Wisconsin State Law Library

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WSLL @ Your Service May 2019


Law Day at Our Libraries - Carol Hassler

Please join us for Law Day on May 1, 2019. The Wisconsin State Law Library is offering a free CLE-credit class on legislative history research. Registration is encouraged.

event flyer Introduction to Wisconsin Legislative History
Wednesday, May 1, Noon - 1 p.m.
Location: Room 150 in the Risser Justice Center, 120 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Watch for signs in the lobby. Room 150 is located on the first floor, at the same entrance for the David. T. Prosser Jr. Library.

I need the legislative history of a Wisconsin statute. Where do I start? What do I do? Participants will look at the primary resources used to research Wisconsin legislative history, learn about the online Wisconsin legislative drafting files, and learn some helpful tips and tricks along the way. This introductory class covers basic research strategies and sources.

This year’s American Bar Association theme is “Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society.” In consideration of this theme, the Dane County Bar Association will present three free CLE programs on Digital Freedom of Speech, Attorney Ethics in “My Cousin Vinny,” and Media and Open Government Issues. All programs are open to everyone, and will be at the Dane County Courthouse.

The Dane County Law Library will be hosting free legal consultations for the public with volunteer attorneys, and courthouse tours are also offered as part of Law Day at the Courthouse.

Are you celebrating Law Day in your community? We’d love to hear about your plans! Contact the editor, Carol Hassler, with any updates or announcements.

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Spotlight on: Oxford English Dictionary – Kari Zelinka

We’ve noticed an increase in dictionary use here at the library. In response to that, we have expanded our collection. Several editions of print dictionaries were added in the last six months; these can be found between the public computers and reference collection. In addition to print dictionaries, we have added an online subscription to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), which can be used at the David T. Prosser Jr. Library public computers. You can also find the full twenty volume second-print edition of the OED on our shelves. However, the online edition is constantly being updated and is worth exploring!

The OED advertises itself as “the definitive record of the English language.” It is important to keep in mind that the OED captures how the English language is used, not how it should be used. Check out this interactive explanation of how a word enters the OED.

If you are curious about when words entered the English language, look no further than the OED. For the longest time I thought, “Ginormous is not a word” when people used it to describe how “very large, enormous; impressively or shockingly big” something was. However, after consulting the OED, I stand corrected. Ginormous was first recorded in Wings of War: Air Force Anthology v. 111 in 1942.

The frequency of a term is interesting to notice in each entry. For instance, “lawyer” was first recorded in 1377 and is used with the same frequency as “attorney,” which was first recorded in 1303.

Oxford English Dictionary

Are you looking to expand your vocabulary and impress your friends? In the online OED on the right sidebar, you’ll find the word of the day and you can even sign up to have it delivered to your inbox. Language is constantly evolving, so an array of new words and abbreviations appear daily. Fifty years ago somebody talking about muggles surviving El Niño wouldn’t have made any sense. New words enter our language through fiction, history, and even the weather forecast.

If you are wondering about the meaning of a word, the origin, or examples of how it has been used, come into the law library today and consult the OED.

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New Books – Kari Zelinka

New Book! An Associate’s First Year: a Guide to Thriving at a Law Firm, edited by Jennifer L. Bluestein, 2018
Call Number: KF 300 .A88 2018

Check out this new book for career insights that may not be covered in law school courses. Contributors to this collection include law firm partners, professional development directors, and law firm associates. They offer strategies for personal and professional success, and tips for interacting with diverse people within the firm and with your clients. Check out this practical information on how to thrive, and not just survive your first year!

Chapters include:

  • Expectations of a first year
  • Taming time for new lawyers
  • Importance of pro bono legal service
  • Creating positive visibility
  • From draft to done: be your own editor
  • Getting, accepting, and retaining feedback
  • Your first performance review
  • When is it time to leave your firm

New Edition! Opening Statements: Winning in the Beginning by Winning the Beginning, by Dominic J. Gianna, 2019
Call Number: KF 8923 .O74 2019

The first edition of Opening Statements was published in 2003. In the new 2019 edition, the author discusses when to not do an opening statement and shares advice and counsel on using argument during jury selection. The author focuses on story creation and theme building as ways to persuade the jury to choose your side early on in the trial. He takes into account diversity in race, gender, and especially age of the jury, and teaches you how to engage with individuals during a trial.

Chapters include:

  • The dynamics of the deliberation process: beginning at the end
  • Constructing the winning beginning: from the listener’s viewpoint
  • Bench trials: openings?
  • The eyes have it!  The power of “Visual Learning”
  • Opening “Dos and Don’ts”
  • Updates from the front (of the courtroom)

new book shelf
New Titles RSS Feed See our latest New Titles list for a list of new books and other resources.

For assistance in accessing these or other resources, please contact our Reference Desk.


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Tech Tip – Heidi Yelk

Microsoft Word -- Quick Access Toolbar

How do I shrink this page? Where is the spell check button? If you are a casual user of Microsoft Word, the array of ribbons, toolbars and menus can be a confusing mess. It can be hard to navigate the menus if you don’t use Word on a daily basis. This is why the Quick Access Toolbar is helpful.

The Quick Access Toolbar is at the very top of the screen –although it can be moved lower (below the ribbon) with a simple click. You can customize the Quick Access Toolbar to include your most frequent tasks in one easy-to-find place. To start, right-click on “the ribbon” at the top to access “Customize Quick Access Toolbar.”

Quick access toolbar

In the customization box that appears, browse the features found in Word. Add your favorite tasks to the Quick Access Toolbar quickly from this screen. Select a command with one click and then choose “Add” to move it to your Quick Access Toolbar. If you don’t see the feature you are looking for, then change the drop down menu to All Commands.

toolbar commands

To quickly add a task without scrolling through the list of commands, right-click the feature’s button on the ribbon and choose “Add to Quick Access Toolbar.”

Time is precious! Taking the time to customize the Quick Access Toolbar saves you from hunting through menus to find the command you need when you’re in a hurry.

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Library News – Carol Hassler

Libraries closed on Memorial Day

All three libraries will be closed on Monday, May 27th in observance of Memorial Day. Send questions and requests to wsll.ref@wicourts.gov or leave a message at 608-267-9696. We’ll get back to you on Tuesday, May 28th.

Upcoming classes

This month we are offering two legislative history research classes. Get tips for beginners at our Introduction to Wisconsin Legislative History class on May 1, and learn about advanced issues facing legislative history researchers at our class on May 22. On May 14, get tips for advanced search strategies in Westlaw. Learn about foldering, annotations, key numbers, and more. Learn more and register on our classes page.

WAAL Conference update

In April Jaime Healy-Plotkin and Carol Hassler traveled to the WAAL conference in Eau Claire to present “It’s a trap! How to avoid giving legal advice in reference services.” In this session, Jaime and Carol discussed techniques for communicating with researchers and how to evaluate legal research sources. We also shared tips for teaching legal research strategies to students and individuals. It was great opportunity to meet and share ideas with other librarians, and enjoy beautiful Eau Claire.

WAAL conference

Libraries = Successful Communities

class photo

This year we celebrated National Library Week by talking about how our libraries and services strengthen Wisconsin’s legal community. We felt like this theme is particularly appropriate for our library. We help people every day with a wide range of questions, and from all over the state.

Carol Hassler and Heidi Yelk offered free CLE classes on public record and court docket research. We had full attendance for each of the four sessions offered. It was great to see so many people come out – rain or shine.

On our blog, we talked about the Wisconsin Free Legal Answers project, research support and new books, our service which allows users to check out and return books by mail, and how books get updated at the library.

Wisconsin is our community, and we're proud to help people to access legal information. Thank you for sharing National Library Week with us.

national library week banner

Welcoming new staff to MCLL

The Milwaukee County Law Library bade farewell to Melissa Sylla in April, and are pleased to welcome back Jamie Neuendorf as a LTE library assistant. Jaime began working with the MCLL in 2017. We are very happy to be working with her again!

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May Snapshot


Drive-by Wisdom
Photo by Julie Robinson

Spotted on the interstate on the way to Chicago, this American Writers Museum billboard highlighting Douglass’ timeless words ties into an exhibit they offered last year, Frederick Douglass AGITATOR. To quote the museum’s press release, “Frederick Douglass escaped from slavery to become one of the most eloquent voices of abolitionism and his words remain a touchstone for anyone fighting inequality or pushing America to fulfill its promise of ensuring equality for all.”

We are accepting snapshots! Do you have a photo highlighting libraries, attractions or points of historical interest? Send your photo the editor at carol.hassler@wicourts.gov to be included in a future issue.

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