Linda Tashbook

Adjunct Professor of Law
Foreign, International, and Comparative Law Librarian
Foreign, International, and Comparative Law Librarian


Linda Tashbook is the Foreign, International, Comparative Law Librarian at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.  She is also the manager of the library’s Research Fellows program. Additionally, she serves as a member of the library’s general reference team, participates in numerous committees in the law school and on the University Senate’s Benefits and Welfare Committee, and teaches upper-level legal research classes.  In her private pro bono law practice she primarily works on poverty law, mental health law, and non-profit law.  Professor Tashbook created and manages The Homeless Law Blog.  Contact the professor via e-mail at or ask for her at the library desk.

Key/Recent Publications

Selected Publications

Family Guide to Mental Illness and the Law: A Reference Handbook, Oxford University Press, (2018).
This helpful resource explains dozens of legal issues in "plain English" demonstrating how the law can uniquely affect people who experience psychiatric symptoms and how the people who are close to them can assist in complying with legal obligations, participating in legal transactions, asserting legal rights, and advocating for services.

Aiming High, Reaching Out, and Doing Good: Helping the Homeless with Legal Information. Public Libraries 48(1), 36-42, 2009.

This article is a compendium of ideas and resources for public librarians to employ when interacting with homeless patrons, particularly in connection with that community’s legal information needs. An extensive and descriptive bibliography shows how and when to use particular legal resources.

The Six Sad Questions: A Yearlong Reference Relationship. Journal of Information Ethics, 14(1), 64-69, 2005.

Through a series of reference questions, a university law librarian helps a retired professor to reclaim credit for his misappropriated scholarly work.

Releasing Captured Documents. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting (American Society of International Law), Vol. 104, pp. 584-587 ( March 24-27, 2010)

As military forces make their way through opposition territory, they seize enemy records that are likely to serve their military objectives. These records might be in government files, military installations, or opposing soldiers’ packs and pockets. Known as “captured documents,” the records are legally designated as booty under international law; upon capture they become the legitimate property of the capturing military. Some of the captured documents may serve as evidence in international criminal tribunals relevant to the hostilities.

Beyond that use, there is no international law associated with the application, retention, or dissemination of either the documents or the information contained within them. The documents might be destroyed, donated, archived or stored. If they are archived, researchers have the best chance of implementing their content. However, the lack of international regulations about access to these archives enables incomplete research. Additional and contrary access concerns arise as new technologies expand the methods and extent of document capture and exposure. Clearly, the past century’s document capture has benefited individuals and institutions far beyond the scope of military objectives and criminal prosecutions.

Rhode Island’s Homeless Bill of Rights. Jurist – Academic Commentary, July 4, 2012.

When Rhode Island enacted the first statewide Bill of Rights for homeless people, the very title of the document worried many members of the general public who wondered why homeless people were entitled to special rights. In fact, the Homeless Bill of Rights is merely a list of the seven fall back positions that all of the state and municipal authorities have to take when dealing with homeless people. This JURIST article explicates those seven fall back positions.

Living in a Vehicle. Jurist – Academic Commentary, June 26, 2014.

Nothing offends constitutional sensibilities quite like a local ordinance that sets police against poor people as a way of cleaning-up litter. Yet Section 85.02 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code, which was enacted in 1983 and prohibits the use of a vehicle for living quarters, was lifted out of obscurity in 2010, years after having been enacted but not enforced, for the express purpose of responding to "the illegal dumping of trash and human waste on city streets that was endangering public health." Note that the dumping was already illegal. The litter ordinance or even the disorderly conduct ordinance, if necessary, could have been invoked against that behavior. But the city dredged up this old anti-homeless law because neighbors claimed that it was homeless folks who were dumping the trash and waste. And after enough homeless people were ticketed and jailed under the ordinance, they brought a lawsuit against the city. This article is about the Ninth Circuit’s artful handling of the appeal in that case.

Other Activities

  • NAMI FAMILIAS- A support and advocacy group for the healthy families of people with mental illness
    Vice President September 2014-present, Board Member 2011-present

  • Project HELP – Legal Outreach to the Homeless
    Volunteer 2010-present

  • SOS Emergency Grants Committee- Jewish Family & Children’s Service
    Member August 2014-present

  • University of Pittsburgh Senate – Benefits and Welfare Committee
    Chair 2017-2019, Member 2013-present.  Founded and chair the University’s Mental Wellness Task Force

  • University of Pittsburgh Senate – Committee on the University of Pittsburgh Press
    Member 2007-2013

  • Western Pennsylvania Law Libraries Association
    Secretary 2004-2006  
    Webmaster 2001-2003, 2005-2015

  • American Association of Law Libraries
    Member 1998-present
    FCIL Publications Chair 2005-2009
    FCIL Publicity & Membership Chair 2009-2011

  • American Library Association
    Member 1987-1993, 2016-present

  • International Association of Law Libraries
    Member 2003-present

  • American Association of Law Schools
    Section on Law & Mental Disability Executive Board Member

  • American Society of International Law
    Member 2007-present

  • American Bar Association
    Member 1997-present

  • Allegheny County Bar Association
    Member 1997-present

  • Pittsburgh Vision Services - Business Advisory Committee
    Committee member 1999-2005

  • American Civil Liberties Union - Pittsburgh Chapter
    Member of Legal Committee 1994-2002

Programs & Courses