by Lyonette Louis-Jacques
University of Chicago Law Library
This will be my last message as Chair of the FCIL SIS. And to think this all started about a year ago! I have learned a lot about how the FCIL SIS fits in the AALL structure in the past year and what makes it work. We are a very special group! The SIS came into existence in 1985 and now, in its tenth year, has 364 members in an AALL organization that has over 5000 members. And since it was started, the FCIL SIS has had strong leaders that put into place certain traditions which I have tried to uphold, as well as meet the requirements of AALL.
Needless to say, this year has been educational and fun as I learned even more about this SIS, of which I have always been proud and happy to be an active participant. As Chair, I received regular mailings from AALL Headquarters informing me on legislative activities, Executive Board meetings, AALL nominations, and, asking me to fill out forms, answer questions, and provide other information. I worked with AALL HQ to get the best schedule I could for the FCIL SIS committee and working group meetings for the AALL annual meeting in Pittsburgh, given the time constraints of the National Conference on Legal Information Issues. Unfortunately, most of the working group meetings were shortened to 45 minutes long this year as requested by AALL HQ in order to accommodate the National Conference on Legal Information's schedule, but will be back to their normal one-hour length next year--at least one hour is needed to get real work done at the group meetings.
The working groups were started by Dan Wade when he was chair and have become one of the most useful activities for SIS members to participate in at the AALL annual meetings. This is where, for one hour, you can consult with colleagues face-to-face about day-to-day, practical problems having to do with collection development, cataloging, publishers, new developments, teaching, etc., related to foreign, comparative, and international legal resources in print and electronic format. You have time to ask questions and share information with other foreign law librarians, meet people in the profession, and put a face to that name you've seen on the Internet or the person you've talked to on the phone. And you get real work done and have information to bring back to your institution.
The original five working groups that Dan Wade pioneered when he was FCIL SIS chair were on African Law, Asian Law, Latin American Law, Soviet Law (which has become CIS & East European Law), and Teaching Foreign and International Law. Mila Rush added the Electronic Issues and Processing Issues working groups when she was chair of the SIS (and several special committees). And I started the International Issues working group, which has an International Organizations/Human Rights sub-group--this group had its first meeting informally in 1994 in Seattle. So now the FCIL SIS benefits from having nine working groups in which to exchange information about publications, vendors, courses, and any new developments, and where we can seek the collective wisdom of colleagues who have experienced similar problems.
In addition to scheduling the working groups, as Chair, I answered questions concerning signs for the FCIL SIS meetings, hors d'oeuvres and beverages for the FCIL SIS Business Meeting and Reception for Attendees From Abroad (quite a challenge since I'm pretty much a fast-food person!), having an FCIL SIS table in the Exhibit Hall and the CONELL (Conference of Newer Law Librarians) Marketplace (both to introduce AALL members to the activities of the SIS and to inform them about the work of foreign and international law librarians), etc. I also attended functions of the American Society of International Law (ASIL) and the International Association of Law Libraries (IALL)--two organizations which are useful for work in foreign law librarianship. And I continued my contributions to the INT-LAW list on email@example.com quick, electronic means of exchanging information with foreign law librarians and others worldwide.
Some of the ongoing traditions which have made the SIS so wonderful to be part of include joining other FCIL SIS members at reserved tables at the President's Luncheon on Monday during the Annual Meeting (started by Dan Wade), the Adopt-a-Flag program (started by Mila Rush)--look for the flags at the FCIL SIS table in the Exhibit Hall--and the reception for attendees from abroad. The reception, started by Jon Pratter, is a great opportunity to welcome and meet librarians from overseas who are attending the Annual Meeting. It is a very special event that I hope all FCIL SIS members at the meeting are able to attend.
These traditions continue, and some new ones are beginning. Thanks to Ken Rudolf, Mark Folmsbee, Washburn University Law School, and others, the FCIL Newsletter is now on the World Wide Web! The URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is: http://www.law.wuacc/fcil/newsl.html. Internet access will broaden the exposure worldwide to the work of our SIS as well as provide ready access to the contents of the FCIL Newsletter when the paper copy is not available. In addition to improved access, the FCIL Newsletter now has columnists to report on news of our members' professional activities and technical processing issues. Thank you Mila Rush and Aaron Kuperman! Besides publicity for our SIS via our quality Newsletter, we also continued to report on FCIL SIS activities in the Special Interest Section News column of the AALL Newsletter, thanks to Grace Mills. Contributions to this column are important in order for the FCIL SIS to share information with the general membership of AALL, and to make them aware that the FCIL SIS is a resource for them in their work.
And we continue to have very good educational programs presented at the AALL Annual Meeting. I would like to thank Marci Hoffman and Jolande Goldberg for their work on getting FCIL SIS proposed programs accepted by the AALL Education Committee for the 1995 Pittsburgh meeting. And AALL and Oceana for their continuing support of the five sequenced institutes to train foreign and international law librarians:
The sequence is almost completed, but luckily for those who missed the previous institutes, papers based on each institute are being published by Oceana!
All in all, a wonderful year and a bright future! I appointed a Nominations Committee comprising Tim Kearley (chair), Dan Wade, and Mila Rush to select a Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect and a Secretary/Treasurer for the FCIL SIS. They selected two members who have contributed greatly to the SIS Margareta Horiba and Radu Popa. I thank the Nominations Committee for their work. And I look forward to working with Francisco Avalos, 1995-96 FCIL SIS Chair, and the new leadership of the SIS in the future. And I thank everyone else who has worked to make the FCIL SIS such a great SIS!
I look forward to seeing you all at the Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh. This is your chance to become involved and meet everyone in person! Attend the FCIL SIS programs, subcommittee and working group meetings, the business meeting and reception--they are wonderful ways to participate in the SIS (chance meetings in hallways and impromptu lunches and whatnots are pretty fun too!). Below is the schedule of meetings for the FCIL SIS. See you there! Arrivederci!
See y'all in Pittsburgh!
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