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From left: Jake Kubrin, Juliet Hardesty, Keiko Okuhara and Joe Cera.

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law library faculty excellence was on full display at a recent East Coast convening. UH law school librarians presented at the American Association of Law Libraries annual conference in Boston in July.

UH law library director Vicki Szymczak presented on the panel “What You Need to Know About the NextGen Bar Exam.” Panelists gave an update on the progress of the NextGen bar exam—including how law firms will be tracking new associates who have taken this exam and comparing them to previous associates.

Szymczak discussed varying modalities of legal research at U.S. law schools: with some taught by law librarians as a full course, and other models where research and writing are combined in a course. Some librarians do not teach legal research at all, providing instruction only as needed.

She recommended “librarians take back legal research and incorporate analysis into their curriculum, especially since legal research will be a bar exam tested skill.”

Szymczak also moderated a panel on “Researching the Implementation of Foreign and International Law on International Indigenous Peoples.” The program centered on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Szymczak began the discussion introducing the historical events leading up to the general assembly’s adoption of the declaration, pointing out its shortcomings in global application.

UH law librarian Keiko Okuhara coordinated three programs: “Future of Libraries Is Open” discussed challenges and opportunities around open-source library systems platforms; “Batch Please: Leveraging Batch Record Loading for Integrated Library System Improvements and Enhancing Resource Discovery” introduced a fresh perspective on batch record loading including institutional repositories, and identified specific tools for transferring, downloading, uploading and working with batches of records; and “Discovering Diversity through Linked Data” addressed how linked data can advance diversity, equity and inclusion in an online library catalog.

“My involvement with these three programs was due to my leadership role as chair of the AALL Library Systems and Resource Discovery Special Interest Section, which focuses on using library technologies to enhance scholarly publication discovery and user access to information for legal scholarship advancement,” said Okuhara. “I believe libraries have a vital role in social responsibility and should offer equitable access to information for all, including marginalized communities. I am pleased to have hosted a program on how library technology promotes discovery of diverse, equitable, and inclusive resources and adapts those resources into our online catalog.”

UH law electronic services librarian Brian Huffman coordinated an off-site event during the conference at Suffolk University Law School’s Legal Innovation and Technology Lab, which was followed by a presentation and tour of the library.

“The law school had a strong representation at our annual conference this year,” said Huffman. “Five faculty from the law library attended. Hot topics this year were AI, the NextGen bar, and DEI.”

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