Strategic Planning

  • Bookmark and Share

Strategic Planning Committee

The current FCIL-SIS Strategic Plan is below. Scroll to the bottom of this page to access the archives of strategic plans. 

FCIL-SIS Strategic Plan 2014-2017

Strategic Plan Committee Members:  Thomas Mills, Chair (Cornell Law Library), Luis Acosta (Law Library of Congress), Karina Condra (University of Denver Law Library), Jim Hart (University of Cincinnati Law Library), Saskia Mehlhorn (Norton Rose Fulbright), Steve Thorpe (Drexel University Law Library), Kelly Vinopal (Crowell & Moring, LLP)

The Committee gratefully acknowledges the contributions and hard work of earlier Strategic Planning Committees and the involvement of FCIL-SIS members in this important planning process.


The 2014-2017 FCIL-SIS Strategic Planning Committee (SPC; “current SPC”) was pleased to see that a number of goals from previous Strategic Plans, particularly regarding the FCIL-SIS website, have been met. Therefore, the current SPC decided to focus on one issue, which in turn generated three goals for the current 2014-2017 strategic plan triennium.

Issue: Since the 2008/2009 economic downturn, law librarians across the profession have been dealing with fewer resources, combined with higher workloads, and increased demand for FCIL services.

The three FCIL-SIS 2014-2017 Strategic Planning Committee goals are:

  1. The creation of an FCIL-SIS portal of resources;
  2. The holding of an FCIL education summit prior to the 2016 AALL Annual Meeting in Chicago;
  3. The promotion of webinars as a means of Continuing Law Librarian Education (CLLE) for all members of AALL.

The three goals are discussed in more detail, below. The members of the SPC will remain active during the 2014-2017 triennium in order to assist with implementation of these goals.

Goal 1—FCIL-SIS Portal

The repercussions of the post-2008 economic downturn show that even the largest law libraries are no longer able to collect as broadly or deeply as they once did. In addition, most law libraries have fewer staff, with positions remaining unfilled for lengthy periods, if not having been eliminated. Nonetheless, the needs for FCIL materials and specialized reference services have grown. In fact, law schools have increased the importance and number of course offerings on FCIL-related topics. Thus, fewer law librarians have fewer resources to deal with increasing FCIL needs.

Accordingly, the first goal of the 2014-2017 Strategic Plan is to enhance communications among FCIL specialists, and between the FCIL and general law librarian communities. To that end, a portal would be similar in function (but not content) to ASIL’s EISIL database (also the work of law librarians). Among the items that might be included in this proposed FCIL-SIS would be:

  • The names of specialists in relevant subjects;
  • The specialists’ skills;
  • Teaching that relates to the subject;
  • Material that was created and used in the teaching;
  • Publications in the field, including research guides, articles, books;
  • Databases and collections, and the institutions that hold them;
  • Collection development plans.

Previously this data was collected via surveys and was housed in different areas of the FCIL-SIS website or not at all. Now, however, the current SPC proposes to bring together existing resources and collect new information by: 1) gathering what is available from webpages; 2) following up by directly contacting libraries for missing information; and, 3) creating the portal itself, which would display some information and point to other information. SPC hopes to attract portal users who will feel invested in seeing that the portal is updated and maintained.

Goal 2 – FCIL-SIS Education Summit

In the past, AALL has held institutes devoted to FCIL topics. The last of these institutes was held in the 1990s. Since then, a new generation of law librarians has joined the profession and the information landscape has undergone profound changes, especially in terms of foreign and international law. Each year there are FCIL programs at the annual AALL conference; however, time and opportunities for FCIL programming are limited by other competing activities.

Therefore, the second goal of the 2014-2017 Strategic Plan is to hold an FCIL Education Summit in 2016 before the AALL annual conference in Chicago. The 2016 conference was chosen because Chicago is centrally located, with more people likely to attend. The 2016 date will also provide enough lead time to plan the summit. Some possible options for a summit are listed below:

  1. FCIL Education Summit held in conjunction with the Private Law Libraries (PLL) pre- conference at the AALL venue. (PLL has been contacted about this option and is interested in discussing the issue once the 2014 Annual Meeting is completed).
  2. FCIL Education Summit held independently of the PLL pre-conference at the AALL venue.
  3. FCIL Education Summit hosted by a Chicago area law school before the AALL Annual Meeting.
  4. FCIL Education Summit held at a place and time other than the AALL Annual Meeting.

FCIL-SIS Considerations Regarding a Summit:

  1. The cost to participants (in addition to the cost of attending the AALL Annual Meeting). What price should attendees be charged? What costs would be covered for presenters? What other costs might there be in addition to venue, materials, food, etc.? AALL does not allow an SIS to get sponsors for pre-conferences, so would all expenses have to be covered by the pre- conference education summit registration fees?
  2. The possibility of participants joining remotely through  a resource like Webex. Would online participants be charged a reduced fee to the education summit?
  3. Should the pre-conference education summit presentations be recorded and made available for viewing after a period of time?
  4. What topics might be covered at the education summit? Possible topics might include the finer points of teaching, such as how to write exercises or exams. Or, substance-related issues might be covered, like finding the best sources for draft legislation in selected large non-English- speaking jurisdictions.  These are just two of many possibilities.
  5. Who would be available to present on specific topics? In addition, should a presenter be able to give a presentation remotely via a resource such as Webex?
  6. What sort of time and resources are required for creating a pre-summit website with materials for attendees? How long would the website stay active?
  7. If the FCIL-SIS education summit is not held in conjunction with the AALL Annual Meeting, might it be held in conjunction with another regional association annual meeting?  Might such an approach eliminate problems dealing with the coordination of hotels, travel, and facilities?

Goal 3 – More FCIL-SIS Webinar Offerings Coordinated with AALL Headquarters

Recently, staff from AALL headquarters in Chicago contacted SIS Chairs in order to encourage SISs to promote subject-oriented webinars, to be coordinated with AALL headquarters so that costs are kept to a minimum. The FCIL-SIS Chair discussed this proposal with the SPC, which hopes to get more information from AALL headquarters on this remote-access version of Continuing Law Librarian Education (CLLE), and to make this information available to the wider FCIL-SIS membership.