future with thoughtful, strong and vibrant leaders. We can't just expect it to happen, we have to create opportunities for members to take on new responsibilities and make new contributions.
2) How can your TS-SIS and OBS-SIS colleagues help you in your term as President? Should we send you weekly supplies of chocolate?
Who told you about my weakness for chocolate? Actually, I have already relied on several TS and OBS colleagues for advice and assistance as I serve on the Executive Board and prepare for a year as President. I hope that everyone continues to be generous with their time, to be willing to help when I have questions, and to say yes when I ask you to serve in new roles. I welcome your input on AALL and SIS issues. Let me hear from you!
3) How do you think your technical services background has helped you in your role as Vice-President/ President Elect?
The most important thing is that I bring a different perspective to Board discussions and deliberations. I'm sure other technical services librarians who have served on the Board would agree with me that our backgrounds and knowledge are different from most of the other Board members. But I have never felt that this was a disadvantage. It's good for the Board to be balanced. The year as Vice President/PresidentElect is a valuable training ground, because the AALL President must be conversant with such a wide range of issues. But no one walks into that job with all the necessary background and skills, and it's important to approach the issues with an open mind and a willingness to listen to other points of view.
4) What path did you take to lead you to the highest levels of AALL leadership?
It has been twenty years since I attended my first AALL meeting and became involved in Association activities. I don't know if I really had a path, certainly not an intentional path. I always tried to balance my interests, so that most years I was participating in SIS activities, committee work, and chapter service. Some people think that I can't say no, but I've never agreed to do anything that wasn't interesting to me. I like the substantive issues as well as the administrative work. I suppose doing so many different things prepared me for serving at the Executive Board level.
5) What's been your most memorable AALL experience?
Receiving the Renee Chapman award.
6) Reflecting on your experiences in AALL, how did your various activities lead you from "new and inexperienced" to "high-powered Board member"?
It's a cliché, but a true one. I was never afraid to volunteer to do something, from analyzing new cataloging rules to writing procedural documents to chairing a committee. I've been fortunate to have met some influential AALL leaders who were willing to take a chance on a newer person. Sometimes it was a matter of being in the right place at the right time. I was working at the National Center for State Courts in Williamsburg at a time when Phyllis Marion needed someone to attend a cataloging-related meeting in Washington for AALL. I didn't know Phyllis very well then, but she was willing to take a chance on me. Later in my career, when I was a new acquisitions librarian, Kathie Price asked me to chair the predecessor to CRIV. It was a plum committee for anyone in acquisitions, and I was vaulted into a leadership position just because Kathie wanted the committee to have some new blood. Penny Hazelton made a non-traditional appointment when she asked me to chair the Education Committee for the 1991 annual meeting. I guess by then I'd had a lot of different committee experience, but the annual meeting responsibilities put me in the spotlight. One thing always leads to another.
7) What would be your advice for technical services librarians who are interested in climbing the association ladder? How should they go about getting more involved?
Work on the things that interest you. Don't volunteer for something unless you really want to spend your time on it. But if you know what you want, don't be afraid to ask for it. Above all, tell the AALL leaders about the organizational and professional issues that are important to you.
8) How should OBS and TS get new members to become more involved? Are chocolates the best way to entice techies?
I think we have to have challenging projects for people to do if we are going to entice them. Maybe we need AACR 3! Chocolate just doesn't last long enough.
9) Are you concerned about the future of the Association? Do the lower attendance levels at the annual meeting mean that these meetings are becoming less relevant for law librarians?
Yes, I'm concerned but not alarmed. Increasingly we are all having to make choices about the conferences we attend. It is incredibly difficult to plan a complete annual meeting that will appeal to the broad range of interests of our members. That is why it is so important for us to have members from all sectors and types of positions in leadership roles. We need to ensure that the annual meeting remains a stimulating educational and networking experience for all our members, but we also recognize the need for more targeted regional programming. AALL's Professional Development Committee responds to that need.
10) If you could make TS-SIS and OBSSIS the most effective they could be, what changes would you make to their structures or purposes? What do you see as their future role in AALL?
If there is pessimism about the future of TS and OBS in AALL, it is no different than what we experience in the workplace. We need to evaluate our jobs and our profession continually so that we remain vital contributors to our organizations. I'd like to see both SIS's examine their purpose and structure, engage in strategic planning, and think about ways to work with other parts of the organization. We have great strengths in our leadership, our educational programs, and our newsletter. We must continue to encourage newer members to be active, to provide opportunities for SIS leadership, to plan programs that address theoretical concepts as well as practical considerations, to communicate and inform through our newsletter and other media. We need to make a difference to our SIS members. Yes, sometimes it's hard to work within the larger organization, and yes, there are competing organizations both nationally and regionally. But I believe that AALL is still the place where we find our common ground.
11) Along the same lines, what do you see as the future role of technical services librarians in law librarianship? What is your greatest concern about our future?
My greatest concern is weighing the balance between the highest standards of product and performance against the reality of shrinking budgets and lost staff lines. A few years ago I wrote a short piece for the Renaissance Committee report, in which I talked about future roles for technical services librarians. Looking back at that, I wouldn't say anything different. Instead of reacting to change, we need to effect change. We must take responsibility for training and retraining library staffs in all areas and at all levels. We need to evaluate our policies and practices, continually and critically. We need to find ways to reduce costs and increase productivity. When standards are compromised, we also need to articulate the consequences of these actions.
12) What is our potential in relation to the Internet? What part of the technology should we be focusing on to make ourselves more visible? What should we be doing now to ensure our skills are enhanced and mesh well with the Web?
People have been saying for a long time now that there is a role for technical services librarians in organizing Internet resources. I agree with that. It's more than a bibliographic control issue, however, and I don't think we can hope to do any systematic cataloging of the Internet. With web-based catalogs we have a greater opportunity to create links to online resources, both those we own or license and those we merely access. We have to advocate for the staff resources to be active in this area, because it is not only an issue of organization, it is an issue of service to our clientele. On the acquisitions side, we need to be much more forceful in our dealings with the publishers of electronic resources. We need to work out better pricing structures, less restrictive licenses, and better technological support for these products. We have to be a watchdog as these products evolve, particularly so that we don't lose access to archival information. The work is the same, but the environment is so different. That's why continuing education and skills training are so important for all of us.
13) Do you sort your M&M's by color first, then devour them?—or do you just grab a small pile in your hand to savor them, assuming of course there's a jar of them nearby in your office?
If I kept a jar of M&Ms in my office, I would need to buy a new wardrobe. But I know from experience (and a recent vending machine purchase) that I eat them in whatever order they come out of the bag. Sorting takes too much time when you need a chocolate fix.
14) Are chocolates addictive? Do you think they need to be regulated like alcohol and tobacco? How does one cut down?
See #13 above. Regulating chocolate might be the last straw for some people. I don't claim to have any answers to the question about cutting down.
15) Lastly, what advice would you give to the new governor-elect of Minnesota, Jesse "The Body" Ventura? Can we hope to see him as a guest speaker at AALL in Philadelphia? Do you think he likes chocolate?
I knew I couldn't escape without a question about Jesse. He was mayor of my city for four years, and I never noticed him eating chocolate during City Council meetings. Of course, he might have more will power than I have. After being on the late night talk show circuit, will he be interested in an appearance at AALL in Philadelphia? Only time will tell.