July 17, 2012
Dick Spinelli for AALL President for Life
Because Dick Spinelli is the only vendor employee I know who, if elected to national office, would want current AALL "active members" to think for themselves as representatives of their employers. But wait, he can't hold national elective office because he is only an "associate member" under AALL's current Bylaws.
Well, that could change because the associate membership category would be eliminated and the active membership category would be revised to include vendor employees under proposed revised Bylaw language that is on the agenda for the E-Board's July 20, 2012 meeting. Text below (illustrated).
If the intention is to include in the active membership category, legal information professionals whose employers have bureaucratically separated functions that once were but are no longer performed "in the library," then the bylaws language needs to state that. I, for one, am strongly in favor of changing the bylaws to include such once internal library functions as knowledge management, competitive intelligence and business development, and those IT/IS functions that relate to evaulating, purchasing and supporting vendor solutions for legal process workflow as long as the folks who are now performing that work are employed by our employers. Hell, if we don't try to bring those folks into the fold, private sector law librarians might as well just turn in their AALL dues-paying membership "cards" and become a special interest section of ALA -- the Association of Legal Administrators, not the other ALA.
But the current language is so poorly drafted that it is much more inclusive. Vendors who are "interested in the objectives of the Association" could become full "active" members and their employee representatives could be elected to national office by the membership or appointed chairs of national committees by the Executive Board, which as we all know, is made without any rank-and-file oversight.
Suggestions for Thinking for Yourself as a Representative of Your Employer. Quoting our association's current bylaws
Article II. Object
The American Association of Law Libraries exists to promote and enhance the value of law libraries to the public, the legal community, and the world, to foster the profession of law librarianship, and to provide leadership in the field of legal information and information policy, in recognition that the availability of legal information to all people is a necessary requirement for a just and democratic society.
1. How do we foster a skills and knowledge-based profession when we haven't got enough information about today's proprietary metadata-enhanced search engines?
2. How do we provide leadership in the field of legal information and information policy when the commerical law publishing oligarchy is firmly entrenched in the "content farm" model because that is what "their customers want."
3. How do we even pretend to recognize that legal information should be available to all by way of Open Law and Open Access to primary legal resources generated at all levels of govenment and fair use of licensed electronic secondary sources when it is clear that some newly minted active members, under the proposed Bylaw revision, are more interested in enhancing revenue flow?
Remember, AALL is not an association of law librarians or legal information professionals. It is an association of "law libraries". We as members represent our employers' interests which despite the hollow "partnership" rhetoric of AALL oftentimes does conflict with our vendors strategic objectives and tactics at the enterprise and industry levels. As an association of employers should vendor employees whose paychecks are written by paymasters who certainly are interested in but not supportive of AALL's objectives be allowed to be active members with all the rights of membership?
What the heck, if the Bylaws drafters don't bring back associate membership status for vendor reps and don't limit active membership to representives employed by the same entities that employ us, we can eliminate the vendor liaison employment position entirely, close down the government affairs office, and the E-Board can appoint one of our "Dear Colleagues" push-back letter writers to head up CRIV. Imagine the tightly controlled Nominations Committee offering up two WEXIS reps for VP-P-Elect some year. This may sound fanciful but there is only one way to guarantee that it won't happen ... elect Dick Spinelli AALL President for Life! As you can see from the above campaign poster, Dick has plenty of life left in him.
If called to serve, I know Dick won't let us down.
End Note. Do note well, that when the E-Board considers this revision at its pre-conference July 20, 2012 meeting it has several options including (1) accept the currently submitted revision; (2) unilaterally change the drafted language; or (3) instruct the Bylaws Committee to go back to the drafting board. The first two options could result in a presentation for the current active membership's consideration and discussion and then a vote on the revised bylaws. That process would start within 60-days of what the E-Board decides to do --- meaning it would end post-Boston 2012. However, this does not mean the topic cannot or will not be open for discussion at this year's AALL Business Meeting & Members Open Forum on Monday, July 23, 4:15 PM - 5:30 PM in HCC-Ballroom B. [JH]
Then change the association's name to AAL Librarians Etc., if you get elected to the Executive Board, Ken. Better also change Article II of the bylaws.
What I am suggesting is that libraries stands for our employers. Remember, when one changes jobs, membership does not automatically transfer with the person to his or her new job.
Posted by: Joe Hodnicki | Jul 18, 2012 2:51:02 AM
Leave the bylaws as they currently are. There is nothing that needs to be changed!
Posted by: Cheryl | Jul 17, 2012 10:53:24 AM
I naively read "works with legal information in a [. . .] information center" as including some people working for vendors, and the job task, not employer, separating them from "non library employees of the information industry."
Posted by: Wilhelmina Randtke | Jul 17, 2012 10:02:34 AM
SLA and ALA have library in their organizational name, rather than librarian, yet clearly in their governing documents and in their day-to-day activities librarians and other interested individuals are the principal members, not the institution of "library." Are you suggesting that the presence of "libraries" rather than "library" in our organizational name forever limits the purposes of the association and who shall be members?
Posted by: Ken Hirsh | Jul 17, 2012 8:34:03 AM