ARCHIVED: Roger H. Parent's Informal Notes - 7/2/1996

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July 2, 1996

Napa Valley Colloquium Well Received by Attendees

The third Colloquium of law librarians and legal information providers/publishers was held in Napa Valley on May 10-11, 1996. Eighteen law librarians and twelve publishers participated. The Colloquium was co-chaired by AALL members Anne Grande and Joan Howland, and by legal publishers Brian Hall, President and CEO Thomson Legal Publishing, and Paul Brown, COO Legal Information Services LEXIS-NEXIS.

The four co-chairs opened the Colloquium with a lively point counter-point discussion of possible scenarios for legal publishers and law librarians during the next ten years. They described optimistic and pessimistic possibilities for the future.

  • Anne Grande described a future where the four traditional roles of librarians, gathering, organizing, preserving and disseminating information will become radically different, in fact these skills may be on the way out. The need for librarians will be questioned increasingly. Anne suggested that digitized information will not be gathered or organized in libraries any longer; there will be fewer libraries preserving resources and fewer librarians involved in preservation; database creators will organize information themselves in new ways bypassing the need for librarians; and publishers will disseminate information directly to end users.
  • Joan Howland portrayed a more upbeat view of the future. She suggested that the changes we see today are evolutionary and that many librarians will continue to perform their traditional roles for a long time. Yet Joan warned that doing the same things in the same way is not the answer for the future. In her view librarians must reengineer libraries and library services. Librarians must adapt their core competencies to the needs and requirements of the electronic environment, and increase their understanding of the changing environment. She suggested that librarians might become creators of value-added information products to serve the needs of end users; librarians might become partners with publishers in creating new products and services.
  • Brian Hall predicted the disappearance of the printed book as we know it, except for recreational reading. He described his experience with his own children and how completely they rely on electronic information. These young people will be the users of legal information in the near future and they will be "print averse". He also described how the following changes in lawyering will affect librarians and publishers: increasing competition for clients, higher expectations for value-added information, increasing quantities and growing complexity of accessing legal information. These changes will force librarians and publishers to assist attorneys to do their work more efficiently, especially those practitioners who will be working in smaller firms that require them to become even more self reliant researchers.
  • Paul Brown concluded the opening presentations by suggesting that the changes we are seeing today may not lead to the results that we expect. He argued that changes will be evolutionary not revolutionary. He suggested that the value of intellectual property will continue to increase and that librarians and publishers who understand this will thrive.

The remarks from these four opening presentations served as the catalyst for reactions from a panel of participants, questions from the floor, and small group discussions on Saturday morning. The Colloquium concluded by noon on Saturday.

At least one librarian attendee believes that participation at the Colloquium enables him to better understand the interests and concerns of the publishers. He also stressed that it is a unique opportunity for librarians to provide top level executives with specific suggestions and recommendations. Other participants said that they recognize the value of providing the AALL's leaders with an opportunity to interact on a personal basis with key publishers of legal information. This fosters improved communication between both groups and leads to more productive relationships.

Some librarians who support the concept of this annual Colloquium have expressed a desire for more focus on content and more opportunities for meaningful dialog on issues of concern to law librarians. Frank Houdek is weighing the pros and cons of continuing the Colloquium in the future, and he welcomes suggestions from Board members and others.

A list of participants at the Colloquium is attached. The following six publishers were represented, Shepard's McGraw Hill, Thomson Legal Publishing, West Publishing, LEXIS NEXIS, Little Brown & Co., Matthew Bender & Co.; the following four publishers who had participated in the past were not represented at the Colloquium in 1996, Oceana Publications, CCH Incorporated, BNA, and Butterworth.

AALL Annual Report Mailed to Members

AALL's first published annual report, Year in Review 1995 - 1996, was completed on July 2nd and it will be mailed to the entire membership with their July Newsletter. The report is intended as a highlight of some of AALL's major recent activities and plans for the immediate future. It is not intended as a complete description of all programs and services offered by the Association. Members will receive the July Newsletter and the report prior to the Annual Meeting in Indianapolis. The report was completed with the able assistance of Julie Well, a journalist and marketing specialist, who has also worked on the Task Force on the Value of Law Libraries Tool Kit that will be available at the July meeting.

The annual report has been conceived as a membership recruitment and retention piece that highlights AALL's recent achievements and its plans for the near future. It is hoped that the report will encourage members to maintain their memberships and help in recruiting new members.

The report may also be used in the future to respond to inquiries about AALL and it might be a useful handout at the Board's Chapter visits that will be held next year.

Task Force on the Value of Law Libraries Tool Kit Completed

The publication, Law Librarians Making Information Work, is now at the printer. It results from the year-long work of the Task Force under the outstanding leadership of Patricia Patterson who has devoted extraordinary effort and time to complete this large and complex project for the July Annual Meeting. The Tool Kit promises to be of considerable value to law librarians seeking information and ideas that will help them explain and promote the value of their services in the law firm setting.

The Tool Kit was edited and designed by Julie Well who consulted with Patricia Patterson, Peter Beck and myself, on an almost daily basis for the past two months. This work sets a new standard for an AALL public relations packet that can be used by members. Costs for this ambitious project were partially supported by LEXIS-NEXIS and the PLL SIS. LEXIS contributed $15,000 to the publication in addition to supporting one meeting of the Task Force this past winter in Phoenix. The PLL SIS contributed $7000 to cover printing costs and a mailing of one piece from the Tool Kit, Management Briefing: Making a Law Library Work, to all PLL members in July prior to the Annual Meeting.

The Tool Kit includes nine separate sections contained in an attractively designed folder. These sections can be used in numerous different ways, such as handouts to give to law firm decision-makers, discussion aids to use with law library staff, and resources for librarians to study and use themselves. Each one of the nine sections was prepared by a member of the Task Force.

Each registrant at the Annual Meeting will receive a button, Law Librarians Making Information Work. It is hoped that this button will raise awareness and increase sales of the Tool Kit that will be available for sale in the AALL store. The price for members is $25. Sales of approximately 600 copies are needed to cover those AALL costs that were not covered by contributions.

Chapter Relations Ad Hoc Advisory Group Met in Chicago, June 26-27

Frank Houdek, President-Elect convened the following members, staff and Chapter representatives, Karen Schuh, Chair Council of Chapter Presidents, Carol Avery Nicholson, AALL Board, Sally Holterhoff, President Chicago Association of Law Librarians, and Hall Brown, President Southern California Association of Law Librarians, Martha Brown and me for a two-day meeting in Chicago. The meeting was facilitated by chapter relations consultant, Pat Mautino.

Participants were genuinely optimistic about the results of the meeting. Everyone agreed that the resulting document can be used to initiate a new and positive dialog about the future of AALL's chapter relations. The meeting resulted in a proposed vision statement, and several suggested goals and activities. These ideas will serve as the basis for future discussions with Chapters and AALL leaders about the future of chapter relations. Frank and I are now preparing a summary of the meeting. It will be distributed for comment to the Council of Chapter Presidents in Indianapolis, and discussed with the AALL Board at their first meeting.

Once members of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group have received comments and suggestions from interested stakeholders at the Annual Meeting, they will consider future options. The Group plans to meet again in Chicago in September to: discuss comments received at the Annual Meeting, consider surveying all Chapter leaders for their reactions, and prepare specific recommendations for the AALL Board's November meeting.

AALL Thomson Professional Education Series Planning Underway

The Series Advisory Committee held its first meeting in Chicago on June 24-25, 1996. The Committee is composed of Thomson's appointees, Bob Willard, Lawyer's Cooperative, Charlie Finger, Lawyer's Cooperative, and Louise Rosen-Garcia, Bancroft Whitney; AALL is represented by Roy Mersky, Kay Todd and Marcia Koslov. Pat Kehoe, Judy Meadows, Martha Brown and I also participated.

The Advisory Committee agreed to serve as the first Design Team with full planning responsibility for the first program in the Series to be offered in the Fall 1997. The option of appointing other Design Teams for the next two programs will be determined by the Advisory Committee at its next meeting.

The Advisory Committee agreed on the following:

Working Title for the Series: Law and Justice: The Information Professional in the 21st Century

Draft Goals for the Series:

  • To develop closer and more meaningful relationships among all legal information providers and end users
  • To explore the many changes occurring in the world of legal information and their impact on access, roles and responsibilities
  • To share knowledge and identify common interests among participants and explore their changing roles
  • To respond effectively to changes occurring in the marketplace, the practice of law and access to legal information
  • To fulfill the needs of practitioners and end users
  • To create a series of programs that will have a lasting effect on the delivery of legal information

Suggested General Topics:

  • Trends and developments in the legal system and the practice of the law that are shaping the delivery of legal information in both the short and long term.
  • Transitions occurring in the workplace affecting workers and capital investment in buildings and hardware and software
  • Impacts of changes in the legal system and information technology on end users, society, and legal and library education
  • Requirements for new skills in areas such as lobbying, marketing and building alliances

Suggested Specific Topics:

  • Workplace changes and management: changing workplace, redefining roles and responsibilities of staff, training staff, redesigning organizations, transforming culture Marketing: lobbying and advocacy, market needs, shifting alliances, influencing change
  • Information and Public Policy: acquiring, disseminating, archiving and preserving information, impact of the Internet, authentication of electronic information, economics of information, role of government
  • Core Competencies and Skills: the future of the law degree and the MLS, continuing professional development, career development and planning
  • Lifelong Learning


  • AUDIENCE: each program will be designed to attract as wide and diverse an audience as possible between 200 - 500 participants including experienced law librarians, publishers, authors, lawyers, legal administrators, academics, library school educators and others who have an interest in legal information issues.
  • FORMAT: there will be three events in the series, one each year beginning in October 1997; each event will last between 2-3 days (Sunday, Monday and Tuesday) and will contain plenary sessions for all participants, and specialized tracks for individuals to select workshops or programs that meet their specific interests. Ample opportunities for social interaction will be provided. Design Teams will explore the possibility of using the latest technology available for delivery of information such as, video conferencing and creating a Home Page on the WWW.
  • REGISTRATION FEES will be kept below $500.
  • FUNDING: Thomson Legal Publishing is providing a grant of $36,000 to AALL each year for three years. These funds will be used to support: part of the salary for a full-time temporary Continuing Education Coordinator, expenses for the Advisory Committee and Design Teams, and other costs incurred planning and promoting the Series. Registration fees will cover all costs for participation at the programs by registrants.
  • LOCATION: each event will be held in a different geographic location considering such factors as competing programs of other groups particularly AALL Chapters, accessibility by air, and weather.
  • SUGGESTED SITES include Washington DC, Chicago, California. Decisions on exact dates and locations were referred to staff.

Next Steps for the Advisory Committee:

  • Discuss the goals and topics for the Series with interested groups and individuals. Build interest and enthusiasm.
  • Obtain suggestions and ideas from other interested groups and individuals.
  • Explore opportunities for co-sponsorship with other organizations and associations