Legislative Research Librarians

Newsline Newsletter

Volume XXXV, No. 3
Summer 2010


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What’s Up in Your Library
Business Meeting Minutes
Digital Information and Copyright Issues
Tour of the University of Louisville Library
Protecting Legislative Records in the Digital Age

Chair's Column
Shelley Day
Legislative Research Library, Utah

The other day, I found a well-worn 1981 office publication that had been placed on my desk with a handwritten note attached, "Falling Apart." It reminded me that, while libraries may not be the most visible or rewarded part of the legislative environment, we are the go-to staff, the ones that fix and mend when things are falling apart. Housing historical and current information, regardless of format, we quickly access what legislators, constituents, legislative staff, lobbyists, or other agencies and organizations need, no questions asked. In essence, libraries are the trusted caretakers of the legislative institution.

The annual rollover at the 2010 NCSL Legislative Summit moved Elizabeth Lincoln, Minn., to the position of immediate past chair. Kudos to her diligence and leadership while serving as chair, especially in planning an applaudable 2009 PDS in Minnesota and operating smoothly amid the all-too-familiar travel restrictions of recent years. Now, serving as chair, with Mary Camp, Texas, as chair-elect and Eddie Weeks, Tenn., as secretary, I feel privileged to work with and draw from the strengths of all three individuals, as I did with those I first worked with—Jackie Curro, Md., and Cathy Martin, N.C.—who completed their four-year commitments and left indelible footprints to follow. Not to be forgotten is Heather Morton, who is too organized for her own good and a miracle worker by nature! We are fortunate to have her as our NCSL liaison for the LRL Staff Section.

In an effort to reach out to our members and other legislative staff in this seemingly eternal economic abyss, LRL is proudly sponsoring two Webinars in lieu of an annual professional development seminar this fall. Although Webinars can't possibly replace the personable informational exchanges we experience at our seminars, there will be no out-of-pocket expense to access this fall's vital information. I'd like to personally invite all of you to spread the word among legislative staff to tune in to these two valuable LRL Webinars in October and November. See separate article for details.

Over the eight years I've been able to participate in LRL, my appreciation has deepened for members who support one another and demonstrate loyalty to the legislative institution. Although many of us may feel "well worn," I know that the strength found in our libraries will help ensure the preservation of the legislative institution and the LRL Staff Section, and will continue to add immeasurable value and cohesiveness to both.


2010 Legislative Summit

What’s Up in Your Library?
By LRL Summit Attendees

The intimate group of LRL Summit attendees greeted each other and learned about new developments in one another's libraries. Of particular note, Mary Camp, Texas, shared that her staff of 26 (including nine librarians) are redesigning their Web site, posting blog and twitter entries, focusing on topic sites and Web collection development, and developing a members database (1873-present), and bill search functions to search by subject, caption, etc., for bills back to 1949. Her staff also have an agreement with the Texas State Preservation Board to copy photos of legislators.

Elizabeth Lincoln shared that Minnesota is working on constitutional amendments (ballot language) and a Journal spreadsheet showing what Texas, Maryland, and Minnesota each have. Debbie Tavenner, Ohio, shared that the library will begin using DB/Text version 12 and WebPublisher for the library catalog and other databases. She thanked Louisiana and Nevada and several other libraries for sharing experiences with the Inmagic products.

Business Meeting Minutes

Attendees: Elizabeth Lincoln (Chair, Minn.), Shelley Day (Chair-Elect, Utah), Mary Camp (Secretary, Texas), Anne Rottmann (Mo.), Debbie Tavenner (Ohio), and Heather Morton (NCSL Staff, Colo.)

Welcome: Elizabeth Lincoln, LRL Chair, welcomed all attendees.

Recognition of Host State: Elizabeth recognized Kentucky as the host state.

Legislative Staff Achievement Awards: Elizabeth announced Anne Rottmann of Missouri as this year's recipient of the Staff Achievement Award. Elizabeth read Anne's many accomplishments and presented her with a plaque.

Anne thanked everyone and said: "It is a true honor to be recognized for something I genuinely love to do."

Notable Documents Awards: Elizabeth thanked the judges: Lisa Mecklenberg Jackson, Montana Legislative Branch (chair of the Notable Documents Committee); Carol Blackburn, Minnesota Legislative Reference Library; Sabah Eltareb, California State Library; Kristin Ford, Idaho Legislative Library; Ingrid Hernquist, New Jersey Legislative Services Library; and Elizabeth Lincoln, Minnesota Legislative Reference Library.

Elizabeth announced that 34 documents from 12 states were submitted for consideration, and 15 Notable Document Award winners were selected.

The list of the winners is listed in this newsletter below.

Elizabeth thanked all the participants for submitting documents for consideration, then presented the following winners with certificates:

  • Carol Shaw and John Turcotte, North Carolina General Assembly Program Evaluation Division, picked up all the North Carolina awards;
  • Lisa Wallmeyer, executive director, Joint Commission on Technology and Science, Virginia. picked up the Virginia awards on behalf of the Department of Legislative Services;
  • Bryant Howe, Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel. picked up the awards for his office;
  • Spencer Pratt, Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst, picked up the award for his office; and
  • Larry Barish, Legislative Reference Bureau, Wisconsin, picked up the Wisconsin award.

Shelley Day then presented Elizabeth Lincoln with the award for the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library.

Bylaws Amendment: Elizabeth explained the proposed amendment, which is in Article III: Meetings, paragraph two: A Professional Development Seminar to provide continuing education and to enhance professionalism [shall] may be held each year. Written notice shall be provided at least 30 days in advance of the seminar.

Shelley made the motion to amend the word from "shall" to "may." Anne seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

2010-2011 Projects: (a) Core Reference Review: Elizabeth asked Heather about any new developments on this topic.

Heather reported that Robyn Cockerham (La.) will head the project and may form a committee if she needs assistance.

Shelley will contact Robyn with follow-up details, and Elizabeth will forward the list of her core journal comparison of Maryland, Minnesota and Texas.

(b) Legislative Library Contributions to Legislative Internet and Intranet: Elizabeth suggested a committee be formed to further discuss this matter. Shelley suggested the information may be redundant and further research is a good idea. Heather recommended a committee be formed to conduct further research to find out if it should be updated, if further development is necessary or if certain pieces should appear on the NCSL Web site. Heather said she will also ask Doug Sacarto for his input.

Collaboration Software: Heather announced that the collaboration software is now available. She also said that it needs to be used and filled with content. Heather also stated that, in order to access the software, you must have an NCSL login and password. She then explained that the software can be used in the following ways:

  • open to all members and staff
  • operates like the listserv where Heather maintains access

Users can sign up to be notified when a new forum has been created. Working drafts of documents can be created in the program, with the goal of posting the final document on the NCSL LRL pages.

Other Business and Announcements: Heather announced that two Webinars are planned as follows:

  • Legislative History Research
  • Legislative Members Database

All agreed that the details and deadlines will be discussed on the next LRL Executive Committee conference call on Aug. 11, 2010.

Election of New Officers: Anne moved to elect the slate of new officers. Debbie seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

The new officers are as follows:

  • Shelley Day (Utah)-Chair
  • Mary Camp (Texas)-Chair-Elect
  • Eddie Weeks (Tenn.)-Secretary
  • Elizabeth Lincoln (Minn.)-Immediate Past Chair

Other Business: Elizabeth plans to digitize the chair notebooks in the fall, and will ship the hard copies to NCSL.

Transfer of Power from Chair to Chair-Elect: Shelley presented a torched glass necklace to Elizabeth, and knowing Elizabeth to be an avid biker, a picture frame made from a bicycle chain. She thanked her for her hard work in the past year, especially amid the obstacles of the national economic crisis and for pulling off such a fabulous PDS in Minnesota in 2009.

Elizabeth thanked Heather Morton for being the NCSL liaison for LRL. She recognized the crucial help Heather offers to various NCSL groups and presented her with a fused glass necklace. Elizabeth then announced that the transfer of power from Chair to Chair-Elect was hereby complete.

Elizabeth adjourned the meeting at 9:45 a.m.

Respectfully submitted by Mary Camp, LRL Secretary, 24 September 2010

Digital Information and Copyright Issues
By LRL Summit attendees

Dwayne Buttler, Evelyn J. Schneider Endowed Chair for Scholarly Communication, University of Louisville, presented an entertaining session that was even approved for CLE! Instead of focusing on case-by-case decisions, he discussed communication media, past to present, and the "unanswered" questions the latest media presents. For example, in April 2010, the Library of Congress announced that it would archive every public “tweet” sent through Twitter. Since the Library of Congress is republishing these messages, Professor Buttler raised the question of whether the Library of Congress will violate copyright by archiving the tweets from Twitter.

He began the presentation by making the group aware of a recent Ninth Circuit appellate court decision, Omega S.A. v. Costco Wholesale Corporation, which is on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. (See Arstechnica July 12, 2010, "Can you sell your imported gadgets? Court guts "First Sale," by Matthew Lasar.) The case involved Omega watches, made overseas and sold to Costco through another party authorized to sell the items overseas but not in the United States. Under the Copyright Act’s doctrine of “First Sale,” Omega, the copyright owner, has the initial right to distribute its products as it chooses. Once Omega sells the watches to a distributor, subsequent buyers have the right to sell the products as they choose. In the appellate court decision, the Ninth Circuit determined that the “First Sale” doctrine does not necessarily apply in this case because the company’s copyrighted logo was inscribed on the product made outside the United States. If the Supreme Court follows the Ninth Circuit decision, manufacturers would be able to control distribution of their products after the first sale; this could have implications for libraries.

Tour of the University of Louisville Library
By LRL Summit attendees

Claudene Sproles, reference librarian at the University of Louisville Exstrom Library, and Robin Harris, public services librarian of the Law Library, gave us a tour of the law school’s library. The law school is named after Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis. During the tour, Robin held our attention for over an hour, noting that the Handmaker Room in the Law Library houses the most comprehensive collection of Brandeis papers (approximately 250,000 items) available for use by legal scholars and students. Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis, known as "the people's attorney," worked to implement social change in America at a time when several populist movements were thriving. He was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Woodrow Wilson and served from 1916 until 1939. Robin pointed out that the cremated remains of Brandeis and his wife are interred beneath the portico of the School of Law. Interesting visit!

Protecting Legislative Records in the Digital Age
By LRL Summit Attendees

The presenters for this session were Michael Walsh, U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO); Daniel Dodge, Thomson Reuters; and Robert Horton, Minnesota Historical Society.

Although all three presenters made noteworthy comments, the crux of this forum's message was summed up well by Robert Horton. Horton pointed out that transparency, accountability, and privacy were issues when people wrote on cave walls. Today, it is sometimes unclear what is to be kept, there is meager funding for records management, and the rate of technological change is swift. The situation presents opportunities for conflicts that can end up in the courts and newspapers. More attention needs to be paid to the "nuts and bolts" to help government first know what to keep, then how to dispose of it or protect it. Legislatures need to start with the most common records first. There needs to be de facto standardization, search and discovery methods and improved storage and presentation. The drafting committee on the Authentication and Preservation of State Electronic Legal Materials of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws is developing a proposed model law on this topic, scheduled to be published next July. The reality of budget crises and partial concentration are obstacles to plans to preserve and protect legislative records.

Daniel Dodge summarized the technical aspects of the proposed XML standard to support archiving legislative documents. Michael Walsh described his organization’s Federal Digital System, known as FDsys. The speakers’ PowerPoint presentations are available through the LRL Legislative Summit agenda.

2010 Legislative Staff Achievement Award Recipient

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; she was 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, 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 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 at the forefront of the electronic exchange of information through NCSL and LRL. During the 1990s, 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 also was 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.

Dear members of the LRL staff section,

I want to express my deep appreciation at being selected as this year’s recipient of the NCSL Staff Achievement Award for LRL. I have had such a wonderful relationship with this staff section through the years and have met so many dedicated and helpful librarians through meetings, professional development seminars and the listserv. No one quite understands our jobs like you all do, and it has been very helpful to be able to network and share experiences with this group.

My association with this staff section has been rewarding in so many ways, and this award has made my year. Thank you.


2010 Notable Document Award Recipients

Fifteen outstanding documents were honored by a staff section of the National Conference of State Legislatures for their excellence in exploring topics of contemporary interest to legislators and staff. NCSL’s Legislative Research Librarian (LRL) staff section presented its Notable Document Awards at NCSL’s 36th Legislative Summit in Louisville, Kentucky. Thirty-four documents from 12 states were submitted for the award.


AIDS and the Law: What You Should Know
Laws for Older Adults
Illinois Legislative Research Unit

Permitting in Montana
Montana Legislative Environmental Policy Office


Feasibility of Restructuring Budget and Financial Management of North Carolina State Government
North Carolina General Assembly Program Evaluation Division

2010-2011 Appropriations Report
Utah Legislative Fiscal Analyst’s Office

Utah's Economy: What's Happened and Where Do We Go From Here?
Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel


“Wisconsin at the Frontiers of Astronomy: A History of Innovation and Exploration”
(feature article in the State of Wisconsin Blue Book 2009-2010)
Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau


Illinois Tax Handbook for Legislators
Illinois Legislative Research Unit

How North Carolina Compares: A Compendium of State Statistics
North Carolina General Assembly Program Evaluation Division

A Legislator's Guide to Taxation in Virginia, Volume 1: State Taxes
Virginia Division of Legislative Services


Increasing Efficiencies in Idaho's Parole Process
Idaho Office of Performance Evaluations

2009 Full Tax Preference Performance Reviews
Washington State Joint Legislature Audit and Review Committee


Legislative Time Capsule (Web application)
Minnesota Legislative Reference Library


Contamination of Stormwater Pond Sediments by Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Minnesota: The Role of Coal Tar-based Sealcoat Products as a Source of PAHs
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency 

Public Health Impacts of Wind Turbines
Minnesota Department of Health, Environmental Health Division

Special thanks to this year's judges:

  • Lisa Mecklenberg Jackson, Montana Legislative Branch
    Chair of the Notable Documents Committee
  • Carol Blackburn, Minnesota Legislative Reference Library
  • Sabah Eltareb, California State Library
  • Kristin Ford, Idaho Legislative Library
  • Ingrid Hernquist, New Jersey Legislative Services Library
  • Elizabeth Lincoln, Minnesota Legislative Reference Library

LRL Webinars
By Shelley Day, Utah

Mark your calendars! LRL is sponsoring two informative webinars this fall. The first is scheduled for October 27 and the second is scheduled for November. Watch for e-mails containing specific details.

The following excerpts from the summary of the Technology and E-Learning Subcommittee in LSCC's Final Report 2009-2010 demonstrate how successful and beneficial the webinars have already been for legislative staff.

In 2008-2009, the NCSL Foundation awarded NCSL $35,000 to be used for e-learning purposes. The Programs and Strategic Planning Subcommittee of NCSL’s Executive Committee implemented guidelines for using the funds, making funding for e-learning programs available to NCSL’s staff sections and standing committees.

Staff sections and the LSCC made good use of the available funds and provided quality online programming and policy information to their members via webinars or other electronic media. For example, between November 2009 and April 2010, eight webinars were produced, with approximately 1,706 staff from around the country participating.

The e-learning highlight of the year took place on April 15, 2010, when Stan Stenerson presented “Drafting for the Legislative Audience.” Over 900 staffers from 47 states participated in the webinar, which was co-sponsored by the LSCC, all NCSL staff sections, as well as the Legislative Education Staff Network.

E-learning benefits for legislative staff include 1) free training and ongoing professional development; 2) no travel costs to the state; 3) in some cases, continuing professional education credits (again at no cost to the state or individual); and 4) ongoing expansions of the wealth of NCSL resources and expertise.

The program proved so successful that the NCSL Foundation awarded NCSL another $35,000 e-learning grant for 2010-2011.

2010-2011 LRL Regional Coordinators
By Shelley Day, Utah

Welcome our newly appointed regional coordinators! Our LRL Bylaws state that seven regional coordinators are to be appointed by the chair for a one-year term. Although this is not always the practice, several LRL members expressed interest in becoming more involved in the NCSL LRL Staff Section. Congratulations to Sonia Gavin (Mont.), Robyn Cockerham (La.), Julia Covington (N.C.), Christine Chen (Okla.), Taran Ley (Ill.), Carrie Rose (Conn.) and Maeve Roche (Calif.). They will coordinate with libraries in their respective regions to update the online LRL member directory, write LRL Newsline articles, and participate in other projects as assigned. Willingness to be active participants in the LRL Staff Section is the best way to ensure that LRL continues as one of NCSL's vital staff sections and is an excellent way to establish valuable networks and lifelong friendships.

LRL Retirements
By LRL Executive Committee

As seasons change, so do the directions of dear LRL members. Four long-serving legislative librarians have recently retired or announced plans to do so.

  • Linda Heatherly (Senior Librarian, Office of Legislative Counsel Library, Calif.) was one of the hosts of the 2008 Professional Development Seminar in Sacramento.
  • Susan Southworth (Legislative Librarian, Conn.) served as LRL Staff Section chair in 1999-2000 and was awarded the LRL Staff Achievement Award in 2009.
  • Marilyn Johnson (Research Librarian, Legislative Council, N.D.) was the host of the 2002 Professional Development Seminar in Bismarck, served as LRL Staff Section chair in 1983-1984, and received the 1999 LRL Staff Achievement Award.
  • Suzie Johnston (Library Director, David R. Poynter Legislative Research Library, La.) was one of the hosts of the Professional Development Seminar in Baton Rouge in 2000. Her library was twice honored with a Staff Achievement Award, in 2001 and in 2006.

Thank you for your active role in imparting professional wisdom and establishing personable relationships throughout your years of service and participation.

NCSL Publications


  • A Look at Pennsylvania’s Early Childhood Data System—Stedron
  • Strong Leaders Strong Schools: 2009 Laws—Shelton
  • Early Care and Education State Budget Actions 2010—Poppe/Clothier
  • How to Work with Legislators—Foreman (WEB)
  • Biomonitoring—Hendrick
  • Lessons from the Pioneers: Reporting Healthcare Associated Infections—Spencer/Sward/Ward
  • Health Cost Containment and Efficiencies—Cauchi (1 packet of 10 briefs)
  • Innovations in Community Corrections: Controlling Prison Populations and Costs—Lawrence
  • Legislative Strategies to Safely Reduce the Number of Children in Foster Care—Mbengue (WEB)
  • Involving State Legislators in the Child and Family Service Reviews—Mbengue (WEB)


June/July 2010

  • Guidelines for Staff Political Activity—Vol. 18, No. 26
  • Climate Change and Public Health—Vol. 18, No. 27
  • Next Generation 911—Vol. 18, No. 28
  • Taking Medications as Prescribed: Programs That Help—Vol. 18, No. 29
  • Vote-By-Mail Gets a Second Look—Vol. 18, No. 30
  • State Energy Efficiency Resources Standards—Vol. 18, No. 31

August/September 2010

  • Healthy Communities: New Opportunities for Promoting Health—Vol. 18, No. 32
  • Evaluating School Principals—Vol. 18, No. 33
  • Planning for End-of-Life Care—Vol. 18, No. 34
  • Redistricting Technology—Vol. 18, No. 35
  • Fighting Colorectal Cancer—Vol. 18, No. 36
  • Hydrogen Fuel Cells: On-Site Energy Generation—Vol. 18, No. 37