ARCHIVED: Roger H. Parent's Informal Notes - 2/26/1998

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February 26, 1998


Ballot Mailing Schedule and Election Results

The 1998 AALL Ballots will be mailed to AALL's voting members on Friday, March 6th. The deadline for responses is Friday April 3rd. This schedule complies with the Association's Bylaws requirements. The tabulation of results is scheduled for Monday morning, April 6th. In accordance with our established practice three members from the CALL Chapter will serve as the Election Committee upon confirmation by President Judy Meadows. Usually the tabulation is finished by noon. Once completed and certified by the Election Committee, I will notify Secretary Susan Siebers. She will contact all the candidates immediately. Once all candidates have been contacted, Susan will post a message on the Executive Board listserv, on Lawlib and AALLNET informing everyone of the results. Watch for the posting of results on Monday, April 6th by mid-day.

Dues Invoices Schedule

Dues invoices for the 1998-99-membership year will be mailed to library directors and individual members during the week of March 2nd. Although the actual dues invoices for institutional members are mailed directly to the library director, all members of AALL will receive a membership renewal mailing again this year. Those whose membership dues are paid by their employer will receive and letter and promotional brochure informing them that their invoices were mailed to their employers.

All members will also receive a Member Profile Form again this year. Last year, more than 2000 members completed the form. All members will be asked to either complete the form for the first time, or update last year's information. They will also receive a "Message from the President-Elect" encouraging their renewal; a four-page brochure highlighting the benefits of membership; and a 'Giving Opportunities' flyer which illustrates the various Funds to which they can make voluntary contributions.

A comparison of invoices mailed for this year and 1997 is:

                        1997   1998
Individual Members      2178   1967
Institutional Members   2266   2388
Retired Members           43     48
Student Members          221    183

Totals                  4708   4586

Committee on Citation Format Users Guides

The Committee's work on three Users Guides is nearing completion. The second Users Guide, A Guide to Universal Statutory Citations, will appear in the spring, 1998 issue of the LLJ and the third Users Guide, A Guide to Universal Administrative Citations, will appear in the fall, 1998 issue of the LLJ.

Under the leadership of Committee Chair Marcia Koslov, the Committee and I are now beginning to explore our options for publishing all three Users Guides into one publication in June of this year, prior to the Anaheim Annual Meeting. Initially the compilation of the three Users Guides will be distributed widely and at no cost to several hundred AALL members, sister associations and individuals for comment. The distribution will include members of the Association of Legal Writing Directors, the ABA (particularly the members of the Standing Committee on Technology and Information Services), various state bar associations that have put forward proposals on universal case law citations, and states that have adopted universal case law citation.

After the comment period, in January 1999, AALL will be ready to publish, market, and distribute copies of its new publication. Both the Committee and I agree that AALL's present publishing infrastructure, especially production, marketing and fulfillment, is inadequate to appropriately handle such an important title. Thus we are exploring a partnership with the State Bar of Wisconsin that has a substantial publishing and national marketing capability. The State Bar of Wisconsin is a natural partner on this important project. It is highly respected among state bar associations; it was a leader in promoting a vendor neutral citation format; it is the primary publisher of Wisconsin CLE materials (more than 45 titles), and produces a nationally recognized video tape series on law office management that are marketed nationally. The Wisconsin State Bar exhibits at five national association conferences, such as the ABA and the Association of Legal Administrators and others. These are among the prime audiences for AALL's Users Guides.

After consulting with President Judy Meadows, on February 11th Julie Well, Bridgewell Communications, Marcia Koslov and I met with State Bar of Wisconsin staff, including Executive Director Steve Smay, their marketing director, their finance director and the head of their public relations department. We explored the possibility of partnering with them. The discussions were positive and encouraging. Steve Smay agreed to prepare a proposal outlining the Wisconsin State Bar capabilities and a business plan for publishing, marketing and distributing the Users Guides as soon as they are available.

Staff Retreat on a "Customer-Driven Service Strategy"

AALL Executive Staff attended their annual retreat for one day and a half on February 3-4, 1998. This was the second Executive Staff retreat on the topic of concern to every employer today, Customer Service. Grace McGartland, who also worked with the Executive Board in November 1997, facilitated this year's retreat. Her previous experience with the Association enabled her to be even more effective this time. She engaged the staff creatively in all of the discussions, and successfully elicited from them a rich variety of ideas and experiences.

The objective of the Retreat was to involve the staff in developing a customer service focus that will enable them and the Association to achieve the vision and the goals that have been set by the Executive Board.

This Retreat also enabled Steve Serpas, recently appointed Customer Service Coordinator, to describe his vision of customer service at AALL, to involve the staff in exploring new roles and responsibilities for supporting his efforts, to affirm existing strengths of the staff, and to identify training needs.

Not surprisingly the Executive Staff serves a variety of customers, Association leaders, individual members, buyers of products, contributors and corporate sponsors, speakers and authors, non-members like students and prospects, and strategic partners. All of these customers expect efficient, timely, accurate, friendly, and supportive service. The staff agreed on the following statement of their responsibility to "Provide high quality service in a professional manner."

Staff set the following standards for customer service:

  • LISTEN empathetically in order to understand customers real needs
  • ENSURE clear communication and understanding of the request
  • RESPOND in a timely and accurate manner

In order to achieve its vision, the staff identified the following action strategies:

  • Hold regular and ad hoc staff meetings
  • Create an intranet
  • Reassess phone coverage, scheduling and training
  • Explore new telephone technology
  • Improve order processing
  • Create better work space and welcoming open door attitudes
  • Provide ongoing training and learning
  • Develop service provider behaviors that make a difference
  • Foster team efforts
  • Use common sense, don't over promise
  • Be willing to go the extra mile
  • Demonstrate enthusiasm
  • Show courtesy and respect

Grace McGartland concluded the Retreat by asking each person to make a personal commitment to improve Customer Service, and to identify one or two actions that they would take in the immediate future. These commitments form the basis of an action plan that will remain the focus for staff meetings for the foreseeable future.

Salary Survey Data Results

Each time the Association conducts the Salary Survey, it is possible to glean from the responses a wealth of information about law libraries and emerging trends about: expenditures, size of staffs, ratios of law librarians to attorneys in firms and to faculty and students in academic libraries, and more. Kathy Savage, an independent research analyst, has recently completed the analysis of the non-salary data from the 1997 survey. Her results will be reported in the AALL Spectrum, April issue.

We have learned that much of the data is consistent with the 1995 results and thus begins to provide AALL with valuable benchmark and trend data that can be monitored over time in the future. As with the 1995 Survey, the 55% response rate was very high and thus the results can be generalized to all AALL member libraries. However the results may not be representative of all law libraries.

The expenditures for hard copy and electronic resources by law libraries is one of the most valuable pieces of information gleaned from the Survey. The expenditures by Academic Libraries and State, Court & County Libraries is comparable to the 1995 levels; in 1997 on average they spent $780,100 and $317,700 respectively.

The 1997 results for Private Firm Libraries were significantly different from the 1995 results. This difference required extensive analysis of both the 1995 and the 1997 results. Savage determined that the difference is due to a significant reporting error in 1995, when one firm library reported expenditures in excess of $500,000,000 when in fact, we now presume they intended to report expenditures of $5,000,000, a number comparable to other large firm libraries. This reporting error greatly increased the average for all firm libraries and the aggregate expenditure by all firm libraries in the AALL membership. This error was detected only after considerable effort comparing the 1995 and 1997 results. It was not apparent to the research analysts in 1995 because they had no earlier or comparable data.

We can now report with some confidence, based on 1997 results, that Firm Libraries spend on average $644,900 and that the aggregate purchasing power of all AALL member libraries is $829,964,000.

Other survey findings indicate the average number of librarians per library, the ratio of professionals to paraprofessionals, the numbers of law librarians who supervise other functions like records management and MIS, and the education, race, gender, and years of experience of AALL members.

Thus far 332 copies of the 1997 Salary Survey have been purchased.

AALLNET Use In January & February 1998

Thus far in 1998 we continue to see increases in the use of AALLNET, despite the fact that in mid-year 1997 only 29% of our members said that they consult AALNET at least once a month or more.

According to server statistics, we have received over 100,000 page requests in January and February. Of those, approximately 18,000 are unique visitors, those with a distinct IP address, to the site. The home page was visited over 13,000 times so far this year. The second most popular page continues to be the Job Placement Listing with over 8,000 visits. Genie Tyburski's Compleate Internet Researcher page on AALLNET is also popular with over 3,500 visits so far this year.

The online IMIS membership database is a new feature on AALLNET - introduced last year, and now a live database since October 1997. Now anyone can easily browse through the Associations membership database. Not only can visitors look up records, but they can also browse committee rosters and leadership activities. So far this year, about 15,000 inquiries have been made to the online membership database. Of those, over 5,500 were visits to individual member profiles.

On an experimental basis, the AALL Spectrum will soon be available on AALLNET in Adobe Reader format. The first issue will be available to anyone. By using Adobe's PDF file format, we are able to produce a web version of the magazine at a very low cost. The web version will be exactly the same as the print version, excluding the advertisement.

We have begun to explore the possibility of creating a "Members Only" section of AALLNET. We have investigated the practices of five other associations, in particular library associations. At the present time three other library associations maintain a members only section, SLA, MLA, ALA. Tentatively we are considering adding the Directory and the AALL Spectrum as areas with member-only access. We believe that the Job Placement listing should be freely available.

Statistics for January - February, 1998

                                 aallnet.org   iMIS     TOTAL
Total Requests:                  95,000        15,000   110,000
Total Unique Hosts               18,000         1,000   ~19,000
Home Page                        13,000
Placement Hotline                 8,000
Online Database: Member Profile                 6,600
Complete Internet Researcher      3,500
Online Database: Member Search                  3,000
AALLNET Web                       1,700
Handbook                          1,600
Chapter Profiles                  1,200
1998 Annual Meeting Home Page     1,100
Committee Rosters                                 800
SIS Profiles                                      500
Executive Board Page                170

Chapter Relations Update On LLAGNY Membership Service

Effective February 1st, AALL Executive Staff have assumed responsibility for day-to-day management of the 800+ membership records of the LLAGNY Chapter. Initial discussions between Roger Parent, Steve Ligda, and the Chapter Officers resulted in an Agreement signed in October, 1997 which specifies the services to be provided and a schedule of fees for services rendered to LLAGNY. In addition to the daily maintenance of member record changes, AALL staff will provide label listings, generate dues invoices, format and print the membership directory, and provide specific reports or mailings on request.

The agreement with LLAGNY is made possible by the recent acquisition of the iMIS membership software and its greatly enhanced database management capabilities. The agreement with LLAGNY is intended as a six-month 'pilot' test of our ability to manage other membership databases in addition to the AALL's own records. Additionally, the agreement allows AALL to recruit new members, and include in our member list sales, the approximately 300 LLAGNY members who are not, at present, members of AALL.

1998 Annual Friends of the Law Library of Congress Wickersham Dinner

President Judy Meadows, Washington Affairs Representatives Bob Oakley and Mary Alice Baish will represent AALL at the annual Wickersham Dinner on Thursday, February 26, 1998, 6:30 p.m. at the Supreme Court of the United States, Washington DC. The 1998 Honoree is Jamie Gorelick, a prominent member of the District of Columbia Bar. Most recently she serves as Deputy Attorney General in the Department of Justice. She has served on the board of the National Women's Law Center and is a member of the ABA House of Delegates.

The dinner is sponsored by the Friends of the Law Library of Congress, a nonprofit organization which contributes to the Law Library collection and sponsors research and educational programs that encourage greater use of the collections, and a better understanding of the law. The AALL Executive Director serves on the Friends Board.