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FCIL Newsletter, February 1999
v. 13, no. 2

AALL President's Statement re SIS Programming

The following message contains Jim Heller�s response to the FCIL-SIS Statement made during the Business Meeting in Anaheim.

To:  FCIL SIS Leaders: Bill McCloy, Maria Smolka-Day, Katherine Topulos
Gail Warren (SIS Council Chair)
Margie Axtmann (AALL VP/Pres. Elect and SIS Council Liaison)
Tim Coggins (AMPSC chair)
Mary Hotchkiss (PDC chair)
Martha Brown (AALL Director of Programs)

Fr:  Jim Heller, AALL President

Re: FCIL SIS Programming Concerns

I have reviewed the undated FCIL-SIS memo sent to me after the Anaheim Annual Meeting. The memo indicates it was copied to a variety of  individuals/entities, including the other SIS chairs, but I don�t believe  they all received it. With that in mind, I�ll go into some detail about the contents of the memo.

I am pleased FCIL appreciates the scheduling changes we made for the 1999  Washington meeting. You also expressed interest that such scheduling commitments be long-term, that we have consistent program criteria, and that AMPSC provide feedback on programs accepted or rejected. These are  all valid points. The Program Planner�s Handbook was developed to provide some consistent program criteria and to help members understand what AMPSC expects in program proposals. The Handbook is, of course, a  work-in-progress; I do hope it�s been helpful.

I understand FCIL�s concern that member surveys will not necessarily reflect the interests of FCIL-SIS members, who, as you stated, are a �small group.� You also sought �assurance that this FCIL track will be  continued,� and that you have more control over what programming goes into  those slots.  I cannot, of course, guarantee that future AMPSC committees  will agree on specific program slots. Presently that�s pretty much the  prerogative of the chair and members of AMPSC.  Whether we should �institutionalize� various program slots is a different � and much larger  � question.

As you know, programming changes from year to year, the most important  factor being the quality and content of program submissions. Almost all  programming for the annual meeting comes from our members through SIS�s, committees, chapters, and individuals. I congratulate FCIL on the high level of programs it�s proposed to AMPSC. Indeed, for the Anaheim meeting  only two SIS�s � PLL and RIPS � had more programs accepted than did FCIL.

I agree with you that foreign and international law specialists are an  important resource for our members, including myself. Many times I have called upon foreign/international law librarians for help in answering questions beyond my expertise. I certainly agree that educational  programming for foreign and international law librarians � whether through the Annual Meeting programs, SIS  programs offered at the Annual Meeting,  workshops, institutes, or otherwise � ultimately benefits our broader  membership and those we serve. Of course, this is also true for other  �specialists.�

You have raised important issues that affect not only the FCIL SIS, but the other SIS�s as well.  Fortunately, AALL has a vehicle for the SIS�s to speak with each other, and  to the Executive Board and other AALL entities.

As you know, Gail Warren currently serves as SIS Council Chair. I encourage you � and all of the SIS�s �  to work through Gail to convey your interests and concerns to the AALL leadership.  AALL Vice  President/President Elect Margie Axtmann is serving as the Board�s liaison to the SIS Council this year. Margie, through Gail, will present the SIS�s interests and concerns to the Executive Board and to other  appropriate AALL entities.

I have spoken with Margie at some length about the FCIL memo, and other  SIS-related issues.  Margie shares my commitment to do whatever we can to help the SIS�s achieve their goals and aspirations.

I have asked Gail Warren to share this message with all of the SIS�s, and to work with Margie to bring to the Board�s attention the issues that are  important to AALL�s Special Interest Sections.

As always, I appreciate your input, and will do whatever I can to help.

 FORWARD to the next article: "AALL Special Interest Sections: Contributing to Successful Annual Meetings"
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