AGM and social: 11 May 2017

SSC lounge 2017 SLLG AGM

Venue readied for the SLLG 2017 AGM

This year the venue for our AGM was the SSC Members’ lounge in Parliament House, Edinburgh. All agreed it was a perfect setting for our business meeting and relaxed social aspect thereafter. Many thanks to Christine, SSC Librarian, for organising.

A good turnout of 16 members attended the SLLG AGM, 2017.

Chairing the meeting, Convenor Alison spoke of her pride in a group which has adapted successfully to the challenge in a currently shrinking professional world.  The group’s enthusiasm for the new programme of free, short, topic-focussed events run during the year as SSNaPs has noticeably reinvigorated the SLLG during a time of reduced resources.

Alison also marked out activities which have taken place since the 2016 AGM, many of which have been recorded over the year in this blog: visits and social events – the outreach of the group in promoting the law library sector to library students being a particular highlight.

On behalf of the committee, Alison thanked all those who sponsored events, provided venues, engaged in our social media and everyone who kindly gave up their time to arrange, host or attend something of the SLLG in the previous 12 months.

Christine stepped down from the office of Secretary, but happily continues as a committee member. Faye was warmly welcomed as the new incumbent of the office by those in the hall.

Due to recent and impending reduction of committee members means there are at least 2 opportunities open for members to join the committee. Alison made the importance of the committee clear: The committee cannot run as strong a group itinerary when not at full strength. Anyone interested in taking up one of the seats should get in touch with a current committee member.

The Treasurer’s report from Debra expertly summarised the group’s finances as healthy and concluded with no questions.

With all that there was no other business from the room other than for Alison to formally close the business side of the afternoon.

The committee then put on an excellent selection of light bites and coloured liquids for those who were able to stay a while and catch up on the latest sector news.

The committee look forward to another 12 months in supporting – and having the support of – the membership.

Group members are reminded they can read AGM reports and minutes on the ‘member publications’ page of the SLLG website in the member’s only section.

Scottish Legal Information Centre SSNaP – 30th March 2017

The Group SSNaP series continued on 30th March with a presentation of the work undertaken by SLLG members Roddy and Emma, librarians at the Solicitors Legal Information Centre.

VictoriaQuay 300317

SLLG members heading to the SSNaP at The Scottish Government Building, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh.

The 11 group members who attended this Short Skills Networking and Presentation were treated to an enlightening and entertaining hour or so with Emma and Roddy (both past SLLG convenors), finding out about the work of the Solicitors Legal Information Centre.

Located in the Scottish Government buildings at Victoria Quay, Edinburgh, the department resides in the legislative heart of the Scottish administration.

Throughout the 45 minute presentation, SLLG members were extremely impressed at the detailed know-how and level of research undertaken daily by the centre’s professional information and library staff.

The centre provides information services for over 200 government lawyers and policy colleagues. These services include legal research, document supply and current awareness packages. The centre also provides resource training and access to a law library. Behind the scenes, the team manage subscriptions, material purchases and advises on knowledge management as well as being involved with aspects of wider library consultancy.

In 2016, the team undertook 1,828 enquiries with 7,784 documents supplied. The enquiry service continues to increase in use year on year and the most common enquiry work handled is, perhaps not surprisingly, legislative.

Emma and Roddy comprehensively talked through some typical and a few atypical enquiries they’ve recently dealt with.

From putting together a research package into the background of an Act of the Scottish Parliament… through to answering the query if The Queen can lawfully hunt Scottish swans, the team approach all the enquiries with thoroughness and expert data mining skills. So much so, indeed, the team is often in contact with Westlaw with corrections to their database of Scottish & UK legislation.

An interesting element of the work is the careful negotiation of confidentiality. This was particularly illustrated with the appeal from the Scottish Government to the UK Supreme court regarding legal arguments for the vote to enact the bill for Article 50 to be a devolved matter. Both the Scottish Government lawyers and the Whitehall Government made use of the SLIC research service in this matter.

With the current constitutional environment in the UK, the centre is experiencing a surge in complex enquiries and is preparing for an influx of additional government lawyers to the service. The next few years will certainly keep Roddy, Emma and the rest of the small team busy.

After, Emma and Roddy were kind enough to let us peak behind the curtain and take a walk round their library and office space (and take in their lovely view of the docklands).

The SLLG committee thank Roddy and Emma for their time and giving us such a wonderful insight into their work. The feedback from those who were there has been glowing.

Our SSNaPs continue to be popular for both sides of the event as they can give as much back to the host as they do to those in attendance, which is really fantastic. As Emma commented:

We really enjoyed hosting our SSNaP session. We were a bit worried beforehand that attendees might find it a bit dry and technical, but from the feedback we have received it seems that people found it interesting. A few attendees even remarked that they were going to immediately add some of our examples to their own knowledge hubs, which is great to hear!

Of the logistics in putting on the SSNaP event, Emma said:

In terms of organising the SSNaP it was all quite straight forward. Faye and the SLLG Committee did all of the advertising and collated the list of attendees so all we had to do was arrange a space here (not always that easy as conference rooms are at a bit of a premium). Faye also kindly coordinated with the Rose Leaf for the meal afterwards. I did spend an inordinate amount of time on my hand-outs but that was my own stubbornness coming into play as I was determined to have an infographic style short hand-out despite never having created an infographic before!

It’s great that SSNaPs can provide training and skills experiences for the host too: the infographic handout was very professional, Emma!

On a personal note, Emma added:

I would recommend that any SLLG members considering hosting a SSNaP should give it a go. It is really quite informal so good for people like me, who are not that fond of public speaking and big presentations.

Faye was unable to make the presentation but fortunately was able to come along to the socialising of the attendees afterwards. Here is Faye’s vivid sketch of this:

The staff canteen at Victoria Quay has earned a place in many a Civil Servant’s heart: morning rolls after a dip in the staff pool; fish and chips on Fridays… Sadly, yet understandably, they wind things up after lunchtime so over the road we went for a bite to eat and a catch-up.

Leith is of course recognised as a foodie haven with an abundance of restaurants to choose from. We settled on the Roseleaf, a perfect blend of family pub and chintzy café, for several reasons: their menu caters to all tastes and dietary needs – Scottish to Thai; vegan to coeliac – and their drink selection is pretty impressive too. Most of us went for one of their homemade fizzies, including ginger beer and rose lemonade, but real ales and “pot-tails” continue to draw in happy customers. After heaping praise on Emma and Roddy, the conversation moved to every librarian’s favourite subject…telly: Line of Duty; The Replacement; every HBO series ever made. Don’t judge – even the lawyers are at it (spoiler alert). We also managed to discuss more professional endeavours – namely, further study and summer conferences.

It’s always imperative to pick a winner when it comes to menu choices and think the award goes to Kayleigh – her Barry beetroot burger looked very nice and apparently tasted pretty good too. It’s always a pleasure to meet fellow law librarians in a social capacity so I look forward to seeing more of you at our next SSNaP and of course the 2017 AGM in May.

If any member would like more information for having a little SSNaP chat of their own with other members, please say hello to anyone on the committee. We will be delighted to hear from you.

Some resources on the United Kingdom leaving the European Union

Here are some links to resources which might be of use to those interested in the processes, administrative and policy details of the UK no longer being a member of the EU.

Official Papers UK:
BREXIT, BREXIT, BREXIT! A non-exhaustive collection of online resources and source information dealing with the UK leaving the EU.

Scottish Parliament Information Centre:
UK decision to leave the European Union Hub. Impartially selected materials for those seeking information of the on-going progress of the UK leaving the EU.

House of Commons Briefing Papers:
Legislating for BREXIT: EU directives. A paper detailing (and linking to) all EU directives implemented in UK legislation as of 5th April 2017.

Inner Temple Library:
A history of the EU. An interactive timeline of the EU with accessible relevant source documents.

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Many thanks to SWOP and our members, Sharron and Andrea, for highlighting these sources to us.

 

SLLG guest lecture at University of Strathclyde, 16 March 2017

The Group’s ongoing outreach activity continued earlier this month in Glasgow. Our Secretary, Faye Cooke, returned to her alma mater to address postgraduates on the Information and Library Studies programme.

On a trip down memory lane (ie Rottenrow), I noted changes on campus – new shops, a large mural and Glasgow College looming above. Then again, it’s been six years since I took my last exam at the University of Strathclyde and entered the world of special libraries, the subject on which I had been invited to talk.

strathclyde

View from Livingstone Tower to Graham Hills Building

I made my way to the 14th floor of Livingstone Tower where all was reassuringly familiar, including the seminar room. No doubt testament to David McMenemy, Lecturer and Course Director, it was a great turnout for an afternoon session and I was relieved to be greeted by a friendly audience.

As they were to discover, I used to work in careers information and if I learnt one thing, it’s that students want practical tips and insider info. I therefore followed a rough plan:

Intro

  • Special libraries – definition and sectors
  • Special librarians
  • Law libraries – workforce stats
  • Law librarian role, eg budget and collection management, current awareness, etc.

My experience

  • My CV
  • Pros and cons of role/sector

Advice

  • Gaining experience
  • Professional bodies, incl. SLLG student project
  • Finding jobs and looking ahead

The slides can be viewed here (PDF)

I tried to be as honest as possible, admitting that when I began my postgraduate diploma, my understanding of potential sectors was pretty narrow. The opportunity to do a placement at a law firm, however, completely opened my eyes to special and, indeed, law libraries.

The main takeaway was the importance of professional engagement. Alongside hard work and a bit of serendipity, a good support network has been key to my career development thus far. As librarians in the Scottish legal sector, we often work either alone, remotely or small teams. Membership of professional bodies has helped me to gain knowledge and skills, and to feel part of something bigger.

One last tip for our future librarians: save all those thank you emails. Positive feedback is evidence of the impact our roles and services have. It’s also a reminder to me that I get to help someone and be a know-it-all at the same time. That’s why I go to work with a smile on my face (most days)!

The committee would like to thank the Computer & Information Sciences department at the University of Strathclyde and David McMenemy for allowing the SLLG to present a talk to their students.