It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. In many ways, 2008-2009 was a year of contradictions for AALL. First, it was a great year because of the new programs and services developed to help AALL members meet the demands of their jobs and their personal careers. However, it was a not-so-great year for many members who lost their positions due to the terrible economic downturn, which hit law firm and court libraries the hardest.
This was AALL's penultimate year for the 2005-2010 Strategic Directions, and this report discusses our Association's progress while documenting the challenges our profession faced.
We began the process of redesigning AALLNET, our premiere member website and communication vehicle, and hope to have the new AALLNET launched by summer 2010.
In May 2009, AALL sponsored a China-United States conference on legal information and law libraries, and I had the privilege of attending and welcoming those in attendance. We also established a new online career center and improved interactive job board, which allows for resume posting, as well as improved job listing search capabilities.
It was a year of changes in our AALL Washington Affairs Office. The name changed to AALL Government Relations Office to better reflect its purpose and activities, and former acting director Mary Alice Baish was named permanent director. The Government Relations Office also developed a new advocacy toolkit for the 111th Congress for AALL member use, and an extremely successful AALL Day on the Hill was held July 24 in Washington, D.C. The AALL Executive Board approved the creation of a new position, AALL vendor liaison, in October 2008, and Marian Parker was hired as the initial liaison.
Innovate was the one-word theme of the 2009 AALL Annual Meeting education program, with over 70 programs and workshops designed to help law librarians do more with less. Our AALL/BNA Continuing Education Grants program selected nine AALL chapters and entities to receive funding for enhanced educational programming, and AALL also held two successful events for members: the Leadership Academy in October 2008, and the Management Institute in March 2009. AALL even joined Twitter in 2009 as a way to reach members active in social networking.
Our profession was not immune to the economic concerns that faced the world over the past year. In response, we launched an economic outlook survey in March 2009, which looked at how member law libraries were coping with budget cuts, furloughs, and layoffs. AALL staff created the AALL Tools for Success wiki, which included tips on working with reduced budgets and survival strategies. AALL Headquarters moved to less-expensive offices in June 2009, and staff continue to look for cost savings in all aspects of the association operation.
AALL is the voice of the law librarianship profession, and continues to provide the necessary tools for law librarians to succeed both personally and in the workplace. Despite the recent economic challenges, it was a great privilege to serve as AALL president in 2008-2009, and I thank the membership for providing me with this exciting opportunity.
James E. Duggan
AALL President 2008-2009