From the Chair
Jean Wenger, Chair
The sunny Northwest provided an invigorating backdrop for the 2003 AALL Annual Meeting. Four FCIL-sponsored programs were held focusing on such diverse topics as the Council of Europe, the CISG, Maritime Law and American Indian Law. I had the opportunity to attend several committee and interest group meetings, and was again reminded of the many collection and research issues facing foreign, comparative and international law librarians and how generous you are in sharing your ideas and concerns. I strongly encourage members to attend interest group meetings as they are a rare opportunity to meet personally with colleagues. Reports from these meetings are available in this issue of the newsletter.
We had the distinct pleasure of welcoming Emmanuel Darkey, Librarian at the Faculty of Law Library, University of Ghana as the 2003 recipient of the Ellen Schaffer Foreign Librarian's Grant. During the African Law Interest Group meeting, Emmanuel spoke of his often challenging situation at the University in providing legal resources to faculty and students. We owe a thank you to Rhonda Gold, the Schaffer Grant Committee, and those FCIL members who helped to make Emmanuel’s visit possible through their generosity. (See, “Memories of the 96th Annual AALL Meeting”)
The theme of the 2004 Annual Meeting, Boston to Mumbai: The World of Legal Information, resounds like a drum roll for the inaugural year of our new Strategic Plan. The Boston meeting’s focus on foreign and international law and globalization is a unique opportunity for the FCIL SIS to highlight its role in the vitality of AALL and its prominent place in the field of law librarianship. Enthusiasm for the 2004 Boston meeting was certainly contagious as one workshop, fourteen programs and one FCIL cosponsored program were submitted to the Annual Meeting Program Committee. A note of appreciation is due Dan Wade (Yale). Dan drafted a proposal for eight international law workshops to be held in conjunction with the AALL Annual Meetings. The first pre-conference workshop on international trade, “Shopping in the Global Marketplace: Information Sources for International Trade” was proposed for Boston.
The prominent theme running throughout the new FCIL Strategic Plan is education:
1) education of new and experienced members in foreign, comparative and international law;
2) education of our stakeholders, especially directors, about the need for more foreign, comparative and international law positions; and
3) education of AALL and its membership about the unquestionable need for foreign, comparative and international law specialists and resources in the twenty-first century.
Our SIS must capitalize on ways to present our educational needs to AALL. The proposal for the series of eight international law workshops was presented to AALL Executive Director, Susan Fox. The letter outlining the proposal focused on the successes of earlier Institutes, the current need for similar training, and strategies for making the workshops economically sustainable. At present, Susan and the AALL Board are awaiting the report of the Career Development Needs Assessment Survey, which is due later this fall. They expect this report to be the basis for the tone and structure of future educational initiatives of AALL. Whatever the outcome, our SIS must be committed to plotting our future course in the changing and uncertain environment. Quality programs and workshops, listservs, website, print promotional materials, committees and interest groups give us a reservoir of resources to rely upon to advance our educational objectives. These resources coupled with our collective drive and dedication is our legacy to the next generation of foreign, comparative and international law librarians.
Many, many thanks to interest group leaders, committee chairs, program coordinators, moderators and speakers, and the numerous members who attend meetings and contribute through listservs and other ways. You keep FCIL vibrant. I am looking forward to an exciting year. Coming to an inbox near you - look for future announcements about a new membership and public relations committee, and a revitalized education committee. As chair, I am just a temporary custodian at the helm of the FCIL SIS. Your ideas, enthusiasm and dedication will keep us on course. Thanks for your support.