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July 19, 2010
Please AALL, Don't Stop Paying Members for Their Expertise!
So much has been written and spoken about the vendor liaison position on CRIV and payments to a member for services connected with this position. I support transparency in AALL and think HQ should come clean and put all rumors to rest - or come clean and accept responsibility. However, I want to bring attention to the payment issue. I support AALL paying its members for their expertise. In fact, I think that policy should be spread around a little bit more.
There is a lot of talent in AALL and HQ should be taking advantage of it. If they are willing to pay for it, all the better! For example, last year Tom Boone created a scheduler for the 2009 annual meeting - for free! It was such a good idea that AALL contracted someone else to do the same thing and paid them. I wish they would have paid Member Boone instead of a third party. Not sure why they did that... Makes no sense and I am still upset about it. Incidentally, CS SIS has made many overtures to AALL to help improve technology in our association and has never been successful in offering help (at no charge). But that is a different issue...
Payment can come in different forms. For example, at most conferences I attend, if you are a speaker for the conference, your registration fees are waived. And, the speakers are forced to "buy back" the educational material that they produced for the conference.
I do not object to the payment for a vendor liaison if it served a legitimate purpose and was a lot of work. Since we cannot see the "report" about why the position was created, I'm not sure what qualifications were needed. I would have preferred to see that position filled by one of our out-of-work colleagues if at all possible.
What I would love to see is some money spread around to help those looking for work right now. Wouldn't it be great to have some free educational webinars to improve skill sets or learn new skills? This is not exactly a new idea. The Special Libraries Association offers its members Click U, at http://www.sla.org/content/learn/members/webinars/index.cfm
SLA also offers certificate programs in topics like Copyright Management and Competitive Intelligence, at http://www.sla.org/content/learn/certificates/index.cfm
It also seems that SLA is also willing to pay outside experts to assist their members. In their career center, you have access to "virtual advisors" staffed by certified career coaches, links to articles and industry reports, and the ability to perform ILL requests for items not available electronically. That just scratches the surface.
The lesson here is that it is OK to pay people for their expertise when it pays off in some tangible benefit for association members. The CRIV liaison position did not have time to develop, but it would go a long way if the membership could be assured of some tangible benefit to them that would result from the position. And, it would take away some of the negative feelings that the former CRIV liaison is undoubtedly feeling if AALL would help out here.
What I do not want to see happen is AALL stepping away from the idea that it should not pay us for work we do that benefits the association. Please AALL, don't stop paying your members for their expertise, just be smarter about it. (VS)
PS: Here is the link to join SLA: http://www.sla.org/content/membership/joinsla/index.cfm
I completely agree Vicki that there may be instances where it is acceptable to pay members for a project if that project is going to produce a tangible benefit to the association; if the opportunity to bid/apply for the project is made available to the entire membership; if the committee, SIG, whatever, that is going to most directly benefit from the project is responsible for retaining that member, subject to Board approval, and that retained member is accountable only to that committee; if, should all other qualifications equal out, unemployed law librarians are given preferential treatment. A project, eg the planner or a consultant's report, is not, however, the same as an on-going regular activity.
I do not agree that working law librarians should be hired by the Board, accountable only to the Board and paid to perform what would be regular on-going activites, eg vendor liason, particularly for activities that could be performed by duly constituted committees whose members serve multi-year terms, eg CRIV.
Posted by: Joe Hodnicki | Jul 19, 2010 8:15:28 AM