2004 ALL-SIS Election Information

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2004 ALL-SIS Election Information


Candidate Biographical Statements

Candidates for Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect

Kris Niedringhaus

Kris Niedringhaus is Electronic Services Librarian at Texas Wesleyan Law Library in Fort Worth, Texas. Previously she was the Associate Librarian at Georgia State University and the Senior Electronic Services Librarian and Electronic/Media Services Librarian at the LaValley Law Library, University of Toledo. She received a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis, a J.D. from the University of North Carolina, and an M.A. in library science from the University of Missouri.

Ms. Niedringhaus has been active in the American Association of Law Libraries, SEAALL, SWALL, CS-SIS, and ALL-SIS. She has served on the AALL Grants Committee, is completing a term as Member-at-Large on the CS-SIS Executive Board, has served for several years as the Chair of the CS-SIS Strategic Planning committee, served on several program committees, and serves on the ALL-SIS CALI committee.

Ms. Niedringhaus has presented a number of programs at AALL, CONELL, SEAALL, and CALI and has upcoming programs at SWALL and AALL. She has authored several articles, co-authored two CALI lessons, and is the author of the chapter "Georgia Pre-Statehood Legal Research" in a forthcoming monograph.

Statement: ALL-SIS is a wonderfully large Special Interest Section that seeks to serve a large diversity of interests and needs within the Academic Law Library community. The strengths of size and diversity can also bring its own challenges. It is a challenge to serve the needs and represent the interests of a group with such an array of responsibilities. Through the years ALL-SIS has striven to meet these needs by involving greater numbers of its members in committee work and programming, providing liaisons to other SISs, and working closely with AALL leadership. I would like to pursue the possibility of developing "think tanks" to address issues unique to academic law librarianship. Think tanks would allow a smaller group of members with a particular concern or need to communicate and brainstorm ideas for rethinking their advanced legal research class, dealing with journal routing issues, or any number of topics of interest to the membership.

ALL-SIS, through its committees, already provides many useful programs and services to its membership and the librarian community in general. These committees should continue to receive the support, encouragement, and kudos of the SIS for they are the lifeblood of the SIS. I believe that the SIS should increase its already laudable efforts to recruit newer law librarians to the SIS. By recruiting newer law librarians we can take advantage of a fresh outlook as well as renewed vigor. I believe that newer law librarians should be encouraged to become active members of the SIS. These newer members will complement the knowledge of more experienced members of the SIS and provide a basis for our leaders in the future. By building upon the work of CONALL and the Mentoring Committee we will be strengthening both our present and our future.

Impressive work has been done on the ALL-SIS Strategic Plan and meeting the goals of the AALL Strategic Plan. Another area I would like to emphasize would be the review of efforts made toward the objectives of both these strategic plans. It is important to celebrate what we have already achieved as well as acknowledge areas for ongoing effort or new initiatives.

ALL-SIS serves a very important role for nearly 1,000 academic law librarians. I would welcome the opportunity to increase my service to the SIS membership.

Michael J. Slinger

Michael Slinger is Director of the Law Library, Associate Dean, and Professor of Law at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Library, Cleveland State University. Before coming to C-M in 1995 he served as Law Library Director and Professor of Law at Suffolk University from 1990-1995, and as a Reference Librarian, Head of Reference Services, and Associate Director for Public Services at the University of Notre Dame Law Library 1984-1990.

His professional activities have included: American Association of Law Libraries (AALL): Publications Committee, 1987-1988; Chairperson Public Relations Subcommittee, 1987-1988; Placement Committee, 1985-1986, Mentors Program, 1989, Co-Chair Boston Restaurant Guide Committee, 1992-1993, Call for Paper's Committee, 1997-1998, Chairperson Call For Paper's Committee, 1999-2000; Research Committee 2003-present. He has won the AALL Call for Papers Award twice: in1987, "A Comprehensive Study of the Career Path and Education of Current Academic Law Library Directors," 80 Law Library Journal 217 (1988) & in 1990, "Opening a Window of Opportunity: The Library Staff as a Meaningful and Integrated Part of the Law School Community," 83 Law Library Journal 685 (1991). He has also served the Ohio Regional Association of Law Libraries (ORALL) in various capacities since 1987, including President, Program Chair and Meeting Moderator.

In addition, Mr. Slinger has served on the American Association of Law Schools (AALS): Section on Law Libraries Executive Board, 1993-1994; American Bar Association, Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, Committee on Law Libraries 1997-2003; and has been a site inspector for Law School Accreditation Inspections for the American Bar Association Office of Legal Education.

Statement: I have been a full-time academic law librarian since 1984, and never in that time have I seen the array of tough challenges confronting academic librarians as I see before us today. You all know and are experiencing the litany which includes:

  • Electronic resources v. print in our collections;
  • Lack of resources;
  • Shrinking applicant pools;
  • Hiring freezes;
  • Students who don't see the need to use the Library;
  • The pressure to continually learn how to use new tools well enough to teach their use to others;
  • The demands made by our Parent institution that we justify our program, our practices, and sometimes even our existence.

Our difficulties are many, but fortunately our ability to adjust, to overcome obstacles and to eventually triumph, is a hallmark of our wonderful profession. However, these challenges are also the reason we need our professional associations more than ever, for without them we stand virtually alone. Professional associations such as our own AALL Academic Law Libraries SIS, provide a vehicle for continuing education; for fellowship; for support. We don't stand alone, because we are linked by the commonality of interests we share with our colleagues from across North America.

I love my profession, as do you, because despite all of the challenges we face, we know it contributes so much to so many. I sincerely believe the Academic Law Libraries SIS is an organization that should play a significant part in helping our membership succeed as institutions and as individuals. The ALL-SIS should be multifaceted in its goals and objectives of support for our membership. If I were privileged to have the opportunity to serve in a leadership role for the ALL-SIS, I would emphasize the following objectives:

  1. Develop educational programs that truly matter to our membership;
  2. Provide and enthusiastically support forums for the exchange of ideas;
  3. Develop statistical and other pertinent information that will assist our members in seeking the support and resources that are so badly need;
  4. Develop strategies that encourage librarians and non librarians to learn about our profession;
  5. Develop ways the ALL-SIS can support recruiting efforts that bring increasing numbers of excellent candidates into academic law librarianship;
  6. Create appropriate methods of recognizing professional accomplishment among our membership; and
  7. Most importantly, listen to the wants and needs of our membership, and develop programs and activities that support what our membership desires from the ALL-SIS.

I would welcome the opportunity to work to serve my ALL-SIS colleagues. I believe together we can do great things for our profession.

Candidates for Secretary/Treasurer

Ed Beltz

Ed Beltz has been the Access Services Librarian at Mercer University's Furman Smith Law Library at the Walter F. George School of Law since October of 2003. Prior to that, he was the Graduate Assistant for two years at UNC-Chapel Hill's Kathrine R. Everett Law Library. He received a B.S. at UNC-Pembroke in 1998. He received his JD from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2001, and is scheduled to graduate from the School of Information and Library Science at UNC-Chapel Hill with an M.S.L.S. in May of 2004. His complete résumé can be seen at http://www.unc.edu/~beltz/LR2.html.

Statement: Having had the opportunity to work with some outstanding leaders in librarianship while I was at the University of North Carolina's Law Library, including Carol Nicholson during her recent Presidency of AALL, I have been inculcated by fine examples of both the importance and the benefit of involvement in library organizations. In my first full time position as a Law Librarian at Mercer I have found many other examples of exemplary leadership. I have a strong desire to continue the positive experience from UNC and Mercer by learning all I can about the field of Academic Law Librarianship. I can think of no better way than by networking and learning from leaders in the field while assisting ALL-SIS accomplish its goals. The interaction with all sections of ALL-SIS that this position requires will allow me to accomplish both tasks. My prior contributions to AALL have been limited because of my full time work schedule while a full time student completing Library School. With the energy and direction I have, and which can be attested to by present and former colleagues, I hope to direct my insights as a new librarian in a way that will serve ALL-SIS's leadership and members well. I would appreciate the opportunity to serve as the Secretary/Treasurer of ALL-SIS.

Susan Lewis-Somers

Susan Lewis-Somers is Senior Reference Librarian at the American University Law Library in Washington, DC and has been an academic law librarian since 1989. She has a B.A. from UCLA, a J.D. from Southwestern University, and a M. Libr. from the University of Washington. Susan previously worked at the law libraries of Yale, Northwestern and Willamette Universities.

Susan has been an active member of the Academic Law Libraries SIS. She has been a member of AALL since 1988 and the ALL-SIS since 1989. She currently serves on the ALL-SIS Academic Toolkit Task Force and Steering Committee and she was chair of the ALL-SIS Nominations Committee from 1999-2001. Susan also served on the 2003 ALL-SIS Program Committee and on the ALL-SIS Continuing Status and Tenure Committee from 2002-2003. In addition, she has been an active member of numerous AALL, SEAALL and LLSDC committees.

Statement: The Academic Law Libraries SIS has successfully drawn law school librarians together by representing our unique academic interests. Its ALL-SIS listserv offers a sense of community, where we can come together to discuss academic issues throughout the year. And every year the SIS provides a forum for us to meet and work together at the AALL Annual Meeting.

In order for the ALL-SIS to maintain its successes, it must keep its membership informed and active in its elections and it must remain a financially viable organization. As Secretary/Treasurer, I would work to involve active membership participation in SIS elections and to report to the membership in a timely fashion on all board and membership meetings. In addition, I would strive to manage SIS financial records accurately and to capably handle the financial obligations of the SIS.

It would be a distinct honor for me to serve the Academic Law Libraries SIS as its Secretary/Treasurer.