Minnesota State Law Library

Public and Electronic Services - 2005 Annual Report

2005 Index

New Information Desk: The emphasis for Public and Electronic Services is on service.  In 2005, we improved service greatly by combining the original circulation and reference desks into one much more functional information desk.  We lowered many of the fortress-like counters, encouraging patrons to ask questions and interact with staff.  We also added a copier that can scan, print, and fax, allowing us to deliver items via email. One of our long-time patrons, upon entering the Library after the renovation project, simply said, “Wow!”

Celebrations: We launched the new information desk with a celebration of Banned Books Week on September 30.  We served cookies and had a drawing for copies of banned books, including To Kill a Mockingbird.   Within the Judicial Center, 42 people entered the drawing, while email entries from court employees outside the building totaled 333. One District Court Judge noted, "Though I missed the contest, I sure am glad for the existence of Banned Books Week."

Teaching: We expanded our education efforts by regularly participating in Judicial Branch orientations.  Reference librarians developed a PowerPoint presentation for the orientations, which provides basic information on what the Library can provide and various ways that we can be contacted.  

Several reference librarians collaborated with Education and Organizational Development to provide classes for Judicial Center employees on using the Internet for legal and professional research.

Newsletter: We inaugurated a new monthly newsletter for Court staff distributed by email called Briefly…News from Your State Law Library.  The monthly distribution alerts Court staff to new online and print resources and events in a timely fashion. 

Library entry - Marshmallow Sculpture Contest

Tours: Public Services staff gave tours to 22 groups in 2005, including library orientations for new appellate court law clerks.  These tours were given to 387 individuals. 

County Law Library Program: Through the County Law Library Program   (CLLP), the State Law Library helps the Judicial branch reach out to Minnesotans throughout the State. The CLLP coordinator organized a CLLP Spring Conference and sent out two newsletters.  The coordinator also made a site visit to Stearns County Law Library and participated in interviews for the new Law Librarian for Washington County.

Circulation, Document Delivery, and Interlibrary Loan: As a public law library, Minnesota citizens continue to be our largest patron category. More and more of our services are delivered via the Internet, email and phone.  In 2005, we also focused our services on Judicial Branch employees in district courts.  We scanned more than 143 items to be sent out free via email, mostly to district courts.  (We also scan and email items to the public for a fee.)  We also circulate books from our collections to district court employees.  One commented, “I appreciate having easy access to this and other books through the State Law Library and your efficiency in sending it to me."

Court employees located in the Minnesota Judicial Center also borrow items through interlibrary loan. We borrowed nearly 100 items for our patrons through interlibrary loan and loaned nearly 200 items to other libraries.

Our Table of Contents service has been well received, with a patron noting, “This is an amazing service.” We scan the table of contents for every law review in our collection as it arrives and email the image to those who indicate they want to receive that title. We can then scan and email any articles that look interesting.

Web Site: The Minnesota State Law Library Web site serves the Judiciary and the public by providing 24/7 access to court information such as the archive of Minnesota appellate court opinions. In 2005, we revamped several pieces of our “Docket Series,” which provides topical assistance to using the Library. New in 2005 were Law for Laypeople, Forms, and Resources for Court Interpreters. We added to our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section the answers to many common “Ask a Law Librarian” email questions. Our STEP-UP intern to digitized the biographies of past appellate judges and linked them from the chronological list of names on our Web site.

Online Subscriptions: The Library subscribes to several online services that serve patrons in the Library as well as court staff. The Library already provided access for public patrons to Lexis online legal resources, which were used for more than 640 hours in 2005.  The Library also added public access to Westlaw in 2005. Westlaw usage is measured in transactions or searches, and there were 4527 in 2005.  We also added online access to CCH’s employment, labor, and human resources information.  Many court employees are using these sources for work purposes, and the public has access as well.

Through the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM), anyone in the Minnesota Judicial Center can access databases that provide indexing and full text of academic journals and popular magazines.  Use of these resources increased significantly in 2005, more than doubling in some cases.  The Library also offered online access to several legal resources. H.W. Wilson’s Index to Legal Periodicals was searched 866 times, almost twice as much as the previous year.  We added Index to Legal Periodicals Retro, with coverage from 1918 to 1981.  This database was searched 473 times.  Last, but not least, HeinOnline allows patrons in the Minnesota Judicial Center access to full text articles from law reviews and averaged 19 visits per month.

Computer Equipment: We replaced all our public and staff computer monitors with flat screen monitors, which facilitated the ergonomics for the Information Desk and in staff offices. We also purchased a networked color printer.


24 Hours at the State Law Library
Administration 2005 Annual Report
Technical Services 2005 Annual Report
LLSP 2005 Annual Report