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The Third Branch

WSLL marks 12 years in Risser Justice Center

By Julie Tessmer, Wisconsin State Law Library

On Jan. 22, the Wisconsin State Law Library (WSLL) marked its 12th anniversary in the Risser Justice Center. To me it seems like we just moved in and considering the library has been around since 1836, those 12 years represent a mere 7 percent of the time we've been serving the citizens of Wisconsin. Having said that, each year we serve more people, add new services, and make improvements on what we already do.

The Milwaukee Legal Resource Center (MLRC) and Dane County Legal Resource Center (DCLRC) continue to boast heavy visitor traffic. In October DCLRC overhauled its shelf layout for increased accessibility (external link). Looking ahead to 2014, MLRC will move to its new location in the Milwaukee Courthouse. MLRC's new space will be almost twice as large as their current, temporary space and will have a room reserved for attorneys.

Each library now provides WestlawNext, the new Google-like Westlaw platform, on our public computers. Researchers can choose between Westlaw Classic and WestlawNext. WestlawNext is also available on WSLL's Wi-Fi network, allowing users the convenience of accessing the legal database from their own laptops while working in the library. An additional Wi-Fi antenna boosted the signal in WSLL's second floor conference room (external link), a popular room to reserve for meetings. These improvements throughout the library help ensure users can get their work done efficiently.

We developed and presented our very first webinar style training class on the HeinOnline database. The webinar format allowed participants to connect to the class from anywhere via the internet, which was especially convenient for our users outside of the Madison area. Moving forward, we plan to offer more of our classes (external link) online. In collaboration with the Milwaukee Public Library, the MLRC now offers a continuing series of legal research classes. MLRC provides the lecturers, while the Public Library provides the classroom, promotional materials, and class registration.

Both MLRC and DCLRC hosted internships for Milwaukee and Madison paralegal students. DCLRC continues to partner with the Dane County Bar Association on its family law and small claims legal clinics.

Looking back on the year, I am most proud of the continued high level of service all our staff provides to our users. Everyone at WSLL, the MLRC and the DCLRC are committed to serving the many people who use our libraries daily. I feel so fortunate to be able to work with such energetic, resourceful, and friendly professionals.

I invite you to come see what the State Law Library and its branches can do for you in 2014 and beyond.

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