ARCHIVED: Legal Information Services to the Public SIS

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Evolving from the Legal Information Services to the Public Committee, LISP was officially established as an SIS at the 1988 AALL Annual Meeting in Atlanta. After the SIS was approved by the AALL Executive Board at its January 1988 meeting, 1987-1988 Committee Chair, Mary Beth Dunn saw to it that by-laws were written and approved, and that a slate of officers was presented to the membership so that the SIS could begin work immediately.

The SIS continued the activities of the Committee that had been in existence since 1982. One long- standing project is the Clearinghouse which collects, organizes, and disseminates workshop and project materials prepared by AALL and the local chapters. The Clearinghouse is currently maintained at the Texas Tech Law School Library in Lubbock, Texas. Materials are loaned to interested chapters and individuals without charge. To assist in accessing the collection, an annotated bibliography of its holdings is available upon request.

The SIS also has a brochure available from AALL Headquarters, "How to Research a Legal Problem, a Guide for Non-Lawyers." SIS members recently completed the LISP Toolkit, a series of Web pages available at AALLNet that also show non-lawyers how to research legal problems.

The SIS also promotes the creation of LISP committees in each of the chapters. Chapter committees are encouraged to prepare legal research guides, state legal bibliographies and community agency referral lists. Guidelines for these activities are published in LISP's Public Services Procedural Guide. Local groups also present programs such as legal research for public librarians.

In addition, the SIS encourages and supports AALL chapters in providing pro bono legal research assistance to legal service organizations, bar associations pro bono programs, and the community.

Results of a survey of chapters' LISP and pro bono committees and programs will serve as a guide and referral directory for local efforts.

The SIS publishes the LISP Newsletter to publicize activities of the SIS, AALL chapters, and individual libraries concerning legal information to the public. The SIS has also prepared a brochure describing its goals and activities. Copies may be obtained from Headquarters.

While a committee, several programs were presented at annual meetings. The SIS has continued this practice. The first program sponsored by LISP as an SIS was at the 1990 Annual Meeting in Minneapolis.


Chairs of the Section:

Elizabeth Schneider 1988/89
Roberta (Bobbie) Studwell1989/90
Mary Ann Nelson 1990/91
Kathy Garner 1991/92
Sharon Blackburn 1992/93
Heather Simmons 1993/94
Maria E. Protti 1994/95
Frank Herch 1995/96
David McFadden 1996/97
Elizabeth McKenzie 1997/98
Patricia Court 1998/99
Angus B. Nesbit 1999/00
R. Lee Wathen 2000/01
Deborah Norwood 2001/02
Randy Mafit` 2002/03



American Association of Law Libraries




(As Amended March 31, 1997)

Article I: NAME

The name of this Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) shall be the Legal Information Service to the Public Section.

Article II: OBJECT

The object of the Legal Information Service to the Public Section shall be:

  1. To improve access to legal information and to promote legal information service to the public.

  2. To represent its members' interests and concerns within AALL.

It shall conduct its affairs in conformity with the Constitution and Bylaws of the American Association of Law Libraries.


Membership shall be open to any AALL member requesting affiliation with the Legal Information Service to the Public Section as provided in the AALL bylaws.


  • Section 1. Annual Meetings.
    There shall be an annual meeting of the Legal Information Service to the Public Section, held in connection with, or during, the annual meeting of the AALL.

  • Section 2. Quorum.
    A quorum shall consist of the members present at the meeting.


  • Section 1. Officers.
    The officers shall consist of a Chair, Vice-Chair/Chair-elect, and a Secretary/Treasurer. The Vice-Chair/Chair-elect shall automatically become Chair one year after being elected Vice-Chair, and shall serve as Chair during the second year following that election.

  • Section 2. Duties of Officers.
    The Chair, Vice-Chair/Chair-elect and Secretary/Treasurer shall perform the duties usually pertaining to their respective offices, and such other duties as may be assigned by the Executive Committee of the membership.

  • Section 3. Executive Committee.
    There shall be an Executive Committee consisting of the Officers named above, and the immediate past Chair.

  • Section 4. Committees.
    There shall be such standing or special committees as the Executive Committee, or the membership of the section shall create. There shall be a standing Nominating Committee, appointed by the Executive Committee, to consist of three members, no one of whom shall be a member of the Executive Committee, and no one of whom shall be a candidate for office at the succeeding election. Each member of the Committee shall serve for a term of one year.


  • Section 1. Nominating Committee.
    The Nominating Committee shall submit the names of candidates for the office of Vice-Chair/ Chair-elect and Secretary/Treasurer, together with their written acceptances, to the Chair in sufficient time to enable the Chair to inform the members of the Section of the nominations five (5) months prior to the annual meeting, either by publication in an AALL publication sent to all members, the SIS newsletter, or by mail.

    In the event that the Vice-Chair/Chair-elect cannot assume the duties of Chair, and such fact is known prior to the time that the Nominating Committee submits its report, the Committee shall also submit names of candidates for the office of Chair for the term of one year.

  • Section 2. Nomination by Petition.
    Further nominations may be made upon written petition of five (5) members of the section. Such petitions, accompanied by written acceptance of the nominees, must be filed with the Chair not later than four (4) months prior to the annual meeting.

  • Section 3. Ballots.
    The Secretary/Treasurer shall prepare an official ballot, including nominations by petition. The professional position of each nominee shall appear on the ballot.

  • Section 4. Election.
    The Officers of the Section shall be elected by mail ballot. The Secretary/Treasurer shall mail ballots to each member of the Section three (3) months prior to the annual AALL meeting or they may be sent to all members of the Section in the Section newsletter, if it is mailed at the latest three months prior to the annual AALL meeting. Ballots shall be marked and returned to the Secretary/Treasurer at the latest two (2) months prior to the annual meeting. The candidates receiving the largest number of votes for each office shall be declared elected, and shall be reported by the Secretary/ Treasurer at the annual meeting of the Section. All candidates shall be notified of the results of the election at the earliest possible time.

  • Section 5. Tie Votes.
    In case of a tie vote, a run-off election shall be held at the business meeting of the Section at the annual AALL convention. Run-off elections shall be by secret ballot. The ballots shall be immediately counted, and the candidate with the largest number of votes declared elected.

  • Section 6. Destruction of ballots.
    If there are no challenges to the results of the election, the ballots may be destroyed by the Secretary/Treasurer after the annual meeting.


  • Section 1.
    Bylaws of the Section may be adopted, amended or suspended at the annual meeting of the Section by a majority vote of the members present and voting. Or, bylaws may be adopted, amended, or suspended through a mail ballot. Whenever the bylaws are to be changed by mail vote, the Secretary/Treasurer shall mail ballots to every member in good standing of the Section. Such ballots shall state the text of the proposed change, the purpose of the change, and the date by which ballots must be returned to the Secretary/Treasurer. Proposed changes in the bylaws by mail must receive a majority vote of the ballots returned to the Secretary/Treasurer in order to pass. Tie votes shall be considered failure to pass.

  • Section 2.
    Notice of proposed amendments to be considered at an annual meeting shall be mailed to the special interest section's members, or be published in the SIS newsletter, at least 30 days in advance of the meeting.

  • Section 3.
    Any amendment shall take effect after it has been approved by the AALL Executive Board.


Robert's Rules of Order, in the latest edition, shall govern all deliberations of the Section when not in conflict with the bylaws of the Section.