As I promised in my last column, I will continue to respond to the concerns of the Technical Services SIS as outlined in our 1996/97 membership survey. In this column I will address the following five issues: 1) informing membership of approved programs as soon as they are known; 2) recruiting individuals to fill committee positions; 3) strengthening the new members' outreach program; 4) expanding committees so that subcommittees deal with specific areas; and 5) keeping communications open. I would also like to draw your attention to one part of the 1997/98 membership survey concerning TS-SIS programs and attendance at the AALL annual meetings.
This issue of TSLL contains an article by Regina Wallen, the TS-SIS Education Chair, in which she identifies the TS-SIS programs which were approved by the AALL Annual Meeting Program Selection Committee (AMPSC) for Anaheim. In addition to announcing the programs, Reggie describes the process by which our SIS proposed programs. We feel that TSLL is the fastest means for informing the membership of approved programs. Although the printed version of the newsletter will not be received by members until the end of November, the electronic version of TSLL was available by mid-October. October is nine months before the annual meeting; in this regard I feel that we informed you of the approved programs in an expedient manner.
At both the annual TS-SIS business meeting in Baltimore and in my previous column I asked for volunteers for the ad hoc committee to study the provision of educational programs for technical services law librarians (in addition to those programs presented at the AALL annual meeting). The fact that AMPSC only selected three of the TS-SIS programs, one workshop, and the LC Update for the Anaheim meeting is a good indication that there is a definite need for our SIS to take action for ourselves and determine how we can meet the educational needs of our membership beyond the AALL annual meeting. Yet, even though the request for programs outside the annual meeting was listed in the membership survey as an item of concern and the need for the ad hoc committee is more apparent now in light of the program selection process for the Anaheim meeting, only one person has contacted me about working on the ad hoc committee. This lack of response is not only disappointing, but also requires me to recruit members individually for the ad hoc committee. I will review the membership survey for potential committee members; hopefully, if you receive a telephone call or an e-mail message from me you will respond positively to my request to work on this committee. This committee must start its work now so that it can complete its recommendations before our current Vice-Chair, Joe Thomas, completes his year as chair of TS-SIS.
In addition to individual recruitment for the ad hoc committee, I am also seeking members who are interested in volunteering for the following activities; 1) TS-SIS liaison to TSLL, 2) Nominations Chair, 3) chairing or working on a committee to host our SIS table in the exhibit area, 4) representing TS-SIS at CONELL, and 5) creating a new member program. This last item, taken directly from the membership survey, is one that I fully support. Outside of CONELL, we do not have a formal means of welcoming new members into our SIS. I think a little too often new technical services law librarians attend their first TS-SIS Business Meeting and feel clueless and somewhat isolated. Those of you who have served as volunteers on the AALL Mentoring and Retention Committee know how rewarding it can be. We need to take those same mentoring skills and apply them with our new members. This is one committee where individuals just starting out as technical services law librarians may find a natural niche to lead.
I'm perplexed about the request in the membership survey to expand committees to allow subcommittees to deal with specific areas. I thought we were doing this. An example is a subcommittee of the Cataloging and Classification Committee, which was created spontaneously at the last meeting in Baltimore. I'm interested in hearing a fuller explanation from those of you who submitted this request. From my experience in the various TS-SIS committees, there was never any difficulty in forming subcommittees as they were needed. Most often, subcommittees form within the committee structure as a means to address specific tasks which would not be practical for the entire committee to work on as a whole.
The final issue from the membership survey is the request to keep communications open. I don't think anyone would disagree; the challenge is to meet the group's definition of "open." I believe that my approach and the approach of the current TS-SIS Executive Board is no different from previous chairs and boards in recent years. We communicate with the membership via various means: TSLL, electronically on listservs and e-mail, telephone, and the annual business meeting. In addition, I welcome hearing from you on matters pertaining to the TS-SIS. Please do not hesitate to contact me with issues regarding technical services law librarianship and our SIS. Because the request for open communications was mentioned in the membership, I am assuming that we need to do better. I will make every attempt to improve my communication with the membership and will encourage the same commitment from members of the Executive Board and committee chairs.
In conclusion, I'd like to draw your attention to three questions pertaining to the AALL Annual Meeting asked in the recently mailed 1997/98 Membership Survey. The first three questions in part II of the survey ask you to comment on your attendance at the annual meeting. Specifically, we are trying to determine if the number of programs dealing with technical services issues influences your decision to attend the annual meeting. If the responses to these questions indicate a direct correlation between attendance by TS-SIS members at the annual meeting and technical services programs, we will have the data to support an argument calling for a greater number of programs at the annual meeting. If the survey results show this correlation to be true, we will use it in our discussions with the 1999 Washington, D.C. annual meeting program selection committee to lobby for more program coverage. If you have not already submitted your survey, please do so immediately -- we need all members of our SIS to respond. Our Vice-Chair/Chair Elect, Joe Thomas, did an excellent job with this year's survey. He anxiously awaits your response.