A Chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries
President's Message: "Up with Librarians"
Perhaps my column this month will be a bit more "Touchy-Feely" than my other columns will be, so I'm begging your indulgence as you read this. I'll call this month's "Up with Librarians!" The reason is this: in the past few months I've encountered a number of people who think that librarianship, far from being moribund, is now well into a renewed phase of growth and development. It is indeed an exciting time to be a librarian!
Story Number 1: Not surprisingly, my first story has to do with my four year old son Matthew. I asked him a few weeks ago if when he grew up he wanted to be a librarian like his dad. His reply? "Nope! That's too much work!"
His comment (I hope) has less to say about sloth than it does about the perception of our profession. Imagine librarians being accused of working too hard! It really is a wonderful image that we should foster at every opportunity. His words made me realize that if we sow the seeds early enough of what we do and what our profession offers, we're making librarianship a healthy and stable career well into the next century.
Story Number 2: In October I spoke about new legal information products and websites at the Online World '99 conference in Chicago. I also moderated a law librarians' roundtable there, attended by about 20 librarians. What I had expected to hear from my colleagues, of course, was the standard "whine and moan" session about how we librarians are undervalued, underpaid, and undersupported by our institutions.
However, what I heard was music to my ears! Instead, librarians were buzzing about all of the following: how much their institutions appreciated them; how they felt that their job positions were secure; how they had been given more responsibilities in their institutions; and even how they could hire additional staff members. What were these librarians doing!?
The two-part answer is amazingly simple, really. They were marketing their library services to anyone and everyone who would listen, and they were training their library customers how to use the information resources at their disposal. If you aren't marketing your talents to your users, how can you expect them to retain your services? Furthermore, almost everyone these days feels squeezed by technology and the Internet; people are clueless and worried. That is, everyone except those employees in institutions who know that their library will guide them through technology changes wisely and efficiently through such programs and tools as regular Internet training sessions, one-on-one information research tutorials, and intranet creation and management.
Institutions need leaders to guide employees and constituents through the uncertainty of technology change-who better to do this than librarians? If we're not leading, we must be following. Followers are dispensable; leaders are not.
Story Number 3: Let's put Story Number 2 into some context. A few weeks ago, I heard noted solo librarian Guy St. Clair speak on technology management in libraries. He noted that special librarianship has gone through three phases in the past 100 years: from providing users with information "just in case" (thereby making huge libraries and overhead), to providing users with information "just in time" (a service-oriented and efficient paradigm to be sure, but one that leaves out some of what we as librarians do), to the final chapter we're beginning now: providing users with information "just as they want it." No longer can we sit in front of bookstacks and tell users that the answer is just "out there somewhere." Instead, we literally need to walk with them to the shelves and search indices with them. We need to compile research memos and reports, rather than shove bookmarked pages at them. We also need to be able to provide them with enough instruction so that they may effectively use a CD-ROM or internet search engine. To me, this is an exciting paradigm that bodes well for our professional future. After all, if we are giving something to library users that is specifically tailored to their needs, how can they not admire our skills and service ethic?
There has been much debate lately about the future of the librarianship profession-some gloomy, and some optimistic, but uncertain. Today, however, I can happily report in some concrete ways that the perception of librarians by others has already changed-for the better. We are just now beginning to realize the direction our profession is taking, and I think it's looking pretty good!
Steve Anderson, President
The Four W's and One H of the AALL Grant Program
The AALL Grants program is one of the most misunderstood endeavors that AALL sponsors. People do not understand where the money comes from, what the money is for, who is entitled to the money, or how to apply. To clear up some of the confusion, we are using an old journalism model.
First, WHO may obtain a grant? Many members think that you must be a brand new librarian in order to qualify for a grant. That is not true. While preference is given to newer (in the profession 5 years or less) librarians, consideration is given to the contributions made by veterans
Second, for WHAT purpose may the money be used? This is the most common misconception. Many members think the Grants and Scholarship Committees are interchangeable. The Grants program is not related to the Scholarship program. The Scholarship program gives tuition money to those pursuing a formal educational program. The Grants program is more focused, providing funding for members to attend either the AALL Annual Meeting or an AALL Institute or Workshop
Third, let's look at from WHERE the money comes. This is one of the most surprising things about the AALL Grants program because the money comes from us! AALL, as an organization, budgets no money for Grants. This money is accumulated through donations by vendors, who have generously underwritten this program, and by AALL members. This program counts on individual AALL members to donate money to help their colleagues who otherwise would not be able to participate in educational and professional development activities.
Finally, WHEN and HOW does one apply for an AALL Grant? As for when, the Grants application is available right now. The Grants application can be found either on AALLNET (www.aallnet.org/services/ grant_application.asp); through the AALL fax-on-demand service (732-544-5901); by calling AALL Headquarters (312-939-4764); or by e-mailing them (firstname.lastname@example.org). The deadline for the grant application is April 1, 2000. The how is equally easy. The current application and application procedures are clearly outlined on the Grants Committee page on AALLNET at: (www.aallnet.org/services/ grants.asp)
If you have any questions about this program, please contact Holly Mohler, Grants Committee Chair, at Long & Levit LLP Library by phone (415-438-4462) or by e-mail (email@example.com).
Joyce Manna Janto,
AALL Grants Committee
LEXIS Publishing Librarian Panel: A Meeting Overview
As announced at the AALL Annual Meeting and in a CRIVGram posted in August LEXIS Publishing has formed a Librarian Panel to work with the company regarding specifics on various aspects of decision making, particularly focusing on technical services. LEXIS Publishing asked the assistance of the AALL CRIV Committee to select the members of the Librarian Panel.
The scope and responsibilities of the Librarian Panel include:
* Discussing product packaging issues and the impact on the librarian community
* Acting as a sounding board for librarian communications in general
* Discussing invoice integration and the impact on the librarian community
* Discussing customer service integration and the impact on the librarian community
The members of the Librarian Panel include:
* Cynthia Aninao, Acquisitions Librarian, University of Cincinnati Law Library
* Melody Lembke, Technical Services Librarian, Los Angeles County Law Library
* Mary McKee, Associate Law Librarian for Technical Services, Fordham Law School Library
* Anne Morrison, Assistant Law Librarian, Prince George's County Law Library
* Anne Myers, Head of Technical Services, Boston University Law Library
* Betty Roeske, Technical Services Librarian, Katten Muchin Zavis
* Lorna Tang, Associate Law Librarian for Technical Services, University of Chicago D'Angelo Law Library
The Librarian Panel met in Dayton, Ohio, October 19 and 20, 1999 with various members of LEXIS Publishing. The discussion focused on product packaging, librarian communications and the integration of invoicing and customer service for the print and CD-ROM publications. All participants in the meeting recognize that individual customers may have different needs and it will be difficult for LEXIS Publishing to tailor communications and activities to meet the requirements of each customer.
The discussion focused on the general needs of LEXIS Publishing customers that have a librarian on staff. The Panel Members provided input to LEXIS Publishing regarding activities that impact the work of Technical Services departments. Their feedback was based on concerns and issues that have plagued other publisher integrations. The various members of the LEXIS Publishing teams who met with the Panel Members will consider this feedback when making decisions.
The members of the LEXIS Publishing Product Packaging Team presented information on general rules for information to be included on spines, front covers, title pages and copyright pages. In general, the Panel Members approved the current plans although several issues are still outstanding for which the Panel Members provided feedback. The Panel Members also suggested that a letter be sent to librarian customers outlining the changes that will take place as a result of the new LEXIS Publishing brand. This letter is currently under development.
This discussion focused on the types of information that should be made available to customers and the preferred formats. Based on these suggestions, LEXIS Publishing is looking into the development of Technical Services announcements to be made through both hard copy mailings and listserv formats. In addition, based on these recommendations LEXIS Publishing is looking into providing additional web based information.
Members of the Invoice Integration team described the plans for the next 18 months and the Panel Members provided feedback. This integration involves only the print and CD-ROM publications and will not include the LEXIS-NEXIS online services. Panel members provided feedback on sample invoices and statements.
Customer Service Integration
Members of the Customer Service Integration Team described the plans for the next 18 months and the Panel Members provided feedback. This integration involves only the print and CD-ROM publications and will not include the LEXIS-NEXIS online services. Panel Members provided requirements for an "ideal" customer service department.
Panel Members as well as the members of LEXIS Publishing found the meeting to be very informative and insightful. The Librarian Panel will continue its work to assist LEXIS Publishing in decision making.
For additional information, please contact: Cindy Spohr, Director, LEXIS Publishing Librarian Relations Group, firstname.lastname@example.org or 219-436-1944.
LLAM Members Participate in the Maryland Race for the Cure
This year's "Race for the Cure" was held at the Baltimore Inner Harbor's Rash Field on SUNDAY, OCTOBER 3, 1999, at 8:30am. "Team LLAM" included Steve Anderson, Betsy Sandison and her husband Bill, Barbara Karpel and Anne Morrison.
Special kudos go out to Betsy Sandison, who did both the 1 mile fun walk AND the 5 kilometer run/walk! The weather was wonderful, as was the company, all for a worth cause.
TIME MARCHES ON: NOVEMBER'S LLAM MEETING
The November meeting of LLAM was a brown bag luncheon kindly hosted by Ober Kaler on Wednesday, November 17. The topic was a 'timely' one: Time Management. Who hasn't found themselves rushed at the end of a day with not enough time to get everything done?
Julie Nutty, a training consultant with Lexis Publishing was the speaker. She was able to convey many timesaving tips to us in a 2 hour time period. The first item she discussed was understanding time management or how time can be divided into events. These events can be under our control or not, depending on their nature. It is by planning that we predetermine a course of events. As a group, we discussed excuses we have for not planning.
Guidelines for effective planning were outlined by Julie. These include reviewing values and goals, setting specified daily tasks, evaluating time versus task, anticipating obstacles, and prioritizing tasks.
The next item on the agenda was prioritizing a daily task list. Every day a list should be made listing everything we need to do. Next, a value should be placed next to the item, ranking when it needs to be done. The items are assigned a value depending on whether they should be done immediately (very important), an "A" ranking; to somewhat important, a "B" ranking; to optional (not very important), a "C" ranking. Next, a numerical value should be placed next to items to determine the order the items should be tackled, i.e. in what order the "A" items should be done, through the order for the "C" items.
Throughout the day, the list should be maintained by using symbols to indicate if the task was completed, deleted for some reason, delegated to someone else, or "planned ahead", meaning it was written down to be completed on another day.
The importance of using some type of planner system was explained to us. There are many types from which to choose. There are fancy ones by Franklin Covey and Day Timer to just using a plain notebook and calendar. The shape and form of planner is not as important as the will to use it. To effectively use the time management techniques discussed, we should keep our planner with us at all times, use only one calendar, and minimize floating paper.
Librarians present brainstormed about different things that rob us of our time, or 'time robbers'. The top three are: 1) interruptions, 2) procrastination, and 3) waiting for answers. We discussed ways to deal with each of these robbers. Because we as librarians are in a service industry, interruptions are particularly difficult to deal with. We are not at liberty to inform our patrons/attorneys that we are too busy to help them; diplomacy is required.
To combat procrastination, the slogan "just do it" comes to mind. Other ideas to help get past the slump are to decide when it will be done, set achievable goals, know your tendencies, delegate when possible, use a reward system, and do the worst first.
While it is not easy to wait for answers, there are things that can be done to minimize the occurrences of the problem, such as requesting people to leave detailed messages on voice mail instead of playing phone tag trying to reach the caller. Also, always leave your phone number in a clear, slow voice so they don't have to look it up. When managing e-mail and voice mail, it is a good practice to follow the 5 o'clock rule. Try to touch base with folks calling or e-mailing you on the same day by 5 o'clock even if you don't have the final answer. Let them know you are working on the problem.
The last item talked about during the meeting was the cluttered desk. In this area, the number one thing to remember is that the trash can is your friend. Use it. Other helpful ideas are to use a planner, use a tickler file, alphabetize your "to do" pile and place in special folders, stagger tabs in your filing cabinet, color code folders for special meaning, and arrange your desk in Zones A, B, and C, to correspond to your list of tasks.
Thanks to Julie Nutty for providing this informative session. We all vowed to become at least a little more organized before the year 2000. Delores Kovach Warner, a BNA representative, was the winner of the door prize, a planner by Franklin Covey. Congratulations, Delores.
Mary Ann Redman, Librarian
Miles & Stockbridge P.C.
The State Law Library has recently added to its collection of electronic research services, an Internet based subscription to LOIS.
Available to all library customers on site, and at no charge, the compehensive LOIS libraries of state and federal case law, codes and administrative regulations provide the researcher with instantaneous access to the work by-product of our branches of government.
Currently, two public Internet workstations are bookmarked with the LOIS web address. Reference staff and "how to manuals" are available to provide cursory instruction in use of this new research service.
Please come in and try your hand at using this web-based computer-assisted legal research product.
Maryland State Law Library
NEW LLAM MEMBERS!
As Membership Chair of LLAM, I would like to formally welcome our new members to the organization. This year we have added new members from law firm libraries, state and county libraries (including a public library), and legal publishing.
I'm sure we all appreciate the energy and new ideas that new members bring to the group, and I encourage all of our new members to take an active part in LLAM. If you are interested in working on a specific committee, please contact the committee chair, or let me know and I'll be happy to forward the information to them. If you have any other concerns or questions throughout the year, please don't hesitate to contact me or any of the LLAM officers. Again, welcome to all our new members:
Gloria Alexander, Library Assistant, Gordon, Feinblatt, Rothman, Hoffberger & Hollander;
Melissa Bell, Library Clerk, Ober, Kaler, Grimes & Shriver;
Sean Falvey, Account Executive, Lexis Publishing;
Caren Genison-Perilman, Librarian, Montgomery County Public Library;
Margaret McBurney, Librarian, Paley, Rothman, Goldstein, Rosenberg & Cooper;
Kevin Otten, Library Resources & Electronic Services, Ober, Kaler, Grimes & Shriver;
Mary Rice, Librarian, Charles County Circuit Court Law Library;
Sheri Ripley, Technical Services Assistant, Ober, Kaler, Grimes & Shriver;
Milton Stafford, Sales Executive, Lexis Publishing;
Denise Stanley, Law Librarian, Shapiro & Olander;
Patrica Yost, Librarian Assistant, Office of the Attorney General.
DID YOU KNOW?
CHANGES AT BERNAN
The demise of Maryland materials from Bernan Press was announced in late November. Although Bernan Press will continue to publish and re-sell Federal government publications, effective immediately, Bernan will discontinue its Case Summaries series for Maryland and its COMAR Index. Orders are still being taken for these publications while supplies last, but there will be no further updates.
"UP ON THE ROOFTOP" at U of B . . .
The University of Baltimore Law Library staff is currently hearing the clatter of footsteps on their rooftop - and it's not what you might expect this time of year! No, it's not Santa and Rudolph with his nose of red. Something very different instead!
What follows is an "insider's view" of some of the challenges facing the staff lately...
We are only part way through the removal and replacement of the old roof on our building. This glorious malodorous procedure's been going on for a week and a half. The tar and sulphur fumes have been unpleasant, to substantially understate the degree of atmospheric interference. In what I am guessing is an effort to combat this assault on the olfactory sense, this week so much outside air (you may have noticed it's been more than a bit nippy) is being pumped into the building that most librarians are wearing sweatshirts or their warmest wools. Some of us have broken out the longjohns.
The roars and wails made by various machines involved in the removal and retarring process have been the subject of a number of comments. It was probably the vacuum, (yes, a vacuum) gobbling quantities of stones from the roof, that caused one staff member to compare the sound to that of a helicopter landing. Bob Pool said it sounds like a cross between bumper cars and a battle scene from Braveheart; Will Tress said if there were a game of roller derby going on that would account for the occasional (extra) loud thump. Harvey Morrell waxed poetic and said another noise sounded like someone's teeth being drilled. At a very high volume, one could add.
The actual vibration of the floors in the library is enough either to send an unsuspecting patron to the doctor to get checked for palsy, or to fling himself beneath the nearest doorjamb in anticipation of the next seismic event. Even law students, whose backs at this time in the semester are as close to the wall as they can be without actually blending into it, are sufficiently distracted by the noise, cold, smell and vibrations to comment, and to wish aloud that the project had been scheduled for some other time. That is to say, a time when they were not here. Ah, out of the mouths of babes...
University of Baltimore Law Library
SANAD Support Technologies, Inc. is seeking a law librarian for a Federal Library client in Washington, DC. MLS required; law degree (JD/LLD) highly desirable, but not required.
Position requires five (5) years of professional experience in a law library/information center and three (3) years concurrent experience providing information retrieval, reference, research and dissemination services. Ability to develop authoritative, complex information products, and provide guidance to library staff and users in conducting legal and law-related research. Thorough, in-depth knowledge of and practical experience with computerized research in legal and other databases. Knowledge of STILAS ILS.
Mail, fax or email resume and salary history/requirement to HR, 11820 Parklawn Dr., Suite 400, Rockville, MD 20852; fax 301-231-5990; email@example.com
Happy Holidays & best wishes for a happy y2k!