ARCHIVED: Research Instruction and Patron Services SIS History and Bylaws

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The Research Instruction and Patron Services SIS was originally organized at the 1979 San Francisco AALL Annual Meeting as the Reader Services SIS. The section changed its name at the 1996 Indianapolis AALL Annual Meeting to reflect the desire to have a name that more accurately described the activities of the SIS and the Research Instruction Caucus that was integrated into the SIS in 1995.

This Section address various substantive issues relating to public and reader services, including reference, research instruction, circulation, interlibrary loan, and the impact of automation and electronic resources on patron services in all types of law libraries.

Committees within the SIS provide a forum for the exchange of ideas in particular areas of interest. SIS committees include: Web Page, Public Relations, Patron Services, Program, Research Instruction, and Nominations.

Each year RIPS holds a business meeting at the AALL Annual meeting in addition to informal Committee and Roundtable meetings. The SIS has a strong tradition of proposing and sponsoring numerous programs and workshops for the Annual Meeting. Programs sponsored and presented by SIS members in recent years include "The Management Message: Teams and TQM," "Copyright in the Electronic Environment: Will It Be Just?" "Benchmarks in Court Automation: Issues and Innovations in Technology in the Courts," "Preparing New Law Librarians for the Information Age," "Meeting Them at the Crossroads: How to Motivate and Nuture Student Workers," and "Electronic Reserves: At the Crossroads of Document Access and Technology" and “Two to Tango: The Following Part of Leading in Library Partnerships.

The National Legal Research Teach-In, sponsored by RIPS-SIS, is an annual campaign to give law librarians the opportunity to share materials and ideas for legal research instruction. Each year the RIPS Teach-In committee solicits contributions from the law library community to create a compilation of materials for use in developing and advertising educational programs and events for our institutions. These materials are distributed several weeks prior to National Library Week in April to anyone interested in legal research instruction.

The SIS created its first Web page in 1998. Links to all SIS official documents, lists of elected officers and committee chairs, newsletters, and other SIS information membership lists, program information, and the electronic pathfinder clearinghouse sponsored by the SIS are on the home page at: The SIS series, Briefs In Law Librarianship, is in its fourth year of publication and provides useful information on law library policies and procedures for front-line staff. Earlier SIS projects include the development of tools for bibliographic access to legal materials for the visually impaired and a circulation policy survey.

The SIS publishes a quarterly newsletter, Research Instruction and Patron ServicesRIPS Law Librarian that which is distributed free of chargethree times a year to all members of the Section.

Chairs of the Section:


Carol Allred 1980/81
Nick Triffin 1981/82
Chester Bunnell 1982/83
Bobbie Snow 1983/84
Shelley Dowling 1984/85
Kristine Kreilick 1985/86
Martha Rush 1986/87
Carol Bredemeyer 1987/88
Pat Court 1988/89
Patricia Cervenka 1989/90
Patricia Cervenka 1990/91
Joan Shear 1991/92
Betsy McKenzie 1992/93
Tim Watts 1993/94
Roberta (Bobbie) Studwell 1994/95
Darcy Kirk 1995/96
Duane Strojny 1996/97
Kory Staheli 1997/98
Celeste Feather 1998/99
Kristen Gerdy 1999/00
Kelly Browne 2000/01
Marc Silverman 2001/02
D.R. Jones 2002/03


American Association of Law Libraries






Article I: NAME

The name of this special interest section of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) shall be the Research Instruction and Patron Services (RIPS) Special Interest Section.

Article II: OBJECT

The object of the Research Instruction and Patron Services Special Interest Section shall be: to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and information on the topics of research instruction, circulation services, interlibrary loan and document delivery, reference, and technology as they affect patrons in all law library public services areas; to promote the communication of ideas, interests and activities of the members of the Section among Section members and within AALL; to further the continuing education of law librarians in the areas of research instruction and patron services; to represent its members' interests and concerns within AALL; and to work in cooperation with similar special interests groups in other associations or organizations. The Section shall conduct its affairs in conformity with the Bylaws of the American Association of Law Libraries.


  1. Membership shall be open to any AALL member requesting affiliation with the Research Instruction and Patron Services Section as provided in the AALL bylaws. Membership shall be renewable each year.

  2. Members shall have the right to hold office, to vote, and to serve on committees, and shall receive the Section newsletter.


  1. There shall be an annual meeting of the Research Instruction and Patron Services Special Interest Section held in connection with or during the annual meeting of AALL. The scheduling of the Section annual meeting during the annual meeting of AALL shall be cleared with the appropriate AALL offices. Meetings shall be open to all members of AALL, but no person who is not a Section member in good standing may vote in any Section meeting.

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


  • Section 1. Officers.
    The officers shall consist of a Chairperson, Vice Chairperson/Chairperson-Elect, a Secretary/Treasurer, and a Newsletter Editor. Officers shall be members in good standing in the SIS.

  • Section 2. Duties of officers.

    1. Chairperson. It shall be the duty of the Chairperson to: coordinate all business and projects of the Section through the Executive Committee of this SIS; appoint members to the committees of the Section; prepare a column for each issue of the SIS newsletter; act as a liaison to the AALL Executive Board through the SIS Council (composed of all SIS Chairpersons); and prepare required reports for and correspondence with the AALL Executive Director as appropriate.

    2. Vice Chairperson/Chairperson-Elect. It shall be the duty of the Vice Chairperson/ Chairperson-Elect to: set up and conduct the business of a Program Committee; solicit and develop program ideas; work with the Executive Committee; and perform any other duties delegated to him/her by the Chairperson.

    3. Secretary/Treasurer. It shall be the duty of the Secretary/Treasurer to maintain all written and financial records of the Section. This includes taking and reporting of minutes of business meetings; managing the budget and preparing reports, as required; preparing and mailing ballots for annual elections, and tabulating results; and handling correspondence, as required. Other duties may include mailing new member packets, as required, and overseeing advertising for the newsletter.

    4. Newsletter Editor. It shall be the duty of the Newsletter Editor to edit, produce, and oversee distribution of the SIS newsletter. The editor may delegate some work to a volunteer newsletter publisher or committee.

  • Section 3. Executive Committee.
    There shall be an Executive Committee consisting of the officers named above, the immediate past Chairperson, and two section Members-at-Large. The Members-at-Large shall be elected for staggered, two-year terms, and shall perform duties comparable to those usually assigned to such members in similar associations.

  • Section 4. Committees.

    1. There shall be such standing or special committees as the Executive Committee or the membership of the Section shall create.

    2. 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 Nominating Committee shall serve for a term of one year; the chair of the Nominating Committee shall be designated by the Executive Committee.

  • Section 5. Terms of Office.
    The Vice Chairperson/Chairperson-Elect shall serve a two-year term, the first year as Vice Chairperson and the second year as Chairperson. A new Vice Chairperson/Chairperson-Elect shall be elected each year. The Secretary/Treasurer and the Newsletter Editor shall each serve a two-year term. Officers and Executive Committee Members-at-Large shall serve in office until the adjournment of the RIPS annual business meeting.

  • Section 6. Vacancies.
    A vacancy in the position of Chairperson shall be filled by the present Vice Chairperson/Chairperson-Elect, who shall serve until the end of the Vice Chairperson/Chairperson-Elect's own elected term.

    If a vacancy occurs in the office of Vice Chairperson/Chairperson-Elect, Secretary/Treasurer, Newsletter Editor, or Member-at-Large, the position shall be filled by appointment of the Executive Committee. The person appointed shall serve until the next regularly scheduled election, at which time all offices shall be filled for their ordinary terms.


  • Section 1. Nominations.
    The Nominating Committee shall submit the names of two candidates each for the offices of Vice Chairperson/Chairperson-Elect, Secretary/Treasurer, and Newsletter Editor, and two candidates for the Member-at-Large position, together with their written acceptances, to the Chairperson in sufficient time to enable the Chairperson to inform the members of the Section of the nominations prior to February 1, either by publication in the AALL newsletter, the SIS newsletter, or by mail. The Committee shall seek potential candidates representative of the diverse employment and background of the membership, submitting at least one nominee from a non-academic law library (private, special, court, etc.) in every candidate pool, insofar as possible.

  • Section 2. Chairperson.
    In the event that the Vice Chairperson/Chairperson-Elect cannot assume the duties of Chairperson and such fact is known prior to January 1, the Nominating Committee shall also submit to the current Chairperson the names of candidates for the office of Chairperson for the term of one year, to appear on the ballot with the candidates for Vice Chairperson/Chairperson-Elect, Secretary/Treasurer, and Newsletter Editor and Member-at-Large. If the Vice Chairperson/Chairperson-Elect cannot assume the duties of Chairperson and it becomes known after January 1, the Executive Committee shall appoint a member to serve for one year as Chairperson.

  • Section 3. Nomination by petition.
    Further nominations may be made upon written petition of 5 members of the Section. Such petitions, accompanied by written acceptance of the nominee, must be filed with the Chairperson not later than February 15.

  • Section 4. Ballots.
    The secretary shall prepare an official ballot, including nominations by petition. The professional position of each nominee shall appear on the ballot. The Secretary/Treasurer shall mail a copy of the ballot to each member of the Section; ballots may be mailed as part of the Section newsletter. Marked ballots shall be returned to the Secretary/Treasurer by a specified deadline. The candidates receiving the largest number of votes shall be elected and shall be so reported at the Section's annual meeting. 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 by special mailing.

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

  • Section 7. Timing of Elections.
    Elections must be completed 2 months prior to the date of the annual AALL convention.


  • 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. In the alternative, 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. Ballots may be mailed as part of the Section newsletter. 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. A majority of the mail ballots returned must be in favor of the bylaws change in order for it to pass. Tie votes shall be considered failure to pass.

  • Section 2.
    All Section members shall receive notice of proposed amendments to the bylaws. Notice of proposed amendments to the bylaws may be mailed to the Section's members, distributed via listserv or other electronic means, or published in the Section's newsletter at least 30 days in advance of the Section's annual meeting or the mailing of the ballots.

  • Section 3. Following passage by the Section, any amendment shall take effect only after it has been presented to the AALL Bylaws Committee for review and 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.