December 12, 2012
Is It Time to Consider a Comprehensive Government Sector AALL SIS?
I'm a dues-paying member of AALL's State, Court, & County Law Libraries SIS but my involvement is nominal at best (think read the newsletter but nothing else). In part that is because I identify with private law library issues for two reasons:
- My professional DNA was imprinted with very large law firm issues because I spent the first 10 years practicing my profession in that setting; and
- Our little county law library is an official agency that serves our government stakeholders as their in-house library which just happens to be open to private lawyers and members of the general public.
But why is this SIS group limited to state, court and county law libraries? Why are federal law librarians relegated to caucus status when the diversity of both the private sector and academic sector are recognized as SIS groups? After the private sector, federal courts and agencies are the next largest major food group of our vendors. What is going on in the provision of legal resources and services in the federal government market segment is relevant to the "rest of us" at the state and county level. Even if we don't have their buying power, all licensing agreements can be "FOIA-ed," but additional insights on trends and practices could be shared.
It may be time to consider reforming the State, Court, & County Law Libraries SIS to include federal court and agency law libraries under the umbrella of all publicly funded government law libraries. As discussed in Laurie Selwyn & Virginia Eldridge's Public Law Librarianship: Objectives, Challenges, and Solutions (IGI Global, 2012) there are many diverse organizational configurations of state, court and county law libraries. Adding the federal sector will increase that but such unique issues can be addressed within a more comprehensive AALL government sector SIS. [JH]