AALL Spectrum Blog


The AALL Spectrum® Blog is published by the American Association of Law Libraries. Submissions from AALL members and other members of the legal community are highly encouraged. Opinions and editorial views expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the official position of AALL. AALL does not assume any responsibility for statements advanced by contributors. The previous Spectrum Blog was located at aallspectrum.wordpress.com.
2/12/2015 6:00:00 PM

Members Making a Difference

As someone relatively new to the profession, I am often amazed by the charitable work done by librarians and our professional organizations. Last year the Social Responsibility Special Interest Section raised $480 at the AALL Annual Meeting to support the Solar Heating Project. This initiative was created to help “Native American families who are struggling to pay their heating bills and replace[] ‘dirty’ electricity created from coal-fired power plants with clean solar energy.” In addition, the SR-SIS collected 378 books and $595 for the “Transitions Program of San Antonio Independent School District, which serves homeless students, students in foster care, and at-risk youth.” Finally, the SR-SIS donated toiletries collected from members staying in hotels at the Annual Meeting for the San Antonio’s Family Violence Prevention Services.

I began to wonder what other projects were out there going unnoticed. Were AALL chapters, caucuses, and special interest sections engaging in charitable activities that we all should be aware of? After some inquiry, I found a tradition of service that does the AALL membership proud. Several regional sections including the Chicago Association of Law Libraries, Law Librarians of New England, and New Jersey Law Librarians Association even have committees devoted specifically to community service work. I’d like to thank everyone who provided details about their efforts, and share some of the work these organizations are doing. Here are some of the charitable activities I discovered:

The Black Caucus also has a very active community service subcommittee. This past year they organized a fundraiser for San Antonio Youth during the AALL annual conference. BCAALL invited an SA Youth representative to attend the annual banquet, where donations were formally presented to the organization. Members donated hundreds of dollars both on the night of the event and online. They also collected in kind donations of school supplies, backpacks, markers, pencils, pencil sharpeners, crayons, pens, highlighters, notebooks, folders, tablets, glue, and a host of other items.

Several chapters are finding opportunities to combine charity with member engagement, generating creative ways to give back to their communities. The Chicago Association of Law Libraries organized a team to participate in "Run for Their Lives," a 5K race to benefit PAWS. They hope to organize another team to participate in a similar event this summer. In the Mid-America Association of Law Libraries 1Ls do a service project each year during Orientation as a way to get to know each other and do something positive in their community. This year, MAALL is also launching a new Books to Action Program, where members read the same book on a social issue, and then perform a service project related to the book’s theme. The WestPac Local Arrangements Committee focused on environmental issues deciding to go “green” at their 2014 conference by making environmentally-friendly purchasing decisions and mobilizing their membership to recycle.

Several projects will offer resources and training to public librarians on legal research subjects. The Southern California Association of Law Libraries Public Access to Legal Information Committee will provide sessions on legal research for non-law librarians in 2015, partnering with the City of Temecula Public Library. The Law Librarians of New England plan to launch a web portal in 201 5 to help connect public librarians with support by providing research tutorials, best practices and resources. The LLNE service committee will create new content to be featured on this new digital platform.

There are also a few organizations that work with youth to encourage an interest in the legal profession. The Southern California Association of Law Libraries created an Inner City Youth Internship Program, providing “employment opportunities to qualified inner city high school students in private, public and academic libraries as well as other related institutions.” In March the Dallas Association of Law Librarians will volunteer at the Texas High School Mock Trial Competition to support local high school students with an interest in law. Additionally, the Colorado Association of Law Libraries raises funds each year for a scholarship offered to help a library student pursuing their degree.

We should be proud of the work librarians and our professional groups are doing to give back to the community. Why not try a new project this year? Have a project completed in 2014 or coming up in 2015 that deserves a mention? Share it in the comments section!

© AJ Blechner, 2015. Reference/Outreach Librarian, University of Miami Law Library, Coral Gables, Florida. ablechner@law.miami.edu.

Posted By AJ Blechner at 2/12/2015 6:00:00 PM  0 Comments
9/19/2014 5:51:28 PM

Dreaming of a Green Conference…

As an environmentalist and a law librarian it can be a real challenge marrying two somewhat disparate identities.  This marriage seems to be the most difficult at AALL’s Annual Conference and Chapter meetings because sustainability issues often fall by the wayside to our fabulous programming, receptions, and parties.  That being said, the new Social Responsibilities SIS Environmental Taskforce and the Environmental Libraries Caucus  have teamed up to raise awareness, promote sustainable solutions, and to hopefully work towards a greener and more sustainable conference in Philadelphia in 2015.

The Taskforce is currently focused on the following issues:

  • Developing a survey to sample AALL member interest in sustainability.
  • Drafting an AALL Sustainability Resolution.
  • Proposing sustainability related programming for the 2015 Annual Conference.
  • Developing best practices standards for implementing sustainable practices in the law library setting.

The Taskforce is still looking for members so if you are interested in contributing please contact David Selden, National Indian Law Library/NARF at dselden@narf.org.

For those AALL members interested in learning more about sustainability (especially in the library context) below please find a list of resources:


Taryn L. Rucinski
Environmental Law Librarian
& Adjunct Professor of Law
Pace University School of Law
White Plains, NY


Posted By Taryn Rucinski at 9/19/2014 5:51:28 PM  0 Comments
6/10/2014 11:49:26 AM

Spring 2014 SR-SIS Newsletter Available

The Spring edition of the SR-SIS Newsletter is available!  There is a lot going on in this special interest section.  The Committee on Services to Prisoners is calling for involvement, a new standing committee on disability issues should be coming soon, and they’re gearing up for the annual book drive.  You’ll also find book reviews, a list of annual meeting programs by SR-SIS members, and proposed bylaws revisions (polls open June 2-13).

Posted By Kristen Moore at 6/10/2014 11:49:26 AM  0 Comments