SR-SIS Newsletter - Fall 2013

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From the Chair

Dear Fellow SR-SIS Members,

My name is Sarah and it is my pleasure to serve the SR-SIS as the 2013/14 Chair.  As the ‘social conscience’ of AALL, the SR-SIS has a broad charge that encompasses heightening members’ awareness of critical social issues, as well as fostering inclusion and collaboration.  This year the SR-SIS – through the hard work of its members – has carried out this charge in a number of ways.  

Stacy Etheredge of Western Virginia College of Law Library organized the 2013 book drive, which benefited Pages Ahead, a leading provider of children's literacy services in Washington State.  The drive raised $320 in cash and over 385 books. Tim Gatton of Oklahoma City University Law Library has stepped up to organize the 2014 drive for the San Antonio Annual Meeting.  The 2014 drive will mark the 16th year the SR-SIS has run the book drive.  

David Selden has successfully coordinated the Solar Heater Project for the second year running, in conjunction with the Native Peoples Law Caucus and the Environmental Law Caucus.  This project will help Native American families who are struggling to pay their heating bills and will replace “dirty” electricity created from coal-fired power plants with clean solar energy.  At the 2013 Annual Meeting, AALL members donated $675 to the Solar Heater Project.  This amount will cover about ½ the cost of building and installing a solar heater. It is also equivalent to offsetting about 67 tons of C02 and the travel emissions of about 67 conference attendees.  This year, David continues to lead on issues of environmental justice and sustainability in his new SR-SIS/Environmental Law Caucus push for greening the AALL Annual Meeting.  If you wish to work with David on this project, email him at dselden@narf.org.  

The SR-SIS and its Standing Committees offered a variety of programming at the July 2013 Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington.  The SR-SIS sponsored “Respect for Marriage: Equal Protection for Same-Sex Couples in Washington State and Before the U.S. Supreme Court.”  Moderated by 2012/13 SR-SIS Chair David Holt, this program brought together a panel of experts to make sense of the recent Supreme Court same-sex marriage decisions.  SR-SIS members participated in 19 other programs.  The Standing Committee on Lesbian and Gay Issues:  Embracing the Diversity of Sexual Orientations and Gender Identities hosted another fabulous and well-attended reception that benefited the Holoch Grant.  The Standing Committee on Law Library Service to Institutional Residents co-sponsored another informative roundtable on Services to Pro Se Patrons and Prisoners, where Stefanie Wilson shared her experiences about working with prisoners and Matthew Burnett of the Immigration Advocates Network spoke on serving undocumented workers.  

The SR-SIS will continue its work with the AALL to promote issues of social justice and inclusion both within and outside the Association.  The SR-SIS collaborated with AALL on a comment opposing New York State’s proposed rule to eliminate prison print libraries.  In response to San Antonio City Council’s consideration of amending its non-discrimination ordinance to include discrimination protection on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, the SR-SIS spearheaded a campaign to urge the AALL Executive Board to formally support the passage of the ordinance.  The Executive Board reacted swiftly and submitted a formal letter to the Council in support of the ordinance’s passage and also lobbied the San Antonio Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to do the same.  Those in support of the ordinance were happy to see the Council vote to adopt the amendment on September 5, 2013.

The SR-SIS recently submitted two agenda items for the fall AALL Executive Board Meeting.  One item asked the Board to amend the Annual Meeting Site Selection Policy to make it consistent with the antidiscrimination provision in the bylaws. The other agenda item asked the Board to amend the antidiscrimination provision of the bylaws to include protection on the basis of gender identity.  Both agenda items were accepted and the Board voted unanimously in support of both requests.  The Annual Meeting Site Selection will be updated in accordance with the agenda item and the amendment to the bylaws will be put to a vote by the membership via electronic ballot in mid-December 2013 through January 2014.  

These are just a few ways the SR-SIS continues carry out its mission to promote social justice and inclusion.  The SR-SIS leadership is always open to hearing about new projects or issues to work on. If you have an issue that you would like the SR-SIS to explore, or a project another SIS or caucus would like to partner with us to complete, do not hesitate to get in touch with me, CJ Pippins, the 2013/14 vice-chair,  or Lisa Junghahn, the 2012/13-2013/14 secretary/treasurer.


Sarah Jaramillo
Leo T. Kissam Memorial Library
Fordham University School of Law


Three Cheers for our Members

On September 5, 2013, the San Antonio City Council voted to amend its Non-Discrimination Ordinance to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and veteran’s status.  Thanks to pressure from the SR-SIS and its members, AALL formally advocated for the passage of the ordinance and lobbied the San Antonio Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to do the same.   The SR-SIS’s advocacy on this issue would not have been possible without the help of its members.  The Association owes a big debt of gratitude to SR-SIS member Elliott Blevins, who brought this issue to the attention of the SIS via an August 21 post to the SR-SIS My Communities page.   The work and advice of the SR-SIS Executive Board, Ron Wheeler, Meg Butler, Lee VanDuzer, Mark Estes, Camille Broussard and Jeff Berns was also instrumental in this collaborative effort.

SR-SIS members are busy contributing the Association in many other ways.  In August of 2013, David Selden begin his push for greening the Association, by submitting a proposal to AALL for making the 2014 AALL conference in San Antonio more environmentally sustainable.   In early September, Jeff Berns brought to the SR-SIS’s attention the need to amend the Association’s Annual Meeting Site Selection Policy to ensure compliance with the antidiscrimination provision of the bylaws.  He also raised the issue of amending the antidiscrimination bylaw provision to add gender identity as a protected class.  The SR-SIS Executive Board responded by submitting two agenda items for consideration at the AALL Executive Board’s November 1 Board Meeting calling for action on these issues.
  

It is through the participation and work by members like Elliott Blevins, David Selden, Jeff Berns and many others that the SR-SIS continues its vital role as the social conscience of AALL.  So, this message is a call to our members to continue to raise social justice issues to the group and its leadership.  


Sarah Jaramillo
Leo T. Kissam Memorial Library
Fordham University School of Law


Service & Learning

Although raised in a very modest environment, my grandparents instilled in me a deep sense of service to the community.  As a child, I was encouraged to donate books and clothing.  In high school, I worked with friends to organize fundraisers and food drives for neighborhood activities.  I carried this service commitment through college, and then as a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa after graduation.

The tradition has continued in the last 13 years.  First in the Bronx, where I led a child literacy program on Saturday mornings.  And then in Philadelphia, where I worked with third-graders in an after school homework program. For the last four years, through a Cambridge Public Library literacy program, I tutored a woman from Bangladesh who has become a great friend.  This friend has gone from completing a high school preparation class to taking community college classes. 

As of this summer, I now lead a weekly intermediate ESL class.  The classes are free and attended by students of many ages and cultures.  There are two varieties of students.  There are those from wealthy countries who are in Cambridge to complete graduate degrees, or are the partners of those who have come to work in the high tech industry. 

And there are those from less wealthy countries.  They are highly motivated immigrants who live in subsidized housing and hold jobs as cashiers.  They are eager to improve their English and move up into professional jobs.  They bring dictionaries, work hard at their sentences, and ask intense grammar questions.  They are extremely curious about the culture in the United States.  In fact, our most lively class related to the topic of when to say “thank you” and “sorry.”  It seems Americans are excessively polite when it comes to thank you!

I have learned a great deal from all of my volunteer work.  However, I share the story of these ESL classes with you, my SR-SIS colleagues, because it offers an example of a fulfilling way to serve the community while gaining (free) teaching experience.  I am in front of students every week.  Thinking on my feet.  And communicating across gender, generations and culture.  There is so much that I will apply this fall when working with our incoming 1Ls and LLMs.


Lisa Junghahn

Harvard Law School Library


Proposed Minutes for the July 15, 2013 SR-SIS Business Meeting


Location: Washington State Convention Center, Room 203

Time: 5:30 to 6:45pm


David Holt called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. Introductions of those present were made.


Minutes and Treasurer’s Report


David Holt distributed the minutes from the 2012 SR-SIS business meeting, which were then approved.  The 2012 SR-SIS treasurer’s report was similarly distributed and approved.  


Archives


Meg Butler discussed the archives policy.  The online archives will not include: financial documents or Holoch Grant application.  The online archive will include the names of Holoch Grant award recipients, however.   


The SR-SIS chair will now set up a committee to investigate technology for storing archives in the long term and then take appropriate action to migrate online archives to that new storage location.  AALLNet, Google Drive and Dropbox will be investigated as options, as well as other options.  


Book Drive


Stacy Etheredge reported on the progress of the 2013 Book Drive, which benefits Pages Ahead.  The theme of this year’s drive is “It’s Raining Books” and Alethea Jones, from Harvard Law Library, provided the book drive with artwork for the second year in a row.  The SR-SIS will give $100 as a token of the group’s appreciate for her fabulous work.  Thus far, the book drive has collected 255 books via the Amazon.com wishlist and $300 in cash and gift card donations.  The members of the SR-SIS present at the meeting agreed to donate $650 to the book drive.   Stacy noted that next year’s drive will be the 16th. Timothy Gatton agreed to run next year’s book drive.  


Report from the Standing Committee on Lesbian and Gay Issues


CJ Pippins reported on the Standing Committee on Lesbian and Gay Issues (“SCLGI”) reception that took place the previous evening, Sunday, 7/14/13, from 8 to 10:30 at the Alexis Hotel.  CJ noted that $966 was raised for the Holoch Grant and $206 was received for Planned Parenthood of Texas.  Lee Van Duzer, the incoming chair of the SCLGI, said he would forward the funds raised for Planned Parenthood to the appropriate person at that organization.  


Report from the Standing Committee on Service to Institutional Residents


Stacy Etheredge reported on the SCSIR business meeting, which took place on Sunday, July 14, 2013, from 7:00 to 8:15 a.m. in Washington State Convention Center, room 2009, with five people in attendance.  The business meeting attendees brainstormed for new ideas and discussed ways in which the group can move forward on some of them.  


Stacy said she wants to change the name of the group to be the Standing Committee on Service to Prisoners.  She said she will draft the amendment and have it ready to vote on at the next SR-SIS business meeting.  


David Holt reported on the work he has been doing as the SR-SIS webmaster to convert and update the prisoner letter database.  Right now, he is looking for ways to get new functionality and better searching.  David said he was going to create a Google spreadsheet and make a few listserv announcements to update the list of libraries who serve prisoners.  Prano Amjadi said that we can contact the SCLL-SIS to see if they know of any new programs.  David said he would look to see if ALA has a prisoner’s group.  


David Holt also thought it would be valuable for the SCSIR and the SR-SIS to create a list of innocence projects.  


SR-SIS’s Involvement with AALL to comment on NY state proposed elimination of prisoner law library print collection was discussed.  Sarah Jaramillo thanked Jeff Berns for alerting SR-SIS leadership of the proposed rule.  The SR-SIS heavily collaborated with Emily Feltren from AALL’s Government Relations Office to craft a comment that stated AALL’s opposition to the proposed elimination.  Unfortunately, the New York Department of Corrections finalized its rule to eliminate New York state prison law library print collections.  


Solar Heater Project


The SR-SIS again this year sponsored a solar heater project which is being carried out by Trees, Water & People, a non-profit organization.  David Selden coordinated this fundraiser and regularly staffed the SR-SIS table in Exhibit Hall to encourage donations.  This project will help Native American families who are struggling to pay their heating bills and will replace “dirty” electricity created from coal-fired power plants with clean solar energy. This project, also supported by the Native Peoples Law Caucus and Environmental Law Caucus, helps families heat their homes in South Dakota where families often spend more than 50% of their income on heating and temperatures often go below zero.  Last year we raised nearly enough funds to buy an entire solar heater.   This is a great project that we hope will be even more successful this year.  


Web Site


David Holt agreed to continue on as web master for this year.  


Newsletter


Sarah Jaramillo will follow up with Meg about publishing the next issue of the newsletter and possibly continuing on as the newsletter editor for the upcoming year.  


Service to Mentally Ill Patrons


David wants to continue working on getting a policy statement together about serving mentally ill patrons.  He wants to start by examining Nick Harrell’s master’s thesis on the topic as a basis of this policy statement.  We can also look to see if ALA has a policy statement for serving mentally ill patrons, as well.  Sarah Jaramillo threw out the idea of having a program on serving mentally ill patrons at next’s year’s Annual Meeting.  


Publicity Committee


Sarah Jaramillo chaired the publicity committee this year.  Prior to the Annual Meeting, Sarah publicized the SR-SIS program and activities via AALLnet My Communities, Twitter and Facebook. SR-SIS branded sunglasses were the give-aways this year.   Lisa Junghahn tabled at the CONELL Marketplace.  Stacy Etheredge, David Holt and Sarah Jaramillo shared responsibilities of tabling in Exhibit Hall during the Annual Meeting.