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A Brief History of the Atlanta Law Library Association


The Atlanta Law Libraries Association began in 1972 as an informal group of law librarians in the downtown area. Meetings were held as needed, with luncheons hosted by the firms represented. Charter members were Anne Butler, Mary Dunn, Stacy Ferguson, Mildred Rosser, Donna Reed, Kay Todd, Anita Smith, Marty Mulinix, Elaine Fenton and Marilyn Lumpkin. By 1974, the association had grown larger and needed to become more organized and meet on a regular basis. A constitution and bylaws were drawn up. From a membership of 10 in 1976, the Association has grown to almost 140 members in 2002.

The changes in the Association can be traced through the changes in its constitution, which was frequently revised to meet new situations. The object of the Association has always been to promote the profession of law librarianship, to provide for professional education and to "foster a spirit of cooperation among members of the profession." Originally, full membership was restricted to law librarians employed full time. The requirements for membership became less stringent as the need for and benefits of a broader and more diverse membership became apparent. In 1979 the name was changed from the Association of Law Librarians to the Atlanta Law Libraries Association to reflect the inclusion of institutional memberships.

Standing committees for Bylaws, the Association Newsletter, Continuing Education, Membership and Scholarship were established. The chapter newsletter begun in 1976, is a quarterly publication with paid subscriptions and advertising. A fund to provide scholarships on a continuing basis was set up in 1984. In 1990, ALLA established a Minority Stipend for library science students interested in the career of law librarianship.

The president, vice-president/president-elect, secretary, treasurer, immediate past president, and two members-at-large comprise the Executive Board. The Nominating Committee is elected.

In late 1979 and early 1980, application for affiliation with the American Association of Law Libraries was discussed. Chapter status was granted at the national convention of AALL in 1980. In 1981 the fiscal year for the Association was changed from January to June to coincide with that of AALL, and the group was incorporated in 1983.

The Association's first Union List of Periodicals was compiled in 1976. Each member prepared a list of their holdings which was then integrated and put on mag cards for final production. A new edition of the Union List is produced approximately every two years. The eleventh edition of the Union List of Periodicals and the Union List of Looseleafs was released in 1999.

One of the main objectives of the Association is "to provide for the further professional education of law librarians." The first formal attempt at this was preceded by a seminar questionnaire in 1979. From this resulted a Memorandum of Law Workshop the following year. A second seminar, co-sponsored with Georgia State University in 1981, was on state and federal legislative tracking. Since 1981, seminars have been held on "Computer Applications for the Special Library"; "Legal Research for the New or Nonlaw Librarian"; "Cataloging Legal Materials"; "Subject Area Mini-Series"; "Accounting Resources"; "Information Resources in the Atlanta Area"; "Research in International Law"; "Environmental Law"; and "Federal Legislative and Administrative Law".

Chapter meetings are held monthly. No meetings are held during June, July and August. The September and March meetings are business meetings, and the April meeting is a continuing education seminar. The other meetings feature prominent Atlantans from government, law or other areas of interest to librarians. These speakers have lectured on legal topics, library trends and community interests.

In June 1988 the Atlanta Law Libraries Association hosted the AALL convention. The 1988 convention was a great success due to the hard work of the members of ALLA. We believe hard work and long hours of preparation helped strengthen the bonds of friendship amongst our members.