Strategic Librarian

Using strategy to develop the law firm library.

A “Bodacious” Proposal for AALL Programming

With the Annual Meeting program proposals safely in the hopper for selection, it’s time to revisit discussions regarding AALL educational programming.   Before I start, I would like to say that the programming like the PLL Summit, the recent announcement of a six-week library management course, and the changes to the structure of the 2011 Annual Meeting programming have been great.   

I promised something ‘bodacious’ which Merriam-Webster defines as remarkable or noteworthy. I’m not sure I will really take it that far but here goes.

I propose that we need to :

Look at the annual meeting and professional education as a whole and plan as such.  In other words, put both under the same umbrella which provides a strategic direction for providing educational opportunities for the association’s members.

Create an Education Committee that serves for two years with staggered terms.  This committee would be created by the President and would have a liaison from the Executive Board as well as the Director of Education on the committee. 

It’s charge would be to:

  • Define the structure of the educational programming efforts of the association.
  • Create a subject curriculum that reflects the competencies for individual law librarians and strategic direction of the organization.  Once approved by the Executive Board, the committee uses the curriculum as a guideline for the creation of educational programming as described below. 
  • Ensure that the programming is offered in as many formats as is fiscally possible.
  • Provide programming to those in remote locations or without the means to travel to one location for programming.
  • Work with the incoming president to develop subcommittees that will carry out the bulk of the programming itself, as described below.
  • Work as an oversight committee to ensure the subcommittees are carrying out the programming as defined.

Annual Meeting

This subcommittee would consist of one individual from each SIS group who would serve one year terms.  The chair or co-chairs of the group would be a member or members of the  Education  Committee and would serve a two-year term.   The incoming president would serve as the Executive Board liaison with the Director of Education serving as staff liaison. 

Each SIS would be given a number of program and workshop slots in relation to the size of the membership of the SIS.  Members of the Annual Meeting committee would go back to their SIS and work with a committee from the SIS to create the program/workshops.  

Professional Education

This subcommittee would have the same makeup as the Annual Meeting sub-committee as far as the membership coming from each SIS group and the chair being assigned by the Education Committee in tandem with the incoming president.  That chair would also serve as a liaison back to the Education Committee. 

The difference with this subcommittee would be the role of the Director of Education.  One way to think about this role would be to relate it to a public library board and library director.  The subcommittee would work with the director of education to make the policy decisions and develop plans based on directives from the education much like a library board works with their library director.  

The director of education would be charged with administering the professional education offerings including:

  • Keeping the professional education programs aligned with the curriculum developed by the Education Committee.
  • Working with SIS members or outside speakers to develop classes/programs/regional conferences, webinars, etc. 
  • Working with Chapters to bring programs to local or regional venues.
  • Tracking the success of the program and reporting those metrics back to the Professional Education sub-committee.
  • Administering the funding provided to the committee for its work.


  • This proposal does not have the details that are needed to make the proposal work – those would need to be developed further for success.
  • The goal of this proposal is to formalize the SIS’ role in developing educational programs for their members and provide a structure for implementation.
  • This goal cannot be achieved without adequate funding.  To address this the Executive Board would develop a budget that integrates vendor funding, SIS funding and the dollars that are assigned to this budget by the board from the associations income.  In other words, there would be three sources of funding.   Some thought should be given regarding what percent of the income derived from membership fees should be attributed to education.
  • Training/educational programs already being offered by the vendors should be integrating that training with the association training whenever possible to reduce duplication of effort. 

As I said before in this post, these ideas are just that, ideas expressed by one individual.   Whether any of them makes sense is up to our elected Executive Board.  I would like to hear your thoughts on these ideas.

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