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FCIL Newsletter, October 1998
v. 13, no. 1

FCIL SIS Special Meeting
July 12, 1998, Anaheim
Submitted by Jonathan Franklin

A special meeting of the FCIL SIS was called for 4:30pm-5:30pm on Sunday, July 12, 1998, in Anaheim. Submitted by Jonathan Franklin The meeting opened with Chair Bill McCloy of the University of Washington Law Library introducing AALL President-Elect Jim Heller. Jim discussed the issue of SIS meeting and program scheduling for the 1999 Annual Meeting in Washington DC. He noted that he was endorsing the addition of 9 additional hours when SISs could hold meetings or programs. Although not finalized, the hope was that all the SISs could schedule programming at the following times:

  • Sunday 7am-1pm & 4pm-6:30pm
  • Monday 7am-8:30am & 4:15pm-6:30pm
  • Tuesday 7am-8:30am, 12:15pm-1:45pm, & 5pm-6:30pm
  • Wednesday 7am-8:30am

These added times would permit all the Working Groups to meet prior to the Business Meeting tentatively scheduled for Monday afternoon. Jim's revised schedule was met with appreciation.

Jonathan Franklin read a brief statement supporting the expanded schedule and expressing the need for continued support for the Working Groups of the smaller SISs.

Amber Lee Smith of Los Angeles County Law Library stated that the SIS needed to do more for experienced librarians, that these librarians had contributed to the five Institutes but had not been permitted to attend due to the Institutes' goal of training new FCIL librarians. Other than the New England Foreign Law Librarians Meetings, not open to those outside New England, there were no other major educational opportunities in the US for experienced FCIL librarians. In particular, she noted that the FCIL working groups at the Annual Meeting were the one opportunity for experienced FCIL collection development specialists to work together and share information face-to-face. She further noted that the education for the Annual Meeting should address reference and collection development for experienced FCIL librarians as well as the mass audiences.

In addressing the AMPSC education committee aspect of program selection, she noted that there was insufficient feedback regarding why the program was rejected, thereby making it difficult to revise the program for future years.

In response to Amber's comments, Marci Hoffman of the University of Minnesota Law Library noted that the FCIL education committee does what it can with the programs that are submitted. However, the complete turnover of the AMPSC means that every year the criteria are totally different and hence the proposed changes one year may completely conflict with the goals of the following year's AMPSC. Furthermore, the program drafting guidelines change from year to year, requiring constant tinkering with a rejected program to submit it in following years. Marci emphasized the need to follow the Program Planner's Guide to increase the chance that the AMPSC will accept the program. Marci further stated that the AMPSC's interest in more advanced programs changes from one year to the next. Marci reinforced Jim Heller's point that programs could also be presented in the SIS timeslots outside of the AMPSC vetting system.

David McFadden of Southwestern School of Law Library noted that although programs could be outside the system, there was no mechanism outside of using SIS funds for paying speakers for these programs. Furthermore, to the extent the programs are not included in Final Program, the turnout is likely to be much lower without extensive outside publicity.

Maria Smolka-Day, incoming FCIL SIS chair, of the University of Pennsylvania Law Library noted that for Washington DC in 1999 and Philadelphia in 2000, there may be excellent speakers for advanced programs who would be locally available.

Amber noted that AALL should fund the SIS-specific programs because the knowledge gained in these sessions would create more informed FCIL librarians, thereby aiding the AALL membership at large when they call on FCIL SIS members for assistance.

Gail Partin of Dickinson School of Law Library suggested that we should also publicize our programs to PLL SIS and ALL SIS in the hope that their members would attend.

Jeanette Yackle of Harvard Law School Library suggested we approach PLL SIS to help the FCIL SIS fund outside programs that would indirectly benefit their members.

Wiltrud Harms of University of California at Berkeley School of Law Library suggested that we should also emphasize the growing importance of the field and that more and more general members will be calling on FCIL librarians in the future.

Lyonette Louis-Jacques of University of Chicago D'Angelo Law Library noted that the 1999 Annual Meeting had an explicit FCIL track and supported the inclusion of such a track for future Annual Meetings as well.

Amber noted that funding could allow one outside speaker per session of programming outside the AMPSC selected programs.

Stefanie Weigmann of Boston University Law Library proposed seeking outside funding from publishers for the non-AMPSC programs. Several members mentioned that this had been explored in the past and that there had been some problems with SISs individually soliciting funds from those donors whom AALL was also approaching.

Maria Smolka-Day, incoming FCIL SIS chair of the University of Pennsylvania Law Library stated that the coming year would involve the drafting of a strategic plan. The goal of the committee drafting the plan would be to have an initial version completed by the Washington DC Annual Meeting. She requested volunteers for the Strategic Planning Committee. Amber Lee Smith, Tracy Thompson, Dan Wade, Jack McNeill, and Stefanie Weigmann volunteered.

Bill summed up the viewpoints and suggested the drafting of a broad statement that would be made at the Business Meeting on Wednesday on behalf of the attending members of the SIS. He further encouraged everyone to take five minutes to write down their concerns and goals for the SIS so that these could be incorporated into the statement to be read at the Business Meeting.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:30 and was attended by 31 SIS members.

FORWARD to the next article: "Minutes of the 1998 FCIL SIS Business Meeting"
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