Wisconsin State Law Library

Serving the Wisconsin Supreme Court and State of Wisconsin

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WSLL @ Your Service March 2024

2023 Year in Review - Amy Crowder

annual report cover

The Wisconsin State Law Library provides services to all corners of the state, even though many of our users cannot visit our libraries in person. Our experienced reference librarians are here to help by phone, email, or in person. At our three libraries, we direct people to information about the law and government, court forms, and sources of legal assistance. In 2023, self represented litigants made up approximately 86% of our reference contacts. Our Dane County Law Library also coordinated with the City of Madison to translate its Low Cost Legal Assistance Guide to Spanish, Hmong, and Chinese.

We support access to book collections in several locations. Collection management staff manage comprehensive print collections for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Dane and Milwaukee Circuit Court judges, and our three law libraries. We analyze and decide when electronic access can best complement our print collections and research services. For example, we get many requests for law-related definitions. Our print dictionary collection dates back to the 1600's, and last year we added electronic sources to efficiently expand the dictionaries in our collection.

The library's free Continuing Legal Education (CLE) program includes a series of classes that focuses on reading Wisconsin legislation and accessing and interpreting sources of information originating in the legislative branch - often referred to as statutory or legislative history research. This program has expanded from just one class on legislative drafting files to a series of several installments, covering basic legislative history, advanced research, and special issues. In 2023 our librarians presented 22 hours of education in 19 unique presentations including sessions at national and statewide conferences.

The State Law Library joined the Law Library of Congress in November as part of their webinar series, Orientation to the Law Library Collections. It was a great opportunity to reach people throughout the country and share information about our library's collection. The Wisconsin State Law Library originated in 1836 and is almost as old as the Library of Congress!

Learn more about the library's services to the State of Wisconsin in our newly released 2023 Annual Report. You can also read past annual reports on our website.


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Court Information on Display - Chris Schroeder

The State of Wisconsin court system produces a wide collection of material related to coverage of legal precedents, statutes, regulations, and state history. These materials serve as invaluable resources for legal professionals, researchers, and policymakers. The books we feature in this month's display offer insight into Wisconsin's legal landscape and history, while helping to facilitate informed decision-making within the state's legal system. By providing access to up-to-date case law, legislative updates, and procedural guidelines, Wisconsin court-produced materials play a crucial role in upholding the integrity and efficiency of the legal process within the state.

book display

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New Books - Chris Schroeder

New Book: Quick & legal will book, by Denis Clifford
Call Number: KF 755 .C55 2023

The Quick & Legal Will Book assists you in creating a customized will effortlessly, ensuring your family and assets are protected. With clear instructions and an assortment of necessary forms, this book guides you through the process of naming beneficiaries, selecting guardians for minors, establishing trusts, and appointing executors. Whether single or married, with or without children, this book is there to help you to confidently prepare your will, avoiding probate court, and staying up-to-date with the latest legal changes.

This book covers these aspects of wills, and more: 

  • Name beneficiaries to inherit your property
  • Choose a guardian for your children
  • Set up a trust for minors, and
  • Name an executor.

New Book: The landlord's companion: a comprehensive handbook of residential landlord-tenant law in Wisconsin, by Tristan Pettit
Call Number: KFW 2517 .P4 2024

This guide helps readers to navigate Wisconsin's landlord-tenant laws. Covering essential areas such as screening tenants, eviction processes, and legal issues like bedbugs, Pettit provides insights and practical advice for both landlords and tenants. With clear explanations of rights, responsibilities, and legal procedures, this handbook provides advice to readers on how to manage rental properties while ensuring compliance with Wisconsin law. Whether you're a seasoned landlord or a first-time tenant, The Landlord's Companion is an invaluable resource for understanding and navigating the intricacies of rental agreements in Wisconsin.

Subjects include:

  • Screening and qualifying prospective tenants
  • Rental documents
  • Residential rental practices and Administrative Code ATCP 134
  • Causes for eviction and termination of tenancy
  • Notices terminating tenancy
  • The eviction process

New books

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

Unsend Gmail messages

Gmail allows a very brief window to "undo" an email you've sent. After composing an email and clicking send, a pop-up dialog appears in the lower left corner of the screen.

gmail setting

By default, users have five seconds to click "undo" and stop the email. After five seconds the undo button disappears.

gmail setting

Users can increase the five second grace period up to 30 seconds. Go to the Settings for your account, and look for "Undo Send." Use the drop down menu to select a longer time period.

gmail setting

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Library News - Carol Hassler

How to sell a business or firm

Read about helpful online resources for selling a small business or firm in Wisconsin, and get recommendations for books available to check out at our libraries. Prepare your own firm or your client's companies to sell with the guidance and sample agreements in these resources. Librarian Carol Hassler's article, Legal Research 101: Selling a Small Business or Firm in Wisconsin, was published in February's State Bar of Wisconsin InsideTrack.

Legal research classes

Webinars for 2024 are now open for registration through the Wisconsin State Law Library. Registration for each webinar is limited to 100. Registrations will be approved weekly by the moderator. Once your registration is approved, you will get an email confirmation with connection information. Please reach out to Michael Keane with questions about the class and Jaden Henneman with questions about registering.

Wisconsin Legislative History - Budget Bill Calamities
Wednesday, March 20, noon-1:00 p.m.
Location: Live webinar - Register for Wisconsin Legislative History - Budget Bill Calamities
Statutory provisions created by a budget bill pose special problems in legislative history research. The budget bill process is complex and the drafting file created during the process is even more daunting. Learn how to identify statutes created by budget bills and how to navigate the drafting file. This advanced class covers additional techniques used in budget bill research.

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March Snapshot

maple syrup equipment

MacKenzie Center in Poynette is getting ready to host the friends annual Maple Festival. Collection vessels and kettles pictured here recall tools of yesteryear used in maple syrup production. Due to warm weather conditions, maple syrup time, generally March 15-April 15, came early to Wisconsin. Wisconsin's maple syrup production is fourth in the nation, with approximately 300,000 gallons produced each year. In the state legislature, two bills related to maple syrup are currently pending. The "Truth in Maple Syrup Act" would require any product labeled as "maple syrup" served at a public eating place in Wisconsin meet the definition found at 21 CFR 168.140. See Assembly Bill 602 and Senate Bill 567.

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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