Volume 21 Issue 1 (Fall 2001)

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The ALL-SIS Newsletter 

Fall 2001

Inside this issue:


Message from the Chair

By Rosalie Sanderson, 2001-2002 ALL-SIS Chair
Special Projects
New York Law School
50 Worth St.
New York, N.Y.

I extend my deepest sympathy to those members who have lost friends or loved ones in the September 11 tragedy. No one's life can remain untouched by the losses and personal suffering we have all observed during the past several weeks.

Strangely, the tragedy may have inadvertently highlighted the importance of information and information instruction in today's world.

"Information may be the most important asset we have" according to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. Ms. Rice made this remarkable pronouncement during a recent press briefing [Transcript of White House Press Briefing with Condoleezza Rice, National Security Adviser, U.S. Newswire]. She was discussing difficulties in combating terrorism compared to waging traditional war. If information is truly the most important asset we have, what implications does that have for academic law librarians? What is our proper role in educating prospective attorneys, teaching them about information access, encryption, and storage? Should this change the way we think about our role in legal education, or perhaps the way law school administrators think about our role(s)?

The recent tragedy and Ms. Rice's statement provide the occasion for some thoughtful reconsideration of our place in the institutions where we work. If information is indeed the most important asset we have, then we as law librarians and legal educators have a special responsibility to provide access to information and instruction on information access in the electronic age.

I hope that this new academic year has found all of you safe and engaged in exciting activities in law librarianship. As you know ALL-SIS is one of 13 SISs. Most SISs are focused on topical interests of the members, such as Legal History and Rare Books. The ALL-SIS is one of three SISs which derives its commonality from the type of library in which the members work, rather than a topical concentration or interest. There has been some discussion during the past year of restructuring the three type SISs to create "divisions." Whether this administrative change ultimately occurs or not, it is worth considering the focus of the ALL-SIS.

We currently have more than 800 members working in many different positions in academic law libraries: catalogers, directors, reference librarians, etc. In recent years, many new position titles have been added to academic law library staffs. Because we have such a range of professional responsibilities in our respective institutions, it is inevitable that some endeavors we pursue as an SIS may not have direct impact on every member.

Where, then, do we derive our strength as an organization and what is our focus? I think we get strength from each other because we all share a role in legal education. Our career interests may be very broad, but legal education brings us together. We all work with students and faculty. Because we work with law students at such a critical time in their professional development, we have unique opportunities to reach them and open doors to an interest in legal research, libraries, and electronic information access. If we are not already teaching, working with students and professors, actively collecting materials to support student research and coursework, we should make an effort to re-examine our roles in our law schools and find opportunities to participate in legal education.

There are many opportunities. Sometimes we have to work to create occasions to interact with faculty curriculum committees or facilities committees, or legal writing committees or departments. Other times we need to seek out opportunities to meet student research needs as they arise and anticipate needs for teaching, training or collection additions. At times students realize needs and simply demand that we meet them.

Let us make a special effort to reach out to each other in our own institutions as well as to our colleagues in other institutions to find ways that we can participate more fully in the life of our law schools and the education of future attorneys. We as a group have responsibility for information, "the most important asset." Let's find effective ways to share our knowledge of information access and delivery with each other and our law students.

Newsletter Editor:
Shaun Esposito
Head of Public Services
The University of Arizona
James E. Rogers College of Law
Law Library
P.O. Box 210176
Tucson AZ 85721-0176
Tel: 520.626.5551
Fax: 520.621.3138
Newsletter Web Editor:
Leah Sandwell-Weiss
Reference Librarian
The University of Arizona
James E. Rogers College of Law
Law Library
P.O. Box 210176
Tucson AZ 85721-0176
Tel: 520.621.3140
Fax: 520.621.3138
Deadline for Next Issue:
January 18, 2002