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|From the Chair|
Membership in the OBS-SIS yields many benefits. Some are tangible, some are not. There are the networking/interaction with colleagues, discussion forum, learning to lead, adding to your resume/vita, etc. aspects of OBS membership and these are very important. But there are a few tangible benefits too, and I would like to point them out. You are now reading one of the biggest and best benefits in my opinion, this newsletter. TSLL updates OBS members on what is happening in the world of OBS, AALL, law librarianship, and librarianship, in general. This is essential, both for those who are unable to attend AALL annual meetings and for those who do attend, but need to stay in touch throughout the course of the year. TSLL also serves as a historic record of OBSí activities.
Another tangible benefit of OBS membership is the AALL annual meeting each year. Much of OBSí efforts are focused on making the experience a valuable one for its members. At the annual meeting, OBS-sponsored educational programs are presented, business and committee meetings are held (as well as a reception), and there is an OBS Table in the Activities Area of the Exhibit Hall. I am happy to report that the AALL annual meeting in July 2000 in Philadelphia was an unqualified success from OBSí perspective! Not that Iím biased or anything Ö
The OBS Activities Table in Philadelphia was the busiest I think I have ever seen it. And it was packed with great stuff! There was Biddle Law Libraryís copy of the Law Library Systems Directory on display (thanks Pat Callahan!), which generated a good deal of discussion, particularly as regards the future method of updating. (The Directory is another tangible OBS benefit.) Also present at the Table: the ever-popular paperback swap, sample issues of TSLL, OBS brochures, handouts from the MARBI representative (thanks Rhonda Lawrence!), handouts listing OBS meetings and programs, and candy. The new OBS key tag giveaway (thanks Georgia Briscoe!) proved to be quite popular too. Many visitors to the table commented on the key tagís utility and small size, a definite plus when packing oneís luggage in order to return home! I want to thank Georgia for coordinating the OBS Table content, as well as the schedule for the wonderful OBS members who spent time there greeting visitors and answering questions. On a related note, Diana Osbaldiston had a representative sampling of the goodies at the CONELL Marketplace, where she urged new law librarians to join OBS (thanks Diana!). And I think I can safely say that a good time was had by all at the TS/OBS/RIPS/CS reception sponsored by those SISs and Innovative Interfaces Inc. Thanks to Georgia for assisting with the planning of the reception for OBS.
Also present in the Activities Area, were the time capsules. AALL had organized this effort and supplied the boxes. Many SISs and committees participated, including OBS. Here is a list of what is in the OBS time capsule:
These are symbols of OBS that will hopefully inform whoever opens this time capsule in 2025 about what OBS did in the past. Thanks to Susan Chinoransky who spearheaded OBSí participation by collecting and documenting submissions and transporting the box to Philadelphia and to all who participated by contributing content!
Corinne Jacox announced at the OBS business meeting that Larry Dershem has been awarded the OBS/TS Joint Research Grant for this year in the amount of $1,000. He will use the funds to assist him in his research of enhancement of the Library of Congress Classification (LCC) system.
The educational programs sponsored by OBS in Philadelphia were excellent! I plan to purchase tapes for those I could not attend. I hope you will do the same. Also look for reports of those programs and of the OBS business and committee meetings in TSLL. As always, we hadnít even begun this yearís annual meeting, when planning for next yearís programming was well underway. But never fear, OBS was hard at work and the proposals are in! The deadline for submitting program and workshop proposals for the 2001 AALL Annual Meeting in Minneapolis was August 14th and OBS was very busy right up until that afternoon finishing up the details. I want to especially thank Ismael Gullon, OBS Education Chair! Many thanks also to the members of the Education Committee: Pam Deemer, Richard Jost, Mary Jane Kelsey, and Anna Belle Leiserson. I also want to thank Pat McCoy (TS Education Committee Chair) and Alva Stone (TS Chair) for being so willing to collaborate on co-sponsoring proposals with OBS.
Here are the details on the 2001 program and workshop proposals that were submitted:
In my next column, I will give an update on which of these proposals have been accepted. Itís not very likely that all will be chosen, since the competition is fierce. But the presence of even a few of these on the program will make attending next yearís meeting worthwhile for OBS members. Iím getting psyched alreadyóI hope you are too!
There was a little problem with our previously announced chair for the OBS Nominations Committee. I felt that it would make sense for the OBS Chair to move into this position when s/he completed her/his term as Chair. Well, it seems this is not allowed, since that person is still serving on the OBS Board in the role of Immediate Past Chair. As sort of an extension of the same logic, Jack Bissett, who completed his Past Chair term in July, has graciously agreed to Chair the OBS Nominations Committee. Pam Deemer and Sue Roach will assist him. If you are contacted by the Nominations Committee, please do consider running for office. OBS has great members who volunteer to do all sorts of amazing things and thus make the officersí jobs that much easier.
The OBS Strategic Planning Committee members present in Philadelphia participated in a "jump start" session led by Gail Warren, who led a similar effort for the SCCLL-SIS recently. We met at the Biddle Law Library and all were energized by Gailís enthusiasm for and advice about the strategic planning process. To summarize very briefly, we did some brainstorming exercises to help us focus on forming a mission statement for OBS. This is not the same as the "Object" stated in the OBS bylaws, though it flows in part from that. Next we did a SWOT analysis to determine the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats for OBS. An environmental scan will take place to gather input from you, the members of OBS. If you are contacted, please give some of your time to this valuable effort!
Sally Wambold, Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, will monitor the assignment matrix and dole out the tasks to the Committee members. In addition, Sally and I will keep the OBS membership up-to-date about where things stand. Weíll do that here in TSLL, on the OBS-SIS electronic list (to which you are or will soon be automatically subscribed), and on the Web site. Strategic planning is a process that takes a long time and rightfully so, since great care and much consultation must take place. Strategic planning is a top priority for me as OBS Chair. I hope to see this project through to the point where an announcement can be made to the OBS membership in Minneapolis about the existence of an OBS three year strategic plan. Realistically, an organization never stops strategic planning. Almost constant reevaluation is essential as goals are achieved, new goals surface, or some goals continue to require steady attention.
Next time I also hope to fill you in on some developments with the OBS Web site. As I write this in late August, itís still badly out-of-date and I do apologize for that. But I have already begun to work on turning that around. I am holding off on announcing anything until we have at least a slightly improved product. But this is definitely another top priority for me in this year. I donít want to get too ambitious just yet, so Iím not planning a big graphic redesign or anything major like that. I simply want to give you, the OBS membership, a better OBS Web site with up-to-date and meaningful content.
So now you know my two major objectives as OBS Chair: moving the strategic planning process along and improving the OBS Web site. Please hold me accountable! We all know how busy we can get with the daily crises. I need your help to keep on track with the OBS agenda. I plan to use this column, the OBS-SIS electronic list, and eventually the Web site, to communicate with you regularly. So could you do me a favor? When I post messages asking for any type of feedback, please drop me a quick response! Itís so much easier if I have some input to let me know if you like what OBS is doing or not. Tell me what you thinkóI promise to listen and try my best to make a change for the better!