Monday, November 26, 2007

Academic Law Librarians Organization

The invitation sent to the library directors' listserv from the Texas academic law library directors (posted to this blog last week) is less an indictment of AALL than a recognition that we have no group to speak on behalf of academic law librarians at a time when our future is in doubt and our relevance is being questioned. AALL membership, by definition and (more recently) by choice, includes representatives from all types of legal collections and others who are merely interested in law libraries. Consequently, that organization is in no position to address the many issues that face academic law librarians. Their financial relationship with legal vendors is merely one example of the various factors that make AALL a less-than-ideal group to speak on behalf of academics.
At the same time, the AALS group formed by legal research and writing instructors has demonstrated how effective that type of an organization can be in representing the interests of its constituents and lobbying on their behalf. Even more recently, the law school deans have formed an effective, informal group to push their agenda, including questioning the long-term future of tenure.
A similar group that represents our concerns could address such issues as law librarian status in the academy (not limited to directors), the need for new comparative data in an electronic environment, and library vendor consolidation and pricing. These are all issues on which we need to speak out forcefully and effectively, if we are really serious about defending academic law librarianship from recent attacks.
If we are successful in forming such a group, this will be a positive step for our profession, and one that is essential if we are to remain a relevant force in legal education. I hope that our colleagues agree and join the Texas law library directors in this exciting proposal!

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