MSLL Logo 2000 Annual Report

Administrative Services

Administering Change

Marvin R. Anderson, State Law LibrarianFor the past twenty years, the focus of Library administration has been on two key areas. The first focus has been to build a staff of professional and non-professional librarians with a passion for public service and to provide leadership to them in the selection and development of Library programs and activities. Encouraging continuing education opportunities and the development of professional skills, along with constant administrative support, can inspire staff to seek new and creative ways to accomplish the Library's mission - often with little or no financial resources. The staff have used their collective skills to extend the Library's unique services to as many potential users as possible. While technology has added a whole new dimension to accomplishing the Library's mission and affected the mechanics of programs and activities, the credit for the Library's reputation as an exemplary public agency is due to the professionalism, commitment and dedication of its staff.

The second focus of administration has been to adapt to change and technology and keep the Library's organizational structure fluid enough to accommodate the challenges that these changes create. Technology has profoundly affected how people do legal research and how our Library operates. For example, how do you keep accurate statistics? Incredibly enough, some of our statistics have actually gone down recently. How can that be, especially when we are busier than ever? The answer is that the Internet and other online resources require a brand new approach, in fact a more holistic approach, to serving our patrons and tracking Library use with statistics. For example, we are now able to determine how many times a specific webpage has been accessed. Is that a reference question on our statistic form? Which department can claim the statistic? It's clear the Internet has been an incredible boon to libraries in providing information and services, but it has also in many ways blurred the distinction between library departments.

Administration also oversees special programs sponsored by the library. A few of these occurring in 2000 follow.

Back To School For Minnesota Constitution Day

Administration and the Outreach Services Department played key roles in the development and distribution of Inside Straight: The Third Branch, a video that introduces judicial concepts to junior and senior high school students. On October 13, 2000, over two hundred judges and attorneys went back to school to view the video with students and discuss the issues it raised. The Court Information Office estimates that over six thousand students watched the video that day. Our Library worked closely with the Court Information Office, the Department of Children, Families and Learning, as well as with others - under the leadership of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals - to make this day invaluable and increase awareness of the Minnesota Court System. The video was part of a three-year observance and celebration of the Minnesota Court System and was funded by the Minnesota Courts Sesquicentennial Committee with a substantial grant from Hubbard Broadcasting.

In Honor Of Wahl

In June, the Library presented retired Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Wahl with The Social Justice, Legal and Judicial Career of Rosalie Erwin Wahl. This is the twelfth publication by the Library in its Minnesota Justices Series. The volume is a compilation of articles, pictures, newspaper clippings, letters, commendations, judicial opinions, and essays by or about Justice Wahl. The book was presented to Justice Wahl during an Extraordinary Session of the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Getting The Word Out

In 2000, the Library received a grant of $2800 from the Minnesota Library Foundation. The objective of the grant was to make two target groups more aware of the services the Library offers. Posters will be sent to every public library in Minnesota, in an attempt to reach people researching legal issues in their public libraries. The other targeted group includes solo practitioners and small-firm attorneys, lawyers who are not likely to own extensive legal collections. Our goal is to make them aware of the many ways the Library can assist them in their practices. The posters and communications to the attorneys will be mailed in 2001, with a report to be delivered to the Minnesota Library Foundation during the summer.

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This page was posted on May 2, 2001.