Special Interest Section
|From the Chair|
One of the episodes of Arthur had to do with New Year’s Eve. (For the uninitiated, Arthur is an eight-year-old cartoon aardvark who is the subject of books, paraphernalia, and the star of his own PBS series.) Arthur had decided not to try to stay up until midnight because he’d always fallen asleep before 12:00 in years past. His little sister, D.W., was begging for the privilege to stay up late but to no avail. When Arthur’s friends learned of his decision, each of them related what he’d be missing, such as: the green burst of light (if it doesn’t happen, it’s not a new year); the rush to trash the previous year’s calendar before the Calendar Police come around; the wrestling match between an old guy in a diaper — Father Time? — and a baby — the New Year? — (if the old guy wins, the baby has to go live with a groundhog and there will be six more weeks of winter); and all the parents going away to a meeting of which aliens are in charge and where parents gloat about the awful things done to their kids the previous year then plan more awful things for the new year. These tales persuaded Arthur to change his mind and he was determined to stay awake. As you can guess, Arthur fell asleep before midnight. On the other hand, D.W. had wakened and convinced Grandmother Thora, who was babysitting, to let her stay up. When the clock struck midnight, D.W. cheered and danced around for a few seconds. Then her expression turned to one of confusion and she said, “Is that it?! That’s all there is?” Her celebration woke up Arthur, and typical of a younger sibling, D.W. made it sound like Arthur had missed The Big Event.
Even before this airing of Arthur, I had recognized that I would be writing this column and anticipating that I would have something to say about the anticlimactic passing from one millennium to the next. So, I will.
Did you feel it? Is everything totally different for you now that it’s 2000? Of course, it’s more difficult to date a check, having to remember to change all four digits rather than just the last one. All the years and dollars invested paid off for most persons around the world (except for the guy that didn’t get a movie back to Blockbuster on time). As with each new day, some things have changed, while others haven’t. In the other systems of dating around the word, it was just another day.
Did that one tick of the clock, atomic or wind-up, change anything for the Technical Services Special Interest Section? Probably not. However, what new years do for us is give us an opportunity to review, to examine where we are compared to where we’ve been and where we want to go. What I left out of the telling of the Arthur episode is what Grandmother Thora told Arthur after D.W. finished rubbing it in. After Arthur realized he’d fallen asleep, he said to his grandmother, “It’s all over?” “No, it’s just beginning.” She told Arthur that what makes a new year happy for anyone is to review the happy times from the year just past. Do we as a section have any “happy times” to review? Sure, we do! Well, maybe not jumping-up-and-down-with-huge-grins happy times, but certainly we have a lot to celebrate.
We still have a strong membership numbering over 600. Of those 600+, 16 serve as officers, committee chairs, or representatives on the TSLL Board, and dozens more serve on the committees. Joe Thomas continued in the line of excellent Chairs and still serves TS-SIS in the Past Chair position. He is my role model as I try to wend my way through the maze of Section procedure and politics. The Section co-sponsors an excellent (I dare say, the best) bulletin. There will be a full-day workshop and seven programs sponsored or co-sponsored by TS-SIS at the AALL meeting this summer. Last year, we sponsored eight programs, so I’d say we have a pretty good track record going. We have an Ad Hoc Strategic Planning Committee established and beginning its work. We’re examining our committee structure and the duties of our Board at-large members. Our annual survey was available on the TS-SIS Web site for the first time (thank you, Alva!). There are likely other events and persons to celebrate that I’m missing; if I’ve offended anyone by way of omission, I apologize.
Grandmother Thora told Arthur that “it’s just the beginning”. Isn’t that why we tend to make resolutions at the dawn of a new year, because we feel it’s an opportunity to start afresh? What opportunities await TS-SIS in 2000? We may have the opportunity to be directly involved in AALL’s response to the FTC’s decision to rescind the CFR’s Guides for the Law Book Industry. One or more of us may have the opportunity to be involved with a new legal publications price index, if the AALL Board approves its publication. We definitely will have the opportunity to submit program proposals for the 2001 annual meeting, then be coordinators, moderators, or speakers. We have the wonderful opportunity, as individuals and as a section, to chart the future of the SIS through the strategic planning process. You have numerous opportunities to become more involved in TS-SIS. No one knows what other opportunities may come our way this year.
Will there be challenges? I can answer that one easily – yes! As I’m writing this column at the end of January, there is a delicate situation that I need to poll the Board members on and then formulate a statement representing the Board’s position on the issue. I’ll be surprised (and relieved) if no other challenges like this one come along. Some people like to think of challenges as opportunities. I have to admit that usually I don’t take that positive an outlook, but I will admit that challenges keep life from being boring and that we do learn and grow from them.
So, here’s to the opportunities and challenges that await the Technical Services Special Interest Section in 2000. I wish for each of you and the Section a New Year full of opportunities and challenges, and of course, happiness!
Shook, Hardy & Bacon, LLP