Wisconsin State Law Library

Serving the Wisconsin Supreme Court and State of Wisconsin

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WSLL @ Your Service   January, 2006
An E-publication of the Wisconsin State Law Library

The Wisconsin State Law Library, Milwaukee Legal Resource Center and Dane County Legal Resource Center are closed
Monday, January 16
in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Highlights from 2005 -- Jane Colwin, State Law Librarian

The newsletter team thought it would be fun to do a review of WSLL happenings in 2005 – and they also decided that I would be the perfect person to write the article. Fair enough. They all do such a good job creating an informative, entertaining newsletter every month that I’m glad to repay the favor.

And better yet, this gives me an opportunity to brag on the entire staff, not just the dedicated newsletter team. All of the people who work here and at the Milwaukee and Dane County Legal Resource Centers are dedicated to making sure you have the materials and technologies to help you with your legal research needs, and – as you’ll see from the following highlights – they all were busy doing just that in 2005.

Collection accomplishments

  • Organized and cataloged over 1,100 items in the Rare Book Room and 114 items in the Locked Case. This was a huge, messy, dusty project – if you spent any time on the 3rd floor this past year, you may have seen several staff in white gloves and masks! Now both staff and users know what we have, and we can easily find requested materials. So thanks, once again, to all the staff who worked on this.
  • Reorganized all of our audiovisual materials into one collection and relocated it to a more user-friendly spot on the 2nd floor. We were all amazed at how many AV titles we had – but even so, we ordered over 60 new titles for this collection, primarily related to Wisconsin practice. Joining these AV titles on the 2nd floor are our Prose and Cons videos and DVDs – now in a great spot for browsing.
  • Ordered, processed and cataloged over 150 new titles for the collection. This may not sound like a lot, but most of our book budget is spent on supplements and pocket parts to update “old” books, and budgetary constraints over the past few years along with continually rising prices have severely limited our ability to buy new things. The law doesn’t stop changing just because book budgets can’t keep up, so we are very pleased that we’ve been able to manage the budget so that we could provide our users with new titles and new editions.
  • Scanned over 3,000 Wisconsin appellate briefs and appendices – that’s over 100,000 pages! And all of it was done by just two tireless staff members, one of whom only works 15 hours per week!

Reference, circulation and public service accomplishments  

  • Handled over 9,300 reference and information requests – approximately 37 per day – from users who contacted us in person, by telephone, fax, or email, anywhere from across the street to across the Atlantic. Pundits who say “it’s all on the Internet” should spend a day with one of our reference librarians as they search for information in books, microforms, government documents and databases, and contact agencies, organizations and colleagues in order to get answers for our users.
  • Began offering public-access Westlaw on our in-house public computer network. This new service is still getting rave reviews.
  • Circulated nearly 5,800 items from our collection and had more than 14,000 items used in-house. This latter statistic is a fairly new one for us – we now have a portable bar code reader so that our shelvers can scan items used in the library before reshelving them. We always knew our regular circulation statistics didn’t tell “the whole story,” and now we have proof that much of our collection is used on a daily basis. These statistics also help us decide what titles to continue updating and which ones might be ready for “retirement.”
  • Welcomed Art Saffran to our staff as our 20 hour per week technical support specialist. We’ve benefited daily from his knowledge, expertise and humor.
  • Increased the loan period of most of our former 2-day items to one week – offering our users more time and giving us more uniform circulation policies.
  • Distributed our monthly newsletter WSLL @ Your Service to over 3,500 electronic subscribers – many of whom take the time to let us know how much they like it. I attended the annual conference of the American Association of Law Libraries this past summer, and I can’t tell you how many librarians from around the country, when catching a glimpse of my nametag, stopped to tell me what a great newsletter we have – compliments I was very happy to bring back and share with the staff.
  • Added over 100 new topics to our Legal Topics webpage – a major accomplishment considering the amount of research, checking and double-checking that goes into creating just one topic. Our reference librarians use these topics to help answer your questions – we hope you use them, too!
  • Offered 13 legal research classes that provided great information and an opportunity for attorneys to earn a total of 18.5 CLE credits. Most classes were fully booked and some featured guest instructors from the academic and private sectors. Our own library staff “teachers” were also sought after throughout the year to present at outside programs, including judicial education seminars, National Business Institute programs, Wisconsin library system continuing education classes, and state agency and private firm in-house training events. We also had innumerable one-on-one teaching moments at the reference desk while assisting users with our many legal resources.

Milwaukee and Dane County Legal Resource Centers

These two libraries continue to be bustling places in their respective courthouses. Despite some touch-and-go moments during the recent Milwaukee County budget negotiations, both library contracts are fully funded for 2006 and so we will continue to provide books, online information, forms, classes and reference assistance to the judges, lawyers, county staff, self represented litigants and the general public who use these libraries daily. The Dane County Legal Resource Center staff spent much of 2005 planning their move to the new Dane County Courthouse, which takes place this month. Be sure to check out their beautiful new space when visiting the courthouse. [See more in Odds ‘n’ Endings below.]

All in all, 2005 was a great year! Thanks to all the staff and to all of you, our users, for making the State Law Library such a great place to work, study and learn.

Learn @ The Law Library Odds 'n' Endings

Make good on that New Year’s resolution to plan and prepare! On February 8 our technical support specialist, Art Saffran, will present Disasters: Prevent, Prepare, Recover. Learn how to assess risks and prevent avoidable disasters in your office, and how to prepare for unavoidable disasters so your office can recover quickly.

March brings tax season and an opportunity to learn about Tax Resources on the Web. Join us on March 1 for a free one-hour session in which you’ll get expert help navigating the maze of tax-related websites, and see firsthand what’s available for free in the way of online forms and assistance from the Wisconsin Dept. of Revenue, other states' revenue agencies, and the IRS.

Details and registration forms for these and other upcoming classes are available on our Classes & Tours webpage. Register today!

 

DCLRC Moves to New Courthouse

The Dane County Legal Resource Center (DCLRC) will be closed on Friday, January 13 for its move into the new Dane County Courthouse. It will reopen on Tuesday, January 17 in Room L1007 of the new courthouse, located at 215 South Hamilton Street in downtown Madison. DCLRC hours, telephone, fax and email address remain the same. For more information, please see the January issue of DCLRC Docket.

WSLL After Hours Service

Did you know that attorneys licensed to practice in Wisconsin are eligible for our After Hours Service? For a nominal annual subscription fee, you can use the library till 10 p.m. on weeknights and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. All subscriptions run on the calendar year, so now is the best time to apply! For complete information and an application form, please visit our After Hours Service webpage.

Ask a Librarian:  800-322-9755; 608-267-9696 (In Madison); wsll.ref@wicourts.gov
Library Hours/Locations:  WSLL (WI State Law Library), DCLRC (Dane Co. Legal Resource Center), MLRC (Milwaukee Legal Resource Center)
Visit Our Website: http://wilawlibrary.gov

Editor: Connie Von Der Heide 608-267-2202 Comments welcome!