National State Attorneys General Program Creates Network of State Law Librarians
New York, August 7, 2013—Like many government employees, librarians who work for the nation’s state attorneys general must do more with less as a result of budget cutbacks and layoffs.
But, thanks to a first-of-its-kind initiative launched by Columbia Law School’s National State Attorneys General Program, they have another resource at their fingertips: each other.
On August 7-9, the Columbia Law School National State Attorneys General Program, under the direction of James E. Tierney, gathered 20 state attorneys general librarians for the Librarians Initiative Summit. The goal of the summit was to begin the process of creating a permanent organization to promote the direct, timely, and collegial sharing of knowledge, ideas, and resources among AG librarians. Kent McKeever, director of Columbia Law School’s Arthur W. Diamond Law Library, also helped organize the summit, which included presentations by Tierney, McKeever, National Association of Attorneys General Supreme Court Counsel Dan Schweitzer, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Strout, among others. Strout is married to Tierney and discussed her latest novel as well as the role that legal proceedings play in modern fiction.
- Spectators at a murder trial want to wear buttons depicting the victim. How many states allow this?
- I need the text of each of the original colonies’ laws against blasphemy.
- If a prisoner breaks out of his cell but is captured by prison officers before he leaves the prison grounds, is this really an escape?
To organize the summit, Tierney convened a six-state advisory committee with members from Washington, California, Ohio, Florida, Massachusetts, and Arizona.
Tierney came up with the idea for the initiative after reading the American Association of Law Libraries magazine article on the role of the AG librarian and diminishing resources. Authors Mark Mackler, supervising librarian for California’s attorney general, and Jonathan N. Chagat, senior research librarian for Ohio’s attorney general, are both now committee members.