Fall 2012

Message from the Chair

Dear Fellow SR-SIS Members,

I am pleased to report that the SR-SIS has remained committed to our goals of inclusion, social justice, and advocacy over the last year.  During the Annual Meeting of AALL, the SR-SIS was a visible presence with a number of sessions and activities.  Among these included working with an environmental charity in Colorado to purchase a solar heater for a Native American family in South Dakota.  Thanks to donations from over 50 AALL members, we were able to raise over $1,100 towards this goal.  This donation will not only help a family in need to deal with the cold winter weather, but will also offset over 100 tons of carbon dioxide from our environment.  Thank you to all who donated and helped with this important campaign.

Our ongoing book drive was again successful this year.  Working with a local charity, Read Boston, we donated over 1200 books and $500 to support early literacy programs in disadvantaged Boston communities.  These donations will go to community centers, family childcare providers and after-school programs to ensure that books are available to all children regardless of their socio-economic status.

During this year’s business meeting, we also discussed broadening the focus of the SR-SIS.  Nick Harrell, a LIS student at the University of Washington, shared his thesis (https://dl.dropbox.com/u/720413/Serving%20Patrons%20w%20Metnal%20Illness.pdf) on providing law library services to patrons with mental illness.  We expect that the SR-SIS will continue discussing how we can address this important issue and hopefully have a model policy developed that can be adopted by our member libraries.

I am delighted that the SR-SIS continues to be the “social conscience of AALL.”  By our joint-work, we are helping to promote justice and equality within our profession and are helping to advance the social justice goals advocated by the first members of our group in 1973.  As this year’s chair, I am honored to serve this committee and hope we have another productive and fulfilling year together.  If you have any issues, concerns, and/or questions that you would like to share with me and the SR, please let me know.

Thanks so much!!

David Brian Holt
Heafey Law Library
Santa Clara University – School of Law

Word Choice, Stigma, and Mental Illness

In addition to the symptoms of their diseases, people with mental illness must face the stigma associated with their conditions daily.  One way we can combat that stigma is by avoiding pejorative language when describing patrons with mental illness.  Unfortunately words like “crazy” and “difficult” are commonly used in the United States to describe people whose actions deviate from societal norms.  When we describe patrons using those terms, our service to them may be hindered.  Instead of viewing the patron as someone meriting our time and service, we may fall into the trap of thinking of the person as an annoyance or disruption to be disposed of as quickly as possible.

Even more problematic than the potential negative effect on the service we provide is the fact that the use of pejorative labels can prevent people from seeking diagnosis and treatment.  For the same reasons that people in high-risk HIV populations avoid getting tested, people often would rather live with their symptoms and avoid treatment than confirm that they have a disease and face the stigma.  Consequently, by avoiding pejorative labels we can reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and make it easier for patrons and possibly co-workers to seek treatment.

When it is necessary for me to refer to someone who displays symptoms of mental illness, I try to incorporate the following practices that I have learned from more seasoned librarians.  Instead of using the hurtful labels noted above, I try to learn the patron’s name.  When that is not possible, I use a neutral, descriptive label (e.g., the man in the blue sweater or the woman in the red hat) and explain to whomever I am speaking to that that person may need some extra help.  And, overall, I keep a positive tone in my description of the person and their reference needs just as I would any other patron.

Ultimately, using terms like crazy or difficult to describe someone who might have a mental illness may negatively affect our service and demean patrons.  By being mindful of the words we use, we can improve our service and help combat the stigma associated with mental illness.

Nick Harrell
Law Library
University of Miami School of Law

Book Drive 2012 Brings Books to Boston Children in Need

This year the SR-SIS and the membership of AALL came together to offer books to Boston-area children in need.  In addition to this year’s book drive co-organizers, who were Alissa Black-Dorward, Kyle Courtney and Sarah Jaramillo, many SR-SIS members had a hand in the drive’s creation and execution.   The first task – selecting a beneficiary organization – was one of the easier items to check of the planning to-do list.  The co-organizers were pleased that there were so many potential worthy recipient organizations for the drive.  In the end, Read Boston was chosen because it had a good infrastructure in place and we felt that the aim of the group was particularly compelling.  Read Boston books and funds go to community centers, family childcare providers or after school programs that may not otherwise have literacy programs or books to support them.

Then the next vital question was what to name this drive.  Stacy Etheredge and Kyle Courtney suggested variations of the title that was ultimately selected, “One If By Land, Two if Buy Book.”  Stacy also suggested that we make the drive a matching drive to fully leverage the name and incentivize donations.  Soon, the SR-SIS leadership was on board with making the drive a matching drive.  Librarian Larry Abraham, RIPS-SIS, Trudi Bartow of Sterling Publishers, and Scholastic Books jumped on board as ‘friends of the drive.’  The ‘friends of the drive’ either provided matching funds, matching books, or deep discounts for the matching books we purchased.

After the Amazon.com wish list was made and the drive was formally announced, books started flying into Kyle Courtney’s office at Harvard Law Library. Soon, he had to forgo leaving his office altogether in order to maximize space for the drive.  Freedom of movement was a small price to pay for the kids in need.  All jokes aside, Kyle and the crew at Harvard Law School put in much time and effort unpacking boxes of books and keeping track of known donors.  A special thanks is in order for artist Alethea Jones, who is also on the Harvard Law Library staff, for drawing such a lovely image for the Drive posters.

The books kept arriving via mail up to and through the Annual Meeting in Boston.  Many in-person donations were made at the convention center, as well.  At the conclusion of the meeting, all that was needed was some coordination to get all the books to Read Boston. Many people came together to make this process as painless as possible.  Some thanks are in order on that count. Thanks to Bills Burn, of GES, for arranging the transportation of books from Exhibit Hall to the loading docks.  Thanks to Read Boston for sending the Book Mobile over to the convention center to pick-up the many books that were donated in person.  Thanks to Catie Williams – a Read Boston volunteer – who hauled books from Harvard Law Library to the Read Boston headquarters.   Thanks to Kyle Courtney and the staff of Harvard Law Library for making sure the books were packed and ready to go when Catie Williams arrived for pick-up.  Finally, thanks to Katie Sullivan for providing Sarah Jaramillo will pre- and post-matching book counts.

When it was all said and done, the book drive exceeded expectations.  We donated 1298 books and over $500 to Read Boston.  Each year it is very heartening to see AALL members come together and support such a good cause.  This year was no disappointment.  Thanks to all of our donors!  We tried to thank each donor individually, but the bulk of our donations come in anonymously through our Amazon.com Wishlist, so individual thank yous were in most cases not an option.  The SR-SIS is very excited to see what Stacy Etheredge – the 2013 book drive coordinator – has in store for next year’s drive, but knowing Stacy it will be fabulous.

Sarah Jaramillo
Leo T. Kissam Memorial Library
Fordham University School of Law

Standing Committee on Lesbian and Gay Issues Update

The SCLGI’s annual reception was held at the fabulous restaurant bar Tremont647 in Boston’s South End.  This year we continued the tradition of strong fundraising and brought in $870.00 that will help fund the Alan Holoch Memorial Grant.  This reception continues to be very well attended and one of the highlights of the AALL Annual Meeting.  The food was fantastic, and I hear a few adult beverages were even enjoyed as well.  A grand time was had by those who attended, and we all owe many thanks to Richard Jost for securing the venue and organizing the generous donor support.

At this year’s business meeting we accepted the proposal introduced by Scott Matheson to clarify/standardize the way the Holoch Grant will be disbursed in the future.  This will be valuable information as I’m sure you will all be helping with the outreach to various library and law schools as we publicize this year’s grant.

Finally, don’t forget about our Research Bibliography at http://www.lgbtbib.org/index.php.  Volunteers are always needed to add annotations.  Contact Stephanie Davidson atstephnd@law.illinois.edu if you are able to help.  This is a valuable and free resource, so let’s all do our part to keep it updated.

C.J. Pipins
Library and Technology Center
Florida Coastal School of Law

Proposed SR-SIS Minutes
Social Responsibilities Special Interest Section
Business Meeting
July 23, 2012 5:45 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.
Boston, MA

Meg Butler called the meeting to order at 5:45 p.m. Introductions of those present were made.

Minutes and Treasurer’s Report

Pam Brannon distributed the minutes from the 2011 SR-SIS business meeting, which were then approved. The 2011 SR-SIS treasurer’s report was similarly distributed and, after an amendment by Pam, was similarly approved.


Pam Brannon reported on the results of the 2012 SR-SIS election. There were two positions open, Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect and Secretary/Treasurer. Sarah Jaramillo was nominated for the position of Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect and Lisa Junghahn was nominated for the position of Secretary/Treasurer. The election was held and Sarah was elected Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect and Lisa was elected Secretary/Treasurer.

Book Drive

Sarah Jaramillo reported on the progress of the 2012 Book Drive, which benefits Read Boston. This year’s book drive is a matching drive, where SR-SIS and its partners will match the number of books donated to the drive. This matching book drive replaces SR-SIS giving a donation to the organization. A staff member at Harvard’s Law Library did the artwork that was used to promote the drive, and that person will receive a gift card to an art store to thank her for her assistance. Sarah thanked Stacy Etheredge for the idea of having a matching book drive. Stacy then volunteered to coordinate the 2013 Book Drive in Seattle, WA.

Annual Meeting Programs

Sarah Jaramillo sent out a second issue of the SR-SIS newsletter just prior to the meeting highlighting everyone who is an SR member who appeared in a program. Stefanie Pearlman reported that her program, “Lessons from the Snail Darter,” went very well, and several other SR-SIS members reported on programs that they enjoyed. Sarah noted that the SR-SIS sponsored program was “Lost in Translation: Immigration Detention and Access to Legal Materials.”

Service Projects

Meg reported that the issue of the community services projects was raised at SIS Council, and it was decided that the question of whether to hold a community service project will be decided annually based upon the particular circumstances of the AALL annual meeting.

Annual Meeting Program Committee

John DiGillio was introduced as our representative from the AMPC. John noted that AALL will be changing programming for the next year’s meeting in Seattle. One of the biggest changes is the lack of SIS sponsorship and the introduction of a blind review process. A survey was recently distributed about the programming that people would like to see at the annual meeting, and John encouraged everyone to take the survey. The next step after that will be to motivate your members and work with one another to make sure your programs are as good as possible. There will be webinars discussing what goes into an excellent proposal. The call for proposals will go out in September with an October deadline, but there will be different proposal rounds this year. John also noted that in the past the schedule of the conference dictated what happened, whereas this year the programs that are accepted will dictate the schedule. There is a potential for a program that goes in depth over 2 hours and also for a short 15-20 minute practical program. John distributed his contact information to those present. In response to a question about how we can voice our preferences for program types, John noted that there are open-ended questions on the survey that are designed to allow for that. He also encouraged everyone to incorporate the ideas that they got while at the conference.

Old Business


Meg stated that she will send a message out to the listserv asking for volunteers to take over the newsletter; if there are no volunteers, she will take over the newsletter. Meg also made a call for items for the newsletter.

SR Archives

Meg reported that work on the SR-SIS archives will be continuing in the fall.


After consultation with members, the SR focused on goals other than long-term visioning.

PR Committee

Meg, with input from Courtney Selby, drafted a charge for the PR Committee.  Courtney stated that the charge is a reminder of the work the committee is supposed to do. Over the previous year Courtney has stayed in touch with Sarah as she takes over the committee. There was some discussion about whether the book drive fell under the charge of the PR Committee. The charge was accepted.

Standing Committee on Lesbian and Gay Issues

Richard Jost reported on the Standing Committee on Lesbian and Gay Issues business meeting. C.J. Pipins is the new Chair of the Standing Committee on Lesbian and Gay Issues. Lee Van Duzer was elected as the new Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect. Policies and procedures for administering the Holoch Grant were discussed at the meeting and accepted.

The SCLGI reception had 88 attendees, with $880 received. Richard noted that a lot of people outside the community attended. There was discussion about shifting the time of the reception so that it did not conflict with other receptions and holding a raffle for five free tickets at the CONELL table. Those issues were tabled.

Standing Committee on Service to Institutional Residents

Stacy reported on the SCSIR business meeting. There was discussion about how to get more people involved in the Standing Committee. Stacy has agreed to take over the responsibility of leading the Standing Committee. The Joint Roundtable was held earlier in the day and was well attended. Amy Hale-Janeke discussed the Jail Mail Blues.

New Business

Death Row Research

Stefanie Pearlman spoke to the attendees about her recent trip to death row to train inmates on legal research. She was encouraged to continue to tell her story.


The meeting was adjourned just after 6:45 p.m.

AALL Announcements

1.  AALL Management Institute to be Held March 7-9, 2013

2. 2013 Webinar Proposals

3. AALL2go Pick of the Month

4.  OBS-SIS/TS-SIS Joint Research Grant Announcement

AALL Management Institute to be Held March 7-9, 2013

Please save the date for the 2013 AALL Management Institute. Held in Chicago at the Palomar Hotel, the Management Institute will provide new and aspiring managers from all types of law libraries the opportunity to learn management strategies, develop new skills, and learn from colleagues. More information will be available in December, so stay tuned.

2013 Webinar Proposals

Are you (or do you know) an expert who can share best practices? Is your library rethinking value and delivering services in an innovative way? Is there a new process that your library has instituted? If you’ve got a great idea to share, AALL invites you to submit a webinar proposal for 2013.

We are looking for content that will provide a combination of just-in-time and practical learning, as well as provide solutions and new ways of thinking that stretch or change traditional approaches. Topics/areas to consider include but are not limited to:

  • Technology (existing/emerging)
  • Electronic resource management
  • New competencies for law librarians
  • Library/patron services
  • New applications
  • Library leadership
  • Work flow/efficiency
  • Teaching techniques/instructional technology
  • Collection development
  • Management, library value
  • Personal/professional branding

Presenters for webinars can be members or nonmembers with expertise on the topics. Webinar proposals must relate directly to topics valuable to law librarians and legal information professionals in associated environments. Proposals (see guidelines) will be reviewed on an ongoing basis, and you will be notified within 30 days of your submission.

Submit a webinar proposal today!

AALL2go Pick of the Month

AALL’s Continuing Professional Education Committee presents the AALL2go pick of the month: Attorney-Client Confidentiality and the Law Librarian.

Although librarians do not meet with clients or function as attorneys in their libraries, librarians do have to be aware of the rules of attorney-client confidentiality. Disclosing confidential client information, even if done so accidentally, could result in waiver of privilege and work-product protection, damage to the client of the client’s business, or even lead to ethical claims of breach of duty or malpractice.

In this session, moderator Anne Klinefelter and attorney Marc Laredo review attorney-client confidentiality and explain the ethical and legal requirements for librarians who do legal research. The presenters also give concrete and practical tips on how to support the work of their attorneys and stay compliant with confidentiality requirements.

This program was originally presented at the AALL Annual Meeting in Boston. It is available as a streaming video with accompanying PowerPoint slides and can be accessed via AALL2go.

Find this and more than 100 other free continuing education programs and webinars for AALL members on AALL2go!

OBS-SIS/TS-SIS Joint Research Grant Announcement

Do you have an idea for a research project but could use a little money to get started?  Maybe buy some statistical software? Hire a research assistant?  Subscribe to SurveyMonkey or Zoomerang?  Then you are in luck!  The AALL OBS-SIS and TS-SIS Joint Research Grant Committee is now accepting applications for the 2013 Joint Research Grant!

The purpose of the Online Bibliographic Services and Technical Services Special Interest Sections’ Joint Research Grant is to provide support to American Association of Law Libraries members conducting research specific to technical services law librarianship that will enhance law librarianship service to our clients.

Qualifications:  AALL membership is required.  Preference will be given to applicants who are members of the OBS and/or TS SISs at the time of application.  Evidence that the research and publication will directly or indirectly benefit technical services law librarianship must be shown.

Grant Awards:  JRGC awards grants in a single year ranging in amount of no more than $1,000 at the discretion of JRGC, –and– pending approval of each grant amount each year as authorized by OBS and TS Executive Boards.

Deadlines:  Complete applications are due to the JRGC Chair no later than March 31, 2013.  Grant recipients will be announced at the annual AALL meeting. Award amounts will be mailed to successful grant recipients as soon as final approval is received by the JRGC Chair.

For more information on the grant and the application process, please visit: http://www.aallnet.org/sis/obssis/research/researchinfo.htm

If you have any further questions, please email the JRGC Chair, Hollie White at hollie.white@law.duke.edu