-I-T-Y: Being a sole practitioner, I've learned to be creative with staffing. USC College of Library and Info Science located just a few blocks from the office along with the USC Law School provides a great pool for interested, capable, and mature employees. The library has two 15-hour per week employees, an MLIS graduate assistant and a law clerk. We have an undergraduate student who has an interest in computers and helps out with CD-ROM updates. The responsibilities for receipt and catalog of our collection, a really time consuming task, are handled by our law clerk.

Housing a collection is a true challenge. Right now, we're severely hampered because of our temporary location. (Historic collection is shelved in a former freezer locker. We're spread out over three rooms and a warehouse that is located several miles from our temporary location.) The trend right now is "everything's on computer so we don't need the hard copy!" The irony of this computer age is that it's costly to convert the print to electronic format. So, we end up doing a lot of print research!

Unfortunately, so much time is spent daily justifying the library's existence. M-A-R-K-E-T-I-N-G: The lack thereof. I'd like to see us as a group develop a marketing guide for our specialized legislative libraries. It's hard to think of creative marketing strategy when you're dealing with the daily needs. The Special Libraries Association has some pointers, but we would welcome a quick reference guide.
2. A logo to emphasize the multi-purpose library, electronic search as well as print, and personal attention.
3.We inventoried about 10,000 books housed in the warehouse. Hopefully, this will be inputted into our computer database. We're looking forward to hosting the Professional Development Seminar in Columbia in the year 2000.

Susan Zavacky, Legislative Reference Bureau, Pennsylvania
We're glad Susan is back on the job after medical leave. Because of the backlog of work, she is unable to join us in Santa Fe.

Idaho, Legislative Services Office

1.Journalists cause our worse headaches. (This is tongue-in-cheek, notice I did not say are our worst headaches!) Legislators frequently call to say they read in the newspaper that a certain state has a law that allows for x, y and z, and "can you get me a copy of that law?" Often their information is incorrect. Either the state name or type of law is wrong, i.e., it isn't a state statute but a local ordinance or case law.

Journalists ask for information that may require a lot of digging. It's very annoying when you return their call and you're told they got the information from another source and you've wasted your time doing unnecessary research (Also, why is NPR the only news organization that includes reference librarians in their credits?)

3. Philip E. Bett, Idaho's current first-term governor, whose second term was considered eminent, has announced that he will not seek reelection. Also, in the upcoming 1998 legislative session, Idaho Attorney General, Al Lance, plans to introduce a package of bills called the Attorney General's Child Protection Act. The purpose of the bills is to strengthen sex offender registration statutes, particularly community notification.

Nan Bowers, Legislative Research Library, Nevada
3. Study on shortening the legislative session and streamlining the process. After a slow starting and long-running 1997 session, the voters will be asked to limit the length of upcoming sessions to 120 days. The 1997 session ran 169 days. Staff here are looking to see how other states organize the work so all is accomplished on time. This is sure to impact all branches of government. Since we worked through the July 4th weekend this year, we are all looking forward to the proposed change. Any studies you have on the topic of length of legislative sessions would be appreciated.

David Harrell, Legislative Library, Oregon
2.How about an image of a person pulling their hair out with both hands?
3.Assisted suicide was sent back to the voters for a second vote by the recently adjourned legislature. It was passed in Nov '94 via the initiative process. We are being asked either to keep the original language or repeal it. Interim committee assignments have yet to be made and we won't meet in regular session until Jan '99.

There is a proposal by the Washington State Civil Rights Initiative to pass an initiative to end preferential treatment on the basis of race and gender in state and local public education, employment and contracting. The wording of the Washington ballot title has already survived a legal challenge from the ACLU. The Washington state proposal, Initiative 200, is modeled about Proposition 209, approvied by California voters ls year. Organizers of the Civil Rights Initiative, many of whom are activities in the Republican Party, are gathering s9ignatures now and hope to present petitions to the Washington Legislature in January. (The Seattle Times, August 4 and September 28, 1997) Full text of initiative is on the Washington Legislature's web site http://leginfo.leg.wa.gov/.

Coordinator RONA MERTINK
Texas Legislative Reference Library

Karen Stewart, Legislative Council Library, Colorado
The librarian's offices were recarpeted and repainted this summer. But more importantly, there was an article, with picture, about our legislative library in the September 7th Denver Post! We've received all kinds of good comments about it, with the general sentiment that we were long overdue for such recognition.

Tracey Kimball, Legislative Council Service Library, New Mexico
1. In my two years at New Mexico's legislative council service library, I have been impressed with the number of people outside of state government who want legislative information. The demand for voting records during an election year wasn't surprising, but I didn't expect a steady flow of calls from members of the public with specific information needs. Our office is relatively obscure, so these calls are a constant reminder that a lot of people out there are independent and persistent learners. 2. Santa Fe is looking forward to hosting this year's conference - hope you can come!

Susan Gilley, Legislative Reference Division, Oklahoma
One of the first lessons I learned in a legislative library is never to throw anything away. Every time I did, a legislator, usually member of leadership, needed that exact (dozen year old) item less than a week after it was weeded/tossed/recycled. I re-learn it constantly. Of course, its corollary is that even if you desire to and have unlimited space (right!), you cannot keep everything.

Other lessons: Keep an open mind and a low profile, remaining professionally neutral on issues. Build personal relationships and prove yourself trustworthy, as well as competent, to all "sides."

Allan Goode, legislative librarian, retired. He now fills his day with golf, grandbabies, and part-time reference work at a local university library. This is great news for Allan. Kristi Curt, legislative librarian replaces Allan. Kristi finished her MLIS degree recently at the University of South Carolina and interned at the South Carolina legislative library, working with Joyce Grimes. She is an asset to the Oklahoma legislative library and I expect she will prove to be a positive force in our LRL group. I know you all look forward to meeting her soon.

Debbie Tavenner, Legislative Service Bureau, Ohio
In this library's setting, we must always remember we are part of a legislative agency first and a library second. Some of you might be amazed at the tasks that have been assigned to the LSC library, but I find the variety challenging. I also take it as a compliment that the management of the LSC recognizes that the skills for running a library transfer to other functions of the agency. I very much enjoy working for legislators. I respect the enormous demands on their time. I have learned that when they pose a question to the library, no matter how sketchy, that whatever they are looking for exists. When I have given up too soon, I have been embarrassed later.



Notable Document Awards
LRL presented the first Notable Document Awards at Annual Meeting. The selection committee, Marilyn Guttromson (ND), Deb Priest (NY) and Beth Furbush (MT), considered 15 documents submitted by legislative librarians. Documents were evaluated on subject matter, graphics, bibliographies, presentation and balance. The award recognizes excellence in documents that explore contemporary topics of interest to legislators and staff by presenting substantive material in an outstanding format.

The winners are: An Outside Chance: Prospecting for Foreign Capital. Montana Legislative Service Division
Implementation of Head Start in Ohio. Legislative Office of Education Oversight
Restructuring the Electric Industry. Minnesota House Research Department

The selection committee created a Notable Series Award for Members Only, produced by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission.

The Minnesota Strategic and Long Range Planning agency was the Notable URL Award winner for Minnesota Planning, http://www.mnplan.state.mn.us.

Legislative Staff Achievement Awards
As mentioned in Susan Gilley's Annual Meeting luncheon article, Debbie Tavenner and the Texas Legislative Reference Library received Legislative Staff Achievement Awards.

LRL recognizes Debbie Tavenner for long and meaningful service to our staff section. Debbie served as chair for 1994-95, performing her tasks with care and devotion, including writing and compiling the LRL automation survey. As an officer, she served on the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee and attended all committee meetings. She represented the staff section well and brought the interests of legislative librarians to the forefront.

Debbie continues to attend staff section seminars and Annual Meetings to learn ways to do a better job and network with other legislative librarians. Currently she takes an active role in gathering and compiling Newsline information from regional coordinators. She is committed to the staff section and vigorously promotes legislative librarians and the important role they play in the legislative process.

LRL recognizes Sally Reynolds, Director, and the staff of the Texas Legislative Reference Library for support to the staff section by attending conferences and workshops, hosting the Professional Development Seminar and providing informative presentations to LRL and other NCSL staff sections.

Texas library staff members participate in staff section activites, have served on the Executive Committee and 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, a project that was successful because of the efforts of the Texas Legislative Library.

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 homepage on the Web, the library continues to extend access to its collections, introduce new patrons to library resources and expand services provided to the Texas Legislature.

Special Libraries Association
1997 Quality in Action Award

The Minnesota Chapter of the Special Libraries Association has presented its Quality in Action Award for 1997 to Marilyn Cathcart, director of the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library. This annual award is given in recognition of significant quality improvement initiative that strengthens services to clients, advances the organization's mission and goals, and enhances the information process.

Marilyn is recognized for her leadership of the Minnesota Legislature's Internet presence and for the establishsment of desktop electronic information resources previously available only by mail or in person. She promoted the teamwork, obtained authorization from the Legislature, and firmly positioned the library as a crucial asset the Legislature. The information service enhances the legislative the legislative process by streamlining information gathering and by providing information to the public.


NCSL Publications

Copies of all NCSL publications listed below are available from the Marketing Department at 303/364-7700, unless otherwise noted.

State Options for Expanding Children's Health Insurance
Evaluation of State Efforts to Improve the Primary Care Workforce
1996 Directory of Key Health Legislators and Legislative Staff
A Legislator's Guide to Alternative Fuel Policies and Programs
Funding Prenatal Care for Unauthorized Immigrants
Long-Term Care Task Forces in the States: A Call to Action
Patching the Safety Net: Shifting Health Care Costs and State Policies
Mason's Manual
Child Protective Services
Consumer Information Disclosure Series
Critical Issues in State-Local Fiscal Policy
Legislator's Guide to Emergency Management
1997-1998 Lead Contacts Directory

State Financing of Medical Education, Vol.5.No.31
Radioactive Waste: The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant,Vol.5, No.32
The .08 BAC Standard, Vol.5, No.33
Medical Marijuana, Vol.5, No.34
Advanced Rural Transportation Systems, Vol.5, No.35
Children's Health Insurance, Vol.5, No.36
Update on Performance Budgeting, Vol.5, No.37
School Bus Safety, Vol.5, No.38
General State Sales Taxes, Vol.5, No.39
Teacher Training, Vol.5, No.40
Workers' Compensation Costs, Vol.5, No.41
Earned Income Tax Credit, Vol.5, No.42

State Legislative Reports
The Model Energy Code for Residential Buildings, Vol.22, No.4
Market and Financial Incentives to Improve Home Energy Efficiency, Vol.22, No.5
Legislative Staff Salaries and Personnel Policies: 1996-1997, Vol.22, No.6
Fuel Excise Tax Structure and Alternative Fuels, Vol.22, No.7

The deadline for the Winter edition of Newsline is December 31, 1997. Send news about your library or significant legislative events in your state to your regional coordinator or Rita Thaemert at NCSL.

Thanks to the many staff section members who submitted columns and information for this issue. Newsline is published four times a year by the Legislative Research Librarians Staff Section of NCSL and is edited and formatted by Rita Thaemert.


Legislative Research Librarians Staff Section

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New Hampshire
New York
Rhode Island

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North Dakota
South Dakota

ph: (512) 463-1252
Fax: (512) 475-4626
New Mexico

ph: (208) 334-4822
fax: (208) 334-2125

ph: (904) 488-2812
fax: (904) 488-9879

ph: (608) 266-2824
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fax: (803) 734-2425
New Jersey
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