September 27, 1999
Due to a reporting service error, some text of the business meeting of July 20th is missing. The missing text is believed to be quite small in size and the location is marked in red below, in the transcribed text. The reporting service is checking their recording to replace the text and will do so at the earliest opportunity.
Proceedings of the 92nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Law Libraries
Held in Washington, D.C. July 17-22, 1999
Tuesday Morning Session One
President Heller: I'm pleased to invite again Susan Siebers, our Secretary, to present this item for discussion.
Ms. S. Siebers: At its meeting on February 26'27, 1999, the Executive Board approved proposed amendments to the AALL Bylaws. In accordance with the requirements of our Bylaws, these were duly published in the April 1999 issue of AALL Spectrum. All members at the Business Meeting should have picked up a copy of these amendments as you entered the room. Please be sure that you have these amendments on yellow paper and also the proposals which will be introduced later on bright blue, orange, and green paper. If you do not have them, they are at the tables on the side.
We have received a petition signed by 305 AALL members requesting that the proposed vote on AALL's Bylaws revisions be conducted by a ballot mailed to the entire membership. This exceeds the number of signatures necessary to meet the requirements for a mail ballot. Approval of the proposed revisions that were published in the April 1999 issue of AALL Spectrum will require a simple majority of votes cast in the mail ballot.
Although members may present and vote on amendments to these amendments, members cannot take a final vote on the Bylaws amendments at this Business Meeting. At the conclusion of the discussion and following any actions taken at the Business Meeting, President Jim Heller will authorize the mail ballot. Ballots are tentatively scheduled to be sent out on Monday, September 20, 1999, with a deadline of Friday, October 22, 1999. Ballots will be tabulated by members at AALL Headquarters on Monday, October 25, 1999, and announced shortly thereafter.
As Secretary, on behalf of the Executive Board, I move the adoption of the proposed Bylaws amendments.
President Heller: Thank you, Susan. Coming from the Board, no second is needed.
Before discussing the proposed amendments, I would like to provide a brief background to them. The Board has been immersed in the membership issue for the two years I've served, and for some time before that. We had two special committees before I came on the Board that recommended a more open membership. In the Spring of 1998, we commissioned an extensive survey to find out what our members and members of chapters think about who should be a AALL member, along with the corresponding rights and privileges.
The Board has debated the questions of rights and privileges of membership at length. I'll tell you honestly that last fall it looked like the Board would not be able to bring a proposal before you. We're a diverse group. Six of us work in law schools, two of us in courts, two in law firms, and one from a corporation. Although it looked like our individual beliefs would prevent us from moving forward, we were able to do so and we agreed unanimously to the proposal that is being presented to you. We were able to agree on the proposal. Each of us appreciated a few things. First, that we needed to amend our Bylaws to reflect our increasing diversity. We needed to think of our two types of memberships as categories rather than classes of membership. And we really had to understand what the word 'consensus' meant.
The proposal sets forth two categories of membership'members and associate members. Both are members of this Association. Under this proposal, associate members have all rights, save one. They cannot hold elected office, but they may serve on and chair committees and they may vote.
With regard to consensus, although it implies a joint enterprise, it really focuses on the individual. It means that I can accept the proposal. It may not be my ideal, but I can support it. Each of us, me included, probably knows how we could craft the 'perfect' Bylaw proposal if we only had to satisfy ourselves. But the Board and the Association are large communities. We don't have that freedom. When each Board member focused on the positives of the proposal, we found that we did have common ground.
We feel that this proposal deserves to go to the membership, that the members have the right to vote on it, and that it is a proposal which gives more people more opportunity to become more involved in AALL.
Today, a variety of people will come to the microphones to speak for or against the proposed amendments. We know that's going to happen. Those who oppose it will come from two different sides. Some people think that the proposal of the Board is too open and will suggest that we further limit the rights and privileges of those who fit in certain categories of membership. On the other side are those who believe the proposal does not go far enough, that everyone should have all rights and privileges, including the right to hold elective office. Once again, you can find among the Board individuals who, if we had carte blanche, might tend to agree with one side or the other, but as a Board we achieved consensus on the proposal before you today.
We believe that this is the right step for the Association to take at this time. It certainly will not be the end step, but it is the right step to take now. We hope the entire membership has an opportunity to vote on this proposal in the fall.
We will now discuss the Bylaws Amendments. As mentioned before, we will discuss each article separately. We will limit discussion on each article to ten minutes, except for Article IV, which has a 40-minute limitation, 30 minutes of which will be an informal discussion where we will not accept any motions, and then we will have a ten-minute formal session. Discussion will be so limited unless there is a motion to extend discussion for a specified time. I will announce, with the help of someone to my left, when 40 minutes is completed. If members wish to extend discussion, a motion to extend will require a two-thirds majority.
Once again, no member may speak for more than three minutes. We will consider each amendment in numerical order, beginning with Article II. Discussion will be limited to those amendments that have been proposed by the Board. Discussion of any other sections will be ruled out of order.
I will remind those people who wish to speak to please use the microphone. Identify yourself so that can be reported properly. Because we know we'll have some people speaking in favor of the proposal and others speaking against it from different sides, this is what we are going to do. If you wish to speak in favor of the proposal, use the center microphone. If you want to speak against the proposal because you think it is too liberal, use the microphone to my left. If you want to speak against the proposal because you think it is too limiting, use the microphone to my right. I will rotate from microphone to microphone so we'll hear all of the various comments.
I now invite members to present their views on the Bylaws amendments. We will begin with Article II. We are in formal session now. We only will be in informal session when we move to Article IV. Is there any discussion on Article II of the Bylaws proposal?
Hearing none, we'll move to Article III.
Hearing none, we'll move to Article IV. This is easy. Hearing none, we'll move to Article V. (Laughter)
Article IV. Was my presentation so persuasive? I'm just kidding. I declare an informal session for 30 minutes. Our Executive Director, Roger Parent, will keep note of the time elapsed. Once again, if you think the proposal is too liberal, speak at that microphone where Albert is. If you support the proposal, speak in the center microphone. If you think the proposal is too limiting, speak where Mark Estes is. Remember, no more than three minutes, informal session. No motions may be presented.
Mr. Albert Brecht (University of Southern California Law Library, Los Angeles, California): Jim, just a point of information before my three minutes starts running. At this point, we're just discussing generally. At the end, during the ten minute formal session, is where we take actual amendments. Is that right?
President Heller: After the informal discussion is completed, after 30 minutes, then we'll take actual formal motions.
Mr. A. Brecht: Just to speak, generally then. First of all, I really would like to thank the Board and also the current Bylaws Committee. What we have in front of us, proposed by the Board and that may go out for the mail ballot is, in my opinion at least, a great stride forward compared to what we had in front of us two years ago. I also want to repeat what Jim has said. I think the real strength of AALL is that a large percentage of membership really is interested in this Association.
Later on you have in the blue sheet some specific changes I proposed, but basically I think we're on the right road with the proposal from the Board.
On the other hand, I still think it would be very important to be sure that we don't ever have anyone running for the Board who has to be concerned with offending a vendor and not getting enough votes to be elected when they're stating their policy about what they're running on'their platform. So my proposal on the blue sheet of amendments will speak to reducing some rights of the non-active members. Thanks.
President Heller: Thank you. Center microphone.
Mr. Al Podboy (Baker & Hostetler, LLP, Cleveland, Ohio): I am speaking in favor of the Bylaws proposal as it's presented.
First of all, I would like to thank all the people that signed the petition to make this a mail-in vote. I think it's extremely important for our Association to have that type of procedure in place for this. I also agree with the fact that this is a consensus kind of proposal.
Now, the one thing I would like you all to do is close your eyes. Put yourself on a beach. You are the dean of an information school. You're sitting there with your laptop in hand. You have a Tequila Sunrise in one hand and you're listening to Jimmy Buffet. You go online. You get into lexis.com. You do a search there. You look through this information data base.
I read the proposed Bylaws as stating: 'Any person who is interested in the objectives of the Association and works with legal information.' Doesn't say is employed by the library or the information system. It says 'works with.' To me, that means toils, labors, sweats. 'Works with the information.'
I have clicked on the information. I've worked with legal information. 'Works with legal information in a library.' Not necessarily a law library. Any type of library that the individual is working with, legal information. Or information center. I submit that that laptop is an information center. When we're looking at what the information is, that is an information center to me. That person has a right to be an active member in our Association. That's my conclusion. I support the amendment. I think the Board did a great job in coming up with this amendment. I think it has room for everyone that we want to be an active member in this Association. Thank you.
Mr. Mark Estes (Holme, Roberts & Owen, Denver, Colorado): Mr. President, fellow members, I rise to speak against the proposed amendment for two reasons.
It doesn't do what it says it does, and it is exclusionary. It doesn't do what it says it tries to do because it will exclude librarians doing librarian work in the larger sense of what librarians are seeking to do today. It will exclude a chief knowledge officer in a law firm. I'm sorry but to me that is perhaps the dream job, one where I would be responsible for all aspects of information and technology in my law firm. I would not work in a library. I would not work actively with legal materials. I would be excluded.
This proposal is not about inclusion and faith. It does not have inclusion and it shows a tremendous lack of faith, lack of faith in us as individuals to vote for the best qualified candidates for whatever position we wish to vote for them.
It should not be about fear. It should be about our own trust and faith in ourselves to make a good decision. We cannot make fully informed decisions about who we wish to elect unless we can choose to elect anyone who is in support of our goals as an Association.
That is why I will propose an open membership amendment, one that would open the Association and give full rights to anyone who supports the goals of the Association. If that amendment fails, I will submit a second amendment that I believe will at least clarify what I think the Board wanted to do. You see that on my second amendment, 'limited open membership.' I do not wish to go that way. I wish us to go to full open membership, inclusive and trusting ourselves to make good judgments. Thank you.
Ms. Leah Chanin (Howard University Law School Library, Washington, D.C.): Mr. President and fellow members, I object to Section 2 on page 2 of your yellow handout, 'Rights of Members.' I specifically object to the portion of Section 2a that permits commercial people'I'll use that term for lack of a better one'specifically, vendor-type people, to serve on and chair AALL committees and to vote in elections.
In my opinion, there is an inherent conflict of interest, no matter how well intended they are, between a vendor and a non-vendor member. For example, on many committees, such as copyright, it's very difficult for me to believe that our common interests are not exceeded by the conflict of interest between a publisher or vendor and a member. There are many other committees, even scholarships, where, in my view, these people, although our friends, have inherent conflicts of interest.
I also object to the last sentence in Section 2a that allows Special Interest Sections to 'adopt policies governing the rights of their members.' I think just as a matter of governance of our Association, our Special Interest Sections, which are an integral and important part of the Association, should not have different rules. They are not separate entities like our chapters, which tend to be closer to the concept of a separate entity. A special interest section is just a part of our Association and should be governed by whatever it is that we do here. We shouldn't have different rules pertaining to membership and so forth for SISs than we have for our general association. But I do object strongly and repeat that I think there is an inherent conflict of interest between a vendor type member and other type of members serving on and chairing committees and voting in our elections. Thank you.
President Heller: Thank you. Your time is up. Center microphone. I will notify you when you have one minute left.
Mr. Karl Gruben (Vinson & Elkins, L.L.P., Houston, Texas): I'm here on behalf of another member who is unable to be with us this week. I'll read her statement:
'Good morning and greetings from the great state of Texas, home of the 1999 Stanley Cup champions, the Dallas Stars, and the 1999 NBA champions, the San Antonio Spurs. (Laughter)
'I may look like Karl Gruben, but in reality I am Mary Smith Forman, director of the Research Library at USAA in San Antonio, Texas. I have been a member of AALL for 17 years. I was a law librarian until 1996, and, by my calculation, will not be eligible for membership after mid-2003 if the Bylaws are not changed. I apologize for not speaking in person, but family obligations prevent my attendance for the first time since the Detroit meeting in 1982.
'I spoke in favor of the Bylaws revision proposal two years ago in Baltimore and asked President Heller if I could speak again in 1999, albeit through my fellow Texan, Mr. Gruben.
'My support of and interest in this Bylaw change is very simple. AALL is the only professional library association that I care deeply about. My roots are in AALL. I have served AALL through national and chapter involvement for 17 years. I have chosen not to serve extensively in any other library-related association.
'But beyond my personal selfish reasons, I urge you to consider what is best for the Association. If you are not in favor of the amendment, what negative value do you think my continued participation and involvement in AALL might bring? I believe that I have a different perspective on law, law librarianship, and access to information now that I am not in a traditional law library. But the value I bring to the Association is just that very perspective. While my current day-to-day job may not require any contact with case law, it does require, among other things, contact and familiarity with legislative and regulatory issues. In my current position, I am called upon daily to use the knowledge and skills acquired in law librarianship. No matter what my level of involvement in the Association might be in the future, I believe that the knowledge, skills, and perspective I have are just what AALL needs. I am not a negative. I am a positive!
'Please open up your minds to the possibilities that a more open membership can bring. Change, for the right reasons, is a good thing. Change of culture is one of the hardest to achieve in any organization. I ask you to view this change as an opportunity for people like myself to bring additional quality, value, and energy to AALL. I ask the membership to vote in favor of the proposed change.
'Thank you for your time and best wishes for a successful meeting.'
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since 1971, and this subject keeps coming up and up.
I would prefer to see the amendments offered by Mark Estes passed. If they do not, I would be prepared to vote in favor of the Board's proposal because I think it moves the issue in the right direction.
Our profession in related industries are undergoing a lot of change. I think any limitations are very likely to have unintended consequences and limit and exclude people that we may not wish to exclude. I don't think the issues of conflicts of interest are all that clear. I come from a traditional institution, you might say, but we are publishers as well as purchasers of information, so even in my own head there's a certain conflict from time to time.
I am prepared to trust the President and the Board to appoint appropriate people to lead the Association, and I am prepared to trust the members of the Association to vote for the people that will further the values and interest of the Association. I would prefer to see no limitations on the rights of any members.
President Heller: Thank you. So many people, so little time. If there is any fluff in your presentations, don't feel compelled to use up your entire three minutes. Left microphone.
Mr. Adrian White (Howard University School of Law, Washington, D.C.): Two years ago when this came up, I spoke against it and two years later I think it's even more important that I speak against it now. As we see fewer and fewer vendors in the Exhibit Hall, as there is more and more consolidation of individual vendors, it is by far ever more important that we avoid allowing those vendors to co-opt this Association.
We speak about allowing those who share the interests of the Association to become members, but what shall those interests be? They should be the interests of the people who use legal information. They should be the interests of the librarians who give that information to their patrons. They should not be the interests of vendors who only want to sell their products and who favor their financial gains over their competitors.
Now, I ask you, is it important that we cherish the values that we have in keeping information neutral and in giving our patrons the best information regardless of vendor? I think it is. To suggest that we might have a vendor chairing something like the Vendor-Neutral Citation Committee is absolutely ludicrous. I urge the membership to vote against it, and I hope that you will think clearly about what allowing vendors to be chairs of committees and to vote might mean for the Association. Thank you.
President Heller: Thank you. Center microphone.
Ms. Shirley David (Sacramento County Law Library, Sacramento, California): As the Chair of the State, Court, and County Law Libraries SIS, I am presenting the following resolution:
Whereas the State, Court, and County Law Libraries SIS has twice before in the past decade overwhelmingly voted in favor of open membership for AALL; and
Whereas the Executive Board of the State, Court, and County Law Libraries SIS recognizes the need to include trustees and similar members of governing boards as full participating members of AALL; and
Whereas the Executive Board of the State, Court, and County Law Libraries SIS notes that the American Library Association, the Special Libraries Association, and most state library associations have open membership and do not suffer from dominance or conflict of interest problems because of vendor members.
Therefore the Executive Board of the State, Court, and County Law Libraries SIS unanimously voted on Saturday, July 17, 1999, to support the proposed Bylaw amendment, and urges the members of AALL to do so too.
President Heller: Thank you.
Ms. Kathie Sullivan (Downs, Rachlin & Martin, Burlington, Vermont): I am the new chair of the Private Law Libraries SIS but these opinions are my own and are not from the Board.
I rise to speak in favor of the proposed Bylaw which will create two classes of members. I support the changes before us for a number of reasons; most importantly because we must take this first step toward having a unified association that represents the best in law librarianship. But I will also listen to any revised language or amendments that will allow certain types of associate members to hold elective office in the Association. If that language is not agreed upon at this time, I will hope such a change becomes a second step we take in our efforts to unify our Association.
It strikes me as being very shortsighted that we spend a lot of time working with newer members through CONELL, grooming the next generation of leaders through the Mentoring Committee, and working to make sure our Association is inclusive through the efforts of the Diversity Committee. Yet, we are ready and willing to shortchange ourselves by making sure some of the best and brightest of our members will never lead us because their employer does not have the word 'library' in their name. Many library schools do not have the word in their name anymore.
We all know the people I am talking about, people who would make fine Association leaders. They've chaired SIS's and committees. They've chaired successful local arrangement committees or program planning committees. But because they work for a legal publisher, they are no longer viable.
Again, I say this is short-sighted on our part. There are a lot of members who fear certain vendors will plant candidates to run for office, and those candidates will win and we will lose our objectivity. We risk losing our objectivity every time we walk into a social event at this meeting. I have to believe we can be effective librarians, informed consumers, and still break bread with a vendor.
No highly-placed vendor will be running for president of AALL. First of all, why would they want to? They have plenty to do. Secondly, I have to think our members would exercise the system of checks and balances in place. Full members are likely to outnumber the associate members, and I would hope no one would win an election if they had not proven themselves with prior service. Isn't this what the business of the Nominations Committee is? Finally, some legal publishers offer viable career alternatives for librarians and use librarians to offer customer service features that might not be as effective in the hands of someone I will call an outsider. Some of these librarians have served the Association in the past, and we are doing our Association an injustice if we eliminate them from serving in the future.
I'm happy with the elimination of the seven-year rule. I'm happy with the inclusion of independent librarians as full members with all rights, and I'm happy this will be going to a mail ballot. (Applause.)
President Heller: Thank you.
Mr. Paul Fu (Ohio Supreme Court Law Library, Columbus, Ohio): I agree completely with Leah Chanin's conflict of interest argument. I want to add to that argument another potential problem we will have to face: we may have to change our name from American Association of Law Libraries to that of American Association of Law Libraries and Legal Information vendors if this is adopted. Thank you.
President Heller: Thank you. Center microphone.
Ms. Kathleen Carrick (Case Western Reserve University Law School Library, Cleveland, Ohio): Good morning. This morning I'm speaking in favor of open membership, either as we have in the present resolution or in Mark Estes' amendment. I am speaking in favor of the open membership as the former chair of the Renaissance Committee. That committee recognized that law librarians have many roles. We can contribute in many ways through our profession. The committee's feeling was that the future of our profession is to include the many individuals who work and serve this changing profession.
My other hat here today is as past-president of ORALL, the Ohio Regional Association of Law Libraries. That chapter is celebrating its 50th year in 1999, and we have always had an open membership criteria of 'natural persons interested in law libraries.' We have a strong history of vendors being members. Recently we have had a president who became a vendor rep after he became elected. He was a very good president. I must say, as president I always thought of Cindy Spohr not as the wonderful vendor rep that she is, but as an excellent and dedicated chair of the Scholarships Committee. These folks are hard workers, and I would urge our membership to acknowledge the variety of roles that we ourselves may have in our own professional careers.
I really think that this is a right step in the direction for open membership. Thank you.
President Heller: Thank you. We have about five minutes left in our open discussion session. When we reach 12:15, we are to adjourn. Do we have consent of the body to extend discussion for an additional 15 minutes right now?
Unidentified Speaker: Does that leave time for amendments?
President Heller: We'll have to do another extension at that point. We're going to do 15 minutes at a time.
Ms. Joanne Dugan (Pierce Atwood, Portland, Maine): I've been a firm librarian for the past five years and before that I was a state court librarian. I have had a lot of exposure to the vendors. Most of it has been very amiable, although there have been some really spectacular locking of horns on occasion. I consider myself to be very neutral. I'm not pro-vendor or anti-vendor, but I think about the individuals who work for the vendors, and they're really quality people. So I support including them in our Association, but I do not think that we should be limiting them from elected office. We are all independent enough to make our decisions about the individuals, and that is exactly the definition of an election, so I would support Mark Estes' amendment.
President Heller: Thank you.
Mr. Donald Dunn (Western New England College School of Law, Springfield, Massachusetts): This is my 30th year in membership in AALL and my 26th consecutive meeting, including the last three years as a law school dean.
I have been, some would say, 'promoted' to law school dean, and yet at the same time I no longer have the right to be a full member, as I understand the proposed language. I don't think that's the intent of this Association. I think the intent of the Association is to encourage people who have been long-serving members of the Association to continue that activity.
I could very easily be standing in those lines. (Pointing to other microphones.) This one just happened to be shorter. (Laughter) All I'm asking'and this is a very, very selfish reason for asking'is to be able to continue to be an active member of this Association. And I want to be able to serve the Association, if asked, in any capacity whatsoever; and therefore, I would like for you to endorse the educational institution language that Al Brecht has proposed. Thank you.
President Heller: In fairness to everyone to hear a variety of opinions, please stand in the line we've assigned'the proper line. And I may suggest the more concise your statements, the more persuasive they may be. Center microphone.
Mr. Charles Dyer (San Diego County Public Law Library, San Diego, California): Thank you, President Heller. My advocacy for open membership began twelve years ago when I became director of the San Diego County Public Law Library, a library with a board of trustees.
The Executive Board's proposal is much like the American Library Association's membership rules. To obtain literature on how to deal with the trustees, I had to go to the American Library Association and similar associations. The American Library Association, which welcomes anyone as a member and encourages vendors to join, has as one of its divisions the American Library Trustee Association. The California Library Association, which also welcomes anyone as a member, has the California Association of Library Trustees and Commissioners.
Many of the trustees actively involved with these associations also participate in other divisions and on committees. I wondered why there were no trustees at AALL meetings. Other libraries in the State, Court, and County Law Libraries SIS have wondered the same. We now invite our trustees to come routinely. AALL now seeks extra funding from such organizations as the State Justice Institute in order to get more trustees and similarly interested people to attend our annual meetings. SCCLL/SIS has advocated open membership for nearly a decade. The trustees have now caucused for a second year at this meeting in preparation for creating their own SIS. Of course, since trustees presently cannot be voting members, we librarians have to create the SIS for them.
What do trustees contribute? They remind us why we exist. In order to do something well, first you must remember your mission. AALL, according to its name, is an association of law libraries, not law librarians. Job security and librarian training are only important in the context of helping law libraries be better.
In order to get this Association off its duff, I support this compromise Bylaw provision even though the provision limiting elected officers to law librarians is a sop given to the naysayers who have an inordinate fear of losing AALL to the vendors. To them, I say that this Association is already so controlled by vendors that they don't need to vote. Without West Group, LEXIS-NEXIS, and the others, we cannot even pull off this Annual Meeting. In fact, I believe you will find that trustees and other library users, once they become members of AALL, will remind us of our purpose and will provide us with the backbone to go head to head with vendors when it is needed. Trustees don't have jobs to lose. They have something much more valuable'their libraries. We are only the caretakers. We need to let the owners in.
President Heller: Thank you.
Ms. Kay Todd (Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker, Atlanta, Georgia): I speak in favor of an opening of the membership, but one that would be more liberal than the version proposed by the Board. And in doing so, I would like to elevate the musical reference point provided by our esteemed chair from Joe Cocker to Bob Dylan and say that the times they are a changing.
Let me make two points in the area of change. The first is that I think it's difficult for us to any longer define the entity within which people work, and as we move toward what may be more virtual settings for our members in supporting users of legal information or training them, I think it is a mistake to define us as being in a library or information center.
My second point is that change continues in each of our personal careers, and we are seeing more and more of us take positions in other areas of legal information that may move us into the publisher's side, or into the academic side in a related organization, or in the law firm environment to being a chief knowledge information officer.
I think, therefore, that it would be wiser for us as we move toward opening the membership to do so in a way that does not create these sorts of categories. As we move into different positions within the publishing industry, perhaps, or in other organizations, I think the Association risks being a temporary stopping point for people whom it welcomes at one point and turns away at another point. I think unless you build life-time allegiance with your members, you lack a coherent, cohesive, ongoing group of supportive members.
President Heller: Thank you.
Mr. Frank Drake (Arnstein & Lehr, Chicago, Illinois): I certainly support a very open membership and our Association, by this proposed Bylaws amendment, would certainly become one of the most open membership associations, I suspect, of most professionals.
There are some associations I was told'and I hope it was not inaccurately'such as the American Medical Association, that do not allow membership to commercial interests. We allow membership to commercial interests. I think commercial interests are certainly appropriate. They support us, and they have been supporting these meetings wonderfully well. We are all very grateful.
My only regret or concern is the proposals relating to chairing committees and Special Interest Sections. I feel that commercial vendors' input in Special Interest Sections and in committees is highly valuable. Membership on committees would be highly valuable in many, many cases, but to chair and lead and direct the Special Interest Sections and the committees, I think is very likely a conflict of interest. Thank you very much.
President Heller: Thank you. Center microphone.
Ms. M. Kathleen Price (New York University Law Library, New York, New York): Like my colleagues, the other past presidents from the mid-'80s, Bob Berring and Lolly Gasaway, I believe in open membership, but I accept the fact that that may have to come incrementally.
I would like to remind you of the expression of a little bit of fear that we heard the other day from the vice-president of the American Publishers Association, who reminded us that the work of librarians and publishers is becoming more and more alike in the electronic era. So many of us are engaging in these activities in our own lives that we've gone out and we've joined other associations where we've found a community of interest and an educational program that's been valuable to us. We haven't taken over those organizations, but we've brought back valuable lessons from them to share with our own colleagues here.
I don't know if the LEXIS and Westlaw representatives in our law school would join this organization if they had an opportunity, but I do know that they share the core values of our reference librarians. They have a body of knowledge in common with us. They have a desire to train and to serve.
I don't know if the person who maintains the digest system at the West Publishing Company will join our Association, but I do know that our cataloging and classification colleagues would benefit greatly from the knowledge that he has.
I would also like to remind you, as someone heading into my fourth decade of membership in this Association, that, as Edgar Bellfontaine told us the other day, the times really are changing and so is the profession. Look at the law firms that defined their practices very narrowly and have gone out of business. Let's become the Arthur Anderson of the library associations and be as broad as we possibly can in defining our interests and essentially making a home for all of us who share those core values.
President Heller: Thank you.
Ms. Marian Parker (Matthew Bender & Co., Inc., New York, New York): I am Director of Professional Relations for Matthew Bender, on loan to Lexis Publishing as Senior Director of Law Schools and Courts, and soon to be an academic law library director at my alma mater, Wake Forest. I stand here as the living example of the type of person to whom you are considering opening this membership. I've spent 21 years in this profession, sometimes in the academic environment and sometimes in the publishing industry. I'm always a law librarian and believe that I serve this profession when I am in the publishing industry in a very significant way by helping the publishers learn what our issues are.
This is my professional organization, the one to which I want to volunteer my time, energy, and efforts. I am willing to take the step of limited, open membership in order to get to full, open membership. I can assure you that no publisher is going to pay for an employee to spend the time to take over an organization. There's other work to do.
I also know that we can trust the officers whom we elect and the committees that they appoint to do the job that has always been done for this organization.
Again, I'm what you fear. I hope that you consider strongly the fact that there will be more of me and us as we move in and out of the variety of opportunities that exist for law librarians in the legal information industry. (Applause)
President Heller: Thank you.
Mr. Sam Trosow (University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California): I'm glad I get to follow the last speaker because I just want to say you are not what we fear. What I want to say, and the reason I speaking and objecting to this, is that proposed Section b(1) is much, much broader.
When you use the language 'employees of the information industry,' we're not just talking about employees of the information industry who have been librarians that have worked in this Association who now are working for a vendor. We're talking about non-librarian employees of the information industry. The information industry includes a lot of entities, all sorts of software companies and publishers and people we haven't seen. And while it may be true that a company may not want to pay their employees to spend a lot of time, they do have the vote and it's something that can be bought. And the way this is drafted, there are no limitations. That's what I'm concerned about.
Even when we look at individuals we know who have worked in this Association, these companies are bought and sold. The people we know may not be there, it may be another set of people. So I think saying non-library employees of the information industry opens ourselves up to a whole lot of people. Thank you.
President Heller: My watch indicates that we have time for one more speaker during our informal session.
Unidentified Speaker: Move to extend.
President Heller: We would move to extend for how long? Remember, after the informal session we move to a formal session where motions may be presented.
Unidentified Speaker: Ten minutes.
President Heller: We would need a two-thirds vote to do that. We also need a second.
Unidentified Speaker: Second.
Mr. A. Brecht: Would that still leave us time for our amendments?
President Heller: It will give us ten minutes for our formal session, because we will adjourn at 12:45.
Mr. A. Brecht: We do have to get the amendments in place today so they can be voted on?
President Heller: Yes, we do. We have a motion on the floor to extend for ten minutes. It's been seconded. That's to extend the informal discussion for ten minutes where no motions can be presented but people may express their opinions. We need a two-thirds vote to adopt that motion. All in favor? All opposed?
President Heller: Everybody in favor, please stand. Please sit down. All opposed. I'm advised it looks like we have two-thirds, so we will extend informal discussion for ten minutes. Center microphone.
Ms. Sarah Wiant (Washington & Lee University School of Law Library, Lexington, Virginia): I've been a member of this Association since 1970 when I was a mere 'child librarian.' I support open membership and I have supported it. I'm not sure we started talking about open membership in 1970, but I know we were talking about in the early 1980s.
I would very much like to see us move on this issue and move forward. As I say, I support open membership. I support the language of the Board, and I support full voting rights. I'm not unsympathetic, however, to those such as Leah and other colleagues who have raised the issue of conflict of interest. I think we could answer that by simply limiting the rights of associate members so that they could not serve on the Board nor chair committees. If we are very concerned about conflict of interest, then we could restructure the committees so that associate members would always be in the minority, and that would address, I think, the conflict of interest issue. Thank you.
President Heller: Thank you.
Mr. Robert L. Oakley (Georgetown University Law Center, Edward Bennett Williams Library, Washington, D.C.): Mr. President, I speak today as Director of the Law Library at Georgetown. I am not yet a member of the Executive Board.
I had not planned to speak today on this issue, but as many of you know I have had concerns in the past about some of the proposals to open up membership, and so I thought I should share my current thinking on that with you.
My concern in the past has been what has been articulated here today about the impact on our public policy positions, and since I work in the public policy area, I've had great concerns about that. However, at its last meeting, the Board did adopt a conflict of interest policy for itself and for three committees'CRIV, Copyright, and the Government Relations Committee. With the adoption of that policy, my concern about the open membership issue has changed completely, and I am now prepared to support an open membership proposal and, indeed, would support the proposal that Mark Estes is prepared to make here today, because that problem is now solved for me.
However, we have seen last year that apparently that more expansive open membership proposal may not have the support of our full membership, so in the absence of that I would support the current proposal of the Board.
In any event, one thing I do want to say here is that I think it's important that this issue be put to a vote. If there are parliamentary maneuvers here that are non-debatable, parliamentary maneuvers that would take that vote away, I would hope we would defeat them so that we could make sure that this goes to a vote of the membership. Thank you.
President Heller: Thank you.
Ms. Nanna K. Frye (California Court of Appeal, San Diego, California): I think it is highly appropriate that this issue is being raised in the federal seat of our government where checks and balances are so important. I see no checks on vendor members and they clearly have conflicts of interests with certain goals of our organization.
The announcement about this policy is news to me and it may be to the rest of the membership, but it concerns me that this is a policy written by the Board. It is not part of our governing document, and so at any point the AALL Board could change the policy and the membership would have no say in that change of policy.
I also see no checks on the powers of our president to appoint vendor reps to committees. I see no checks on their voting powers on issues that clearly work against the interest of professional librarians and their institutions. An example of this is our Association getting involved in a lawsuit and filing an amicus brief.
While I welcome the thoughts and ideas of non-law librarians and feel they have wonderful contributions to offer, and I truly do mean that, they should not have full membership privileges, in my opinion.
President Heller: Thank you. Center microphone.
Mr. Frank G. Houdek (Southern Illinois University School of Law Library, Carbondale, Illinois): I have worn many hats in this Association and continue to wear many. I could respond to the comments that we have heard this morning wearing any one of those hats. I will keep my comments brief, however, and in the interest of time I only will put on my hat as chair of the Committee on Relations with Information Vendors this past year and continuing into the next.
As many of you know, CRIV this year had three individuals who, at the time they were members of the committee, were employed by publishers. Our experience was extremely positive. Those individuals brought to the committee expertise that we, as librarians, did not have. They added to the work of the committee. They did not detract. They in no way were divisive, they in no way attempted to somehow follow any agenda other than what the committee as a whole was trying to do.
I wrote a short article for the last CRIV Sheet which described our experience with publisher representatives on the committee. I'm sure any member of the committee would be happy to talk with you about this experience.
I will make one additional comment, relating to a hat I wore two years ago, that of president of the Association, and even a year before that when I was president-elect. At that time I wore the shoes that Jim Heller wore when he was asked to make committee appointments. I wore the shoes that Margie Axtmann has worn this past spring when she was expected to make committee appointments. I wore the shoes that Bob Oakley will wear this coming spring when he makes those appointments. Believe me, those appointments are one of the most important responsibilities of the president-elect. We take that responsibility very seriously. We look at every single individual who volunteers and we think about what they can bring to committee service. Frankly, I am prepared to trust the judgment of Margie Axtmann, to trust the judgment of Bob Oakley. And if you don't trust me, don't worry, I'm a past president so I won't be doing it again.
President Heller: Thank you. We have time for two more speakers.
Ms. Carol Billings (Law Library of Louisiana, New Orleans, Louisiana): My move from the center line to this line was not an attempt to get in a shorter line but rather to become a more honest woman.
As I stood there listening to those in this line, I realized that what they were saying was what I really believe. I suspect that when we actually vote, the proposal that the Board recommends is what will probably pass and I would be quite satisfied with that. However, I would be even happier to see us open the membership and give all rights to everyone, and I would very much like to see us have the opportunity to vote on that option before we perhaps move to the other.
The past few days that I have been here, I feel that I have benefited tremendously from the presence of people who are not already full members of our Association. Our state, court, and county group has had with us a number of judges, clerks, court administrators, and other people of that sort, who not only have been wonderful speakers but, as members of the audience, have asked questions, agreed with us, given us their perspective, and, most importantly, given us their support. They have invited us to join with them in cooperative efforts, and I feel that it's very important for us to give them the support of saying, we want you to be part of us, we very much appreciate your opinions. We want you to vote with us, and we would trust you so much that if you became so active that you were interested in holding office, we would want you to do that as well.
I have also benefitted a great deal from the largesse of some of the publishers who have been here. I have attended social events with other members who are here on scholarships and grants because of those publishers. So I think it's not fair of us to say to them we will expect good things from you but we do not want to hear your opinions or have you vote with us.
So in the spirit of collegiality, I want everybody to have the benefits of membership, but if we cannot go the whole way, I urge you to then to vote for the compromise measure that our Board has proposed.
President Heller: Thank you. Seeing no one at that microphone, we will move to the center microphone for our final comment.
Mr. Patrick E. Kehoe (American University, Washington College of Law Library, Washington, D.C.): As with several other speakers, I also am a former president of AALL, as many of you know. I'm in the correct line because I think the compromise that the Board has proposed is absolutely appropriate and the time is right. I could have been persuaded to be over there in that line to my left, except for one instance, and that was during the time when I was in the presidential group and we became involved in a conflict with one of our vendor friends over citation reform. Due to the process that existed, the committee or task force that my predecessor had appointed to resolve the matter of vendor neutral citations became gridlocked and so did others. What we did, we thanked that particular group for their hard work, created a successor group, and got the gridlock removed. So the process worked, and it would continue to work because governance would remain in the consumer end of our Association. Thank you.
President Heller: Thank you. Our time for the informal session has expired. We now will move to the formal session to which we've allocated ten minutes. In this session, we'll do it in whatever order you get to the microphone. I think Mr. Estes was first.
Mr. M. Estes: Mr. President, I move the adoption of substitute Article IV, which you will find in your orange sheets.
There are two important distinctions about this substitute. An active member, as proposed in my amendment, must 'support' the objectives of the Association. An associate member is one who either is 'interested in' the objectives, is a student member, or is a member who we have made an honorary member. 'Support' is a larger level of commitment than 'interest.' I ask for a second and urge the adoption of this amendment to the amendment.
President Heller: Thank you. Do we have a second?
Unidentified Speaker: Second.
President Heller: Discussion? Albert, are you standing up there to move or to discuss?
Mr. A. Brecht: I would talk immediately if I were going to discuss it with him.
President Heller: We have a motion on the floor right now that we need to discuss. We are discussing the orange sheet. It says 'Mark Estes'Proposal #1: Open Membership.' It has been moved and seconded.
Ms. L. Chanin: Mr. President, I find it very curious that there's an intent here of expanding the membership and yet Mr. Estes is proposing that the retired membership category be restricted to someone who's been an active member for more than ten years. This is nothing personal. I've been a member of this Association for 35 years, but I don't understand this. If a person retires after two years or one-and-a-half years, and so forth, they're still a retired member of the Association. I do not understand why you would want to restrict the category of retired membership in such a way. I would oppose this amendment.
Mr. M. Estes: Point of clarification, Mr. Chair. The retired membership category in my proposal is the same as the existing Bylaw.
President Heller: The same as what we have now?
Mr. M. Estes: That's correct.
President Heller: Further discussion on Estes Open Membership?
I think I can ask a question for clarification? I'm chair. I can do anything I want, right? I noticed you have a category called 'Members'Active and Retired' and another called 'Associate Members.' The active category says any person who supports the objectives of the Association. I read that as being total inclusive. If that's the case, why would you have an associate member category?
Mr. M. Estes: Mr. President, I propose the Associate Membership category for three types of individuals. One is those who are interested in the Association, the work of the Association, but may not wish to actively support it. A second are student members who are willing to pay smaller dues and thus be eligible to receive a slightly smaller rights package. And, finally, there are honorary members, individuals on whom we have conferred a right of honorary membership in recognition of their service. I believe we have one, perhaps two, honorary members at this time. Judy Genesen is one that comes to my mind.
Ms. Carol Avery Nicholson (University of North Carolina Law Library, Chapel Hill, North Carolina): I speak in opposition to this particular amendment just because it's too confusing, and I say that in all honesty. I think it's just a lot of wordsmithing and it seems like it's just not clear enough. Even though I don't necessarily support what it's saying, I still don't even understand what it's trying to say.
President Heller: Further discussion? Hearing none, we will vote on Estes Proposal #1 for Open Membership, the orange sheet.
Mr. A. Brecht: Just a point of order. Isn't all of the voting on the amendments to be done on Wednesday? Don't our rules require that we lay them out here and the votes actually occur on the amendments on Wednesday?
President Heller: No. This is on the floor and under the Rules of Conduct we adopted, we said that we will vote on the proposals during our formal session, including motions.
Mr. A. Brecht: Then what do we vote on, if anything, on Wednesday?
President Heller: Whatever is left over, if we move into that time.
Mr. A. Brecht: Whatever is left over? In past years, as I recall it, we always took the amendments during the first meeting and then we always voted up or down on the amendments at the second. But this proposal has to go out by mail ballot eventually, so...
President Heller: Yes, that is correct, whatever happens here will go out for a mail ballot.
Mr. A. Brecht: That's the reason I thought we were voting on the amendments, up or down, on Wednesday.
President Heller: No, we're voting up or down on the amendments during the formal session, which is right now. If this is voted up, then this would be the proposal that would go to the membership by mail ballot in September. Okay?
Ms. K. Todd: I have a point of order.
President Heller: Yes?
Ms. K. Todd: I wonder if you would entertain a motion to postpone the vote on these amendments to enable the membership to have an additional day to talk among ourselves and perhaps urge more people to be in the room at that time than are currently present. If so, I wish to move the postponement.
President Heller: Let me consult with our parliamentarian. (The Chair consulted with the parliamentarian.) That requires a second, and it is debatable. We have a second?
Unidentified Speaker: I'll second.
President Heller: Consider the fact that some of the members who may attend Wednesday may not have participated in this discussion that we have had here today, and some of the members who are here today may not be here for the discussion or vote on Wednesday.
The Chair recognizes Charley Dyer.
Mr. C. Dyer: I think it's fairly obvious to all of us, though, that we have lost a large number of people who were present here earlier in the discussion during the informal period. To have those people cut out of the vote when they may be back here on Wednesday is unfair. I don't think they suspected that the vote was going to happen at this point, or they might have stayed around. Albert Brecht and I are on opposite sides, and yet I agree with him, we should do the vote on Wednesday.
President Heller: Further discussion?
Mr. F. Houdek: Mr. Chairman, as much as I hate to prolong the process, and I've been in your place and understand what you're going through right now, I think it's appropriate to delay voting. I support the motion to hold the vote on the amendments until tomorrow. While it is true some people who attend tomorrow may not have heard that discussion, I suspect that the people who will come back tomorrow will be the same people who were here today. I know for myself I have a committee meeting I had to go to five minutes ago, and I suspect there are others in that same position. I just don't think that these important amendments will get the kind of consideration that they deserve without postponing.
President Heller: Further discussion? The motion is to postpone a vote on Estes Proposal #1 until tomorrow, is that correct?
Ms. K. Todd: Postpone all of the amendments.
President Heller: Okay. Then let's have someone restate the motion.
Ms. K. Todd: I'm the originator of the motion, and my motion is that we postpone the vote on any amendments to the Board's proposed amendment until Wednesday.
President Heller: Any amendments? Because we only have one before us now.
Ms. K. Todd: Yes.
President Heller: Okay. Everybody understand? Second? Do we have a second?
Unidentified Speaker: Second.
President Heller: All in favor? (Chorus of ayes.) All opposed? (No response.)
President Heller: Passed.
Mr. A. Brecht: Mr. Chairman, are we not going to be able to at least take up the amendments so we can get them on the floor? I would like to at least propose my blue sheet of amendments so that they can be voted on on Wednesday.
President Heller: The Chair rules that we can accept other motions now and that any vote on those motions, if it's seconded, will be taken tomorrow.
Mr. A. Brecht: I would like to move the motions that I had on the blue sheet, and we can even discuss them on Wednesday. I know you've got to move onto other things.
President Heller: Second?
Unidentified Speaker: Second.
President Heller: Discussion?
Mr. M. Estes: Mr. Chair?
President Heller: Yes?
Mr. M. Estes: You are accepting a second motion even though we have one motion on the floor which has been postponed, is that correct?
President Heller: That's right. To formally introduce it.
Mr. M. Estes: Okay. I just want to be sure that that's what we're doing, because if we are proposing additional motions to be seconded so they're in the queue, then I must, of course, propose now my second motion.
President Heller: Hold off on that one, Mark. We'll get it. You can introduce motions tomorrow. Everybody understands that, right?
Mr. A. Brecht: You could introduce them tomorrow as well?
President Heller: Oh, yes, absolutely.
Mr. A. Brecht: Normally, at least as I remember the past, we always introduced them all on one particular day, and on that next day it was only for the vote, not new motions to be introduced the next day, with the idea of providing this 24-hour discussion period.
President Heller: Well, everybody does have the sheets. The main purpose of that is so people are apprised of what's coming up. So I think we've met that purpose.
Mr. A. Brecht: I agree.
Ms. C. Nicholson: Except I have a slightly different motion. I would like to submit an amendment to what is written on Al Brecht's blue sheet.
President Heller: That's not in order. This issue will be discussed and voted on tomorrow. Let's just close this one down and deal with these things tomorrow, okay?
Mr. A. Brecht: Point of information.
President Heller: Yes.
Mr. A. Brecht: I would like to understand the procedural posture, since we have more than one motion on the floor, how this is going to work. If Mark Estes' first motion is approved, is that the end of it? We don't get to...
President Heller: Yes, it is.
Mr. A. Brecht: What happens? How does this work?
President Heller: I believe that if the Estes' motion is approved, then incorporated within the Brecht motion would have to be an amendment to what the group had just done. Right? (The Chair consulted with the parliamentarian.) I'm advised that I am right for the first time.
Mr. A. Brecht: Can you just repeat that, Mr. Chairman?
President Heller: I'm advised that if the Estes Open Membership proposed amendment is passed, then yours would be on the floor. Your amendment would be to substitute your proposal for the Estes proposal. We will only have one motion on the floor at one time, and it's conceivable that one may pass or that none may pass.
Unidentified Speaker: What about the rest of the amendments, Mr. President? Are they not allowed to be presented today? Will all the other amendments that have been proposed using the proper procedure of submitting your amendment to the secretary, won't they be accepted tomorrow and be voted on tomorrow? Such amendments as Brecht's proposal and then Mark's second proposal? And I submitted one on a slightly different topic. Won't they be accepted tomorrow?
President Heller: Yes, we'll accept motions tomorrow.
Unidentified Speaker: Thank you.
President Heller: Absolutely. Motion to adjourn?
Unidentified Speaker: Adjourn.
President Heller: Second?
Unidentified Speaker: Second.
President Heller: All in favor?
The Chair will now recess this session of the general business meeting. See you tomorrow at 3:00.
[The general business meeting, Session One, was concluded at 1:10 p.m.]