ARCHIVED: Social Responsibilities SIS History and Bylaws

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The Social Responsibilities SIS was one of the original seven special interest sections approved by the AALL Executive Board in 1977 (under the name Contemporary Social Problems SIS). Its roots, however, can be traced back to the 1971 formation of the Conference of Concerned Law Librarians, which developed into the Committee on Contemporary Social Problems (CSP) in 1973. In 1981, Law Library Service to Institution Residents SIS merged with CSP, and its functions were transferred to the CSP Standing Committee on Law Library Service to Institution Residents. Another very active committee within the SIS is the Standing Committee on Lesbian and Gay Issues. Other standing and ad hoc committees are created as needed. The SIS's name was changed to Social Responsibilities SIS in 1993, reflecting AALL's social responsibilities within the profession and society.

From its earliest days, SR-SIS has addressed the social issues that affect us as members of the law librarian profession and as members of the human family. Topics of concern have included censorship, law library service to the lay public, and all forms of discrimination against disadvantaged groups. These concerns have found expression through resolutions introduced and passed by the general membership of AALL (e.g., support for ERA and for affirmative action (71st Annual Meeting, 1978); against sexual harassment (77th Annual Meeting, 1984); Sexual Orientation Resolution (80th Annual Meeting, 1987), as well as the presentation of timely and provocative programs such as "Representing the Unpopular Client " (73rd Annual Meeting, 1980); "Public and Private Responses to South Africa Policy of Apartheid" (79th Annual Meeting, 1986); "Animal Rights and the Law" (82nd Annual Meeting, 1989); and "AIDS: The Continuing Challenge" (84th Annual Meeting, 1991). Recent educational programs have included "Domestic Partner Benefits: Narratives, Overview, Status Report from the Front" (88th Annual Meeting, 1995), and "Human Rights Worldwide: When the Message is Hard to Deliver - Sexual Minorities" (89th Annual Meeting, 1996).

SR-SIS publishes Law Libraries Which Offer Service to Prisoners and Recommended Collections for Prison and Other Institutional Law Libraries. The latter title is widely recognized as the most authoritative standard for institution libraries (and has been so cited by several courts). The Section's Standing Committee on Lesbian and Gay Issues published Sexual Orientation and the Law: A Selective Bibliography on Homosexuality and the Law, 1969-1993 in 86 LAW LIBRARY JOURNAL 1-103 (1994). SR-SIS publishes a newsletter three times per year, maintains a web page on AALLNET, and regularly contributes to the "SIS News" column in AALL NEWSLETTER.

Chairs of the Section:

Frank Liu 1977/78
Marvin Anderson 1978/79
David S. Yen 1979/80
Peter S. Schanck 1980/81
Diane C. Reynolds 1981/82
David L. Bridgman 1982/83
Susan M. Wood 1983/84
Ann Puckett 1984/85
Joel Fishman 1985/86
Scott Pagel 1986/87
Pam Gregory 1987/88
Arturo Torres 1988/89
Carol Alpert 1989/90
Charlie Colokathis 1990/91
Rebecca Trammell 1991/92
Camille Broussard 1992/93
Karen J. Edwards 1993/94
James Milles 1994/95
James E. Duggan 1995/96
Prano Amjadi 1996/97
Bruce Kleinschmidt 1997/98
Karen Westwood 1998/99
John H. Davey 1999/00
Ellen J. Platt 2000/01
Carol D. Billings 2001/02
Alison Alifano 2002/03

American Association of Law Libraries




(Originally approved July 1992; amended May 2005)

Article I: NAME

The name of this Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) shall be the Social Responsibilities SIS.

Article II: OBJECT

The object of the Social Responsibilities SIS shall be to act as a stimulus to the Association and its members by focusing attention on, providing a forum for discussion of, exchange information about, and proposing resolutions on critical social issues that affect library workers as members of the profession and as members of the human family. 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 Social Responsibilities SIS, as provided in the AALL Bylaws. Vendors may be members, but may not vote or hold office. The SIS welcomes and encourages diversity among its members.


There shall be an annual meeting of the SIS held during the annual meeting of AALL. Other meetings may be held at such times and places as the Executive Committee may elect, or the Special Interest Section membership direct.


  • Section 1. Officers.

    The officers shall consist of a Chair, a Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect and a Secretary/Treasurer. The Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect shall be elected annually by the SIS. The Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect shall automatically become Chair after one year, and shall so serve during the second year following his or her election. The Secretary/Treasurer shall be elected biennially by the SIS.

  • 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 SIS Executive Committee or 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. Standing Committees.

    There shall be a Standing Committee on Law Library Service to Institutional Residents and a Standing Committee on Lesbian and Gay Issues. There shall be such other Standing or Special Committees as the SIS Executive Committee shall create, or shall be created by a majority vote of those present and voting at any annual meeting of this SIS. Unless otherwise provided, committee Chairs shall be designated by the Chair of the SIS.


Section 1. Nominating Committee.

The Immediate Past Chair of the Section shall serve as Chair of the Nominating Committee and shall appoint two others to serve until the next annual meeting.

Section 2. Election Procedures.

(a) The election of officers will be conducted every year by mail or electronic ballot, to be completed not later than two months prior to the annual meeting.

(b) The Nominating Committee shall present at least one candidate(s) for each office to be voted on, the Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect every year and the Secretary/Treasurer every other year. Further nominations may be made upon written petition of five voting members. Such petitions, with the written consent of the nominees, shall be filed with the Secretary/Treasurer not later than April 1st.

(c) In the event paper ballots are used, the Secretary/Treasurer shall prepare the ballot, including nominations by petition, and mail a copy of the ballot to each member of the Section. Ballots shall be marked, sealed in plain envelopes, and returned to the Secretary/Treasurer for tabulation by the first week in May or two months prior to the AALL annual meeting, whichever is earlier.

(d) In the event electronic ballots are used, the details of conducting the election shall first be approved by the Executive Committee. The Committee shall ensure that an election conducted by electronic balloting is fundamentally fair and preserves the right of secret ballot.

(e) The candidates receiving the largest number of votes for each office shall be elected and this shall be reported to AALL Headquarters, in the Section Newsletter, and at the annual meeting by the Chair of the SIS. All candidates shall be notified of the results of the election by the Chair of the SIS at the earliest possible time. In case of a tie-vote, the successful candidates shall be determined by lot conducted by the Nominating Committee.

Section 3. Vacancies

(a) If a Chair leaves office, the Vice-Chair will assume that position's duties.

(b) All vacancies in other offices shall be filled by the Executive Committee for an interim term until the next Section Business Meeting at which an election would be held or the next regular election cycle, whichever is sooner.


Section 1. These bylaws may be amended at the annual business meeting of the Section by a majority of the members present and voting, or by a majority of the votes cast by a mail or electronic ballot conducted by the Secretary/Treasurer. Any amendment must be presented to the AALL Bylaws Committee for review before it is submitted to the Section membership for vote.

Section 2. Notice of proposed amendments shall be mailed to the Section members, or be published in the Section's newsletter, or be sent by electronic mail to the members' electronic mail addresses of record with AALL, thirty days in advance of the annual meeting, or of the mailing of ballots, or of the conducting of an election by electronic ballot. Members may request a paper copy of the proposed amendments upon request to the Secretary/Treasurer.