November 3, 2011
Over 175 AALL Members Support the Consumer Advocacy Caucus Petition
57 AALL members signed the petition of which 19 are law firm librarians, 30 are academic law librarians, 6 are county and government law librarians, and 2 are other law librarians.
70% of 198 PLL-SIS members approved the petition in a survey conducted between September 29th and October 7th which means that about 120-140 private sector law librarians, give or take some or all of the 19 law firm librarians who may be counted as signatories, support the petition.
PLL-SIS Endorsement. Based on the PLL-SIS survey results, the PLL-SIS Board unanimously endorsed the petition stating in part:
[Caucus petitioners] regard their Association as their best ally during a time of unprecedented challenges to the long-term sustainability of law libraries. For decades law libraries have straggled with anti-competitive and unfair business practices in the legal information industry. The cumulative impact of anti-consumer practices has been devastating to law libraries, both individually and collectively. The ongoing economic crisis has only accelerated the fallout, with layoffs and substantial reductions in law library collections and services. Under these circumstances, Caucus organizers find that AALL has untapped promise to champion consumer advocacy for the benefit of law library users.
Quoting from Attachment 1 to the Petition.
The Consumer Advocacy Caucus Petition is now in the hands of AALL's Executive Board. The motion for Executive Board action during the upcoming meeting states:
That the Executive Board approve the creation of the Caucus on Consumer Advocacy, with the following statement of purpose: "The AALL Caucus on Consumer Advocacy will recommend to AALL that it petition appropriate government bodies for specific remedies to anti-competitive and unfair business practices by legal information sellers."
The LISVendor wiki page Legal Information Industry: Anticompetitive and Unfair Business Practices offers some background information and links. [JH]
I am beyond disappointed that ALL-SIS chose not to join PLL-SIS in endorsing this petition. Academic law libraries grapple every day with the rising cost of legal information and the inability of our budgets to keep up with it. AALL has not been a strong advocate for its members on this issue, and thus the Caucus came into being. I am seriously considering whether I want to continue as a member of ALL-SIS if it won't take a stand on a core issue like this.
Posted by: Marie Newman | Nov 4, 2011 11:45:23 AM