MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR
By Rosalie Sanderson, 2001-2002 ALL-SIS Chair
New York Law School
50 Worth St.
New York, N.Y.
Happy New Year to all of you. I am in the throes of greeting a new year
and a new library. During the summer I moved with my family from Atlanta
to New York. After a wonderful break to explore and enjoy my new city
and environs I have returned to work at New York Law School. Many friends
have bemoaned my timing arriving in New York City at such a tragic moment
in history. In fact, it has been an incredible time to be here. I've had
the chance to see "up close and personal" the courage, energy
and caring of the people here.
New York Law School, my new employer, is an old and venerable law school
set close to Wall Street. It is closer to Ground Zero than any law school
in the country. The tragedy greatly affected the school and the students.
The school was closed for two weeks immediately following the attack.
An unscheduled two-week break early in the semester would challenge any
law school. Couple this with attendant network, telephone, power problems,
massive transportation and parking problems and you begin to get some
idea of the daunting tasks faced by my new colleagues. In addition, this
law school is surrounded by lawyers, law firms, federal and state courts
and City Hall. The work of many nearby lawyers was disrupted by phone,
network and power failures. New York Law School came to their rescue and
provided use of library materials and facilities without requiring the
normal registration and fees. You may read more about the aftermath of
9-11 at New York Law School by browsing the NYLS 9-11 Archives at http://www.nyls.edu.
What does this mean to you? Well, I do have a point. It is that all academics
work to meet the particular needs of our own users. This fall at New York
Law School that meant rising to the occasion and providing comfort, phones,
materials and services to anxious students and lawyers. It also meant
that librarians were busy teaching lawyers and law students how to do
research using reliable print products when electronic products were impossible
to access throughout the area. Faculty and students have different needs
in our different law schools. How can we insure that our libraries provide
the information resources, both current and retrospective which support
Hopefully most of us will never have occasion to replicate the experience
of New York Law School. One challenge we face in common, however, is how
to keep our law libraries relevant in this electronic age. A recent article
in the Chronicle of Higher Education ("As Students Work Online, Reading
Rooms Empty Out -- Leading Some Campuses to Add Starbucks," Nov.
16, 2001) pointed out that "more and more students are entering libraries
not through turnstiles but through phone lines and fiber-optic cables."
While the article focused on undergraduates, law libraries are not immune
to this issue. We all know that the library is more than a warehouse for
books or a study hall. We provide information in many formats and students
may often access it offsite. But, what specific steps are we taking to
make our services relevant?
It is my fervent hope that committee activities this year as well as
ALL-SIS programs will lead us to new and interesting ways to make our
libraries relevant to today's students and faculties. This newsletter
issue includes an article by Tim Coggins, ALL-SIS 2002 Education Committee
Chair, describing ALL-SIS programs selected for this year's Annual Meeting.
Tim describes some outstanding programs which should help in our quest
for relevance. Jim Heller describes the CONALL program for new law librarians
which Jim is chairing at this summer's meeting. There are several task
forces which I hope are working feverishly to help us all tackle issues
of interest. If you have ideas that have worked well at your institution,
please share them with us. Drop me an email at email@example.com
and I'll plan to have a column in the next newsletter highlighting your
ideas. Will look forward to hearing from you.