My Experience as a Law Librarian
When I first started here at the New Mexico Supreme Court Law Library, I was coming from a public and academic library, so I did ask myself, "Can I do this?" I jumped right in and started with a legal research class.
One of the first training resources that I studied and researched was the New Mexico Statutes and Rules. Just from those binders, one can get information on legal terminology, direction to cases and legal resources such as encyclopedias and law reviews. I also researched the legal encyclopedias that we have here. I soon found out that one resource would always lead you to another and another.
That's one aspect of legal research that we try to emphasize to our patrons; your research will lead you to other paths and when you come to a resource that you have already researched you've probably found all you can on that subject-you have come full circle. We would like for our patrons to empower themselves about their legal rights. When a patron is unsure about their subject, we direct them to the legal encyclopedias, so they can learn more about their legal subject before embarking on their research. We also show our patrons how to use digests by coming up with the exact phrase or keywords that describe their problem. Each digest has descriptive word volumes that will guide the patron to the right volume for their subject. We also direct them to our treatise collection, which are comprehensive volumes of books written by experts in certain legal fields.
What do people ask us? Questions range from the basic, such as a request for a copy of a specific statute or court opinion, to the more complex; for example, helping someone use the New Mexico Administrative Code or working on legislative history.
Public librarians may not be aware of the many Internet sites available to assist them in their quest of legal information, or maybe they feel that there is so much out there in cyberspace that they don't know where to start. I've included some really good favorites that they can rely on.
This site is a directory of official state, county, and city government sites and agencies. They even update state government news every hour.
This is a great site for U.S. government agencies. There is access to resources by government branch; legislative, executive and judicial branch. There is also an online government bookstore.
Legal questions? Find answers to thousands of the most commonly asked legal question in this site's FAQ's database.
This is great site for legal resources. They have sections specifically for the public, small business, and students.
This site has U.S .Supreme Court landmark cases involving students. They have a section for the classroom and the basic site has a lesson plan and handout.
Then, of course, if all else fails, visit our website at www.supremecourtlawlibrary.org or call us at (505) 827-4850.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License.
This work is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License