AALL Futures Summit: Local Wrap-up

By , November 30, 2011 9:02 am

Tina Ching, Robyn Hagle, and Philippe Cloutier attended the AALL Futures Summit. As members of LLOPS we wanted to put out some questions for our community to think about and address. We got together and had a Google Chat conversation to solidify our thoughts post-Summit with these questions:

  1. What idea from keynote speaker Andy Hines applied to our discussion of the future of the profession of law librarianship?
  2. What did you think of the format and schedule of the Futures Summit?
  3.  Any other major issues pertaining to the profession of law librarianship that was addressed at the Futures Summit?
  4. What will be the biggest issue for LLOPS to address in the next five years?
  5. What is the biggest change that you’d like to see in LLOPS within five years?

Below you will find a transcript of that conversation. Feel free to comment and agree, disagree, question, enlighten, etc.;  as we aim to get some dialogue in motion.


Robyn:  Hello!




 Tina:  yo yo yo!




Philippe:  ola




Tina: How should we start this off? Just jump into the questions?
Robyn:  Yeah, I think so.
Philippe:  Agreed.
Robyn:  and I think the order from the survey works.
First Q:  What idea from keynote speaker Andy Hines applied to our discussion of the future of the profession of law librarianship?
By “applied to our discussion” do we mean the discussion we are having right now?
Tina:  I think to the discussion we had at the Summit. But maybe just to a discussion of the future in general.
Philippe:  From my view, Andy’s main point was on changing values in the workforce and culturally. What is it about these values that AALL/ LLOPS and our discussions need to realize and take into account?
Robyn:  Okay.  Well, I really liked what Andy Hines had to say about what Millenials value.  And I agree with Philippe, the larger question then became how do those values apply to the current state of law librarianship and how will law librarianship need to change to more closely match those values?
Tina:  I think that Hines did a good job of describing the changing model of values and how organizations like AALL and LLOPS need to recognize these changes and begin to adapt to them.
Robyn:  I’ve always valued flexibility and the ability to run experiments and try new things.  Assuming my peers value the same things, how do those values play out in the future of AALL and law librarianship?  For one, the flexibility seems at odds with our overwhelming, ubiquitous fears of needing to be VISIBLE.  And by visible I mean sitting at a reference desk answering questions.
Tina:  I think you’re right Robyn. But at the same time, we need to adapt to the changes in the idea of how work is a thing that you do and not a place you go.  Just like the library is not just a place.
Philippe:  The face-to-face is largely something public libraries are even phasing out too.
Robyn:  I absolutely agree, Tina.  But I feel like I’m going against the tide.  Which is really the question you’re getting at:  what can LLOPS and AALL do to recognize the changes that are a’ coming and adapt and evolve? Do you have suggestions?
Philippe:  So we have the values, and I guess some goals he mentioned would be greater participation in the association and making the association meaningful throughout and after our careers.
Tina:  We will definitely start to face challenges when law libraries are faced with dealing and managing the integration of the virtual and in person. I think we need to look outside the library profession and learn from other professions that are working on these issues right now.
Robyn:  Good point, Tina.  What is another profession facing similar issues right now?
Tina:  I attended this interesting keynote about a year ago where a researcher from Microsoft was discussing the issues with working in a team that includes members from all over the world.

Tina:  There are a lot of issues that involve not only time zone differences, but also the lack of human interaction that changes how you interact virtually with a co-worker if you never actually get to meet them.
Robyn:  So true, Tina.  We deal with that all of the time in a law firm setting.

Robyn:  To Philippe’s point:  For me, the way “my” association can be more meaningful and useful has a lot to do with one of the other things Andy Hines said Millenials value and that is working alongside people who are “interesting” and challenge them.  Just like we are in the business of people (clients, public patrons, law students, etc.); the association really needs to know what appeals to their members and how to infuse that throughout the association.  For example that might look like:  simply connecting more with people in the association on a personal level.
Philippe:  The “human connection” was a current that came up multiple times in his keynote and especially in our group conversations.
Robyn:  Yeah, agreed.
Tina:  I think we’re really lucky to be in a chapter like LLOPS where we have a lot of opportunities to interact with each other through meetings, happy hours, programs… However, we are all so busy that I feel like we really don’t have time to develop that connection.
Robyn:  Yes, I completely agree.  I feel very fortunate to be a member of LLOPS.  I think there is work that could be done at the national level though…
Philippe:  We have it pretty good in Seattle, as far as the library community is concerned.
Robyn:  Totally.  I think the problem that comes up is when what happens at the local level seems un-noteworthy and/or invisible to the national level.  There needs to be more of a connection between AALL and the chapters.
Philippe:  Do chapter presidents ever get together?
At the national conference for instance…
Robyn:  Once per year at AALL for a 1 hour meeting of the Council of Chapter Presidents. And that’s only people who attend AALL.
Philippe:  Sounds uber-formal…
Robyn:  Otherwise, there is a listserv, which occasionally has good discussion but is mostly just a way to push information out to the chapters to post.
Should we move on to the next question?
Tina:  Sure.
So what did you think of the format and schedule of the Futures Summit?
Robyn:  Philippe, Tina and I discussed this in person.  I was actually surprised that it came together as well as it did, with regard to common themes developing!  However, I agree with Tina that it felt like we had just started to get really productive and then it was time to go home.
Philippe:  The format and schedule worked. Our moderator was terrific and it really cut through the issues that were consistent in all org types.  There needs to be more mixing of library types.
Tina:  That was definitely one of the major issues that was addressed at the Futures Summit
Philippe:  Yah, we came up with some great ideas and then left them on post-its. Kind of a buzz-kill.
Robyn:  An extra day would have been nice and might have resulted in more take-home action items.
Tina:  Or at least a half day might have worked (an extra half day).
Robyn:  I do think the Committee is meeting to come up with action items sometime in the near future…That’s what I’m told.
Tina:  I think that was in the recent newsletter from Darcy [Kirk].
Philippe:  That feeds into this individual empowerment and active membership theme that came up too. It isn’t enough to talk about this stuff, we really want to make things happen.
Robyn:  For example, maybe we all should have left with the specific charge to start thinking/working on some of the issues at the chapter-level, just like we’re doing right now.  Because, I wonder how many people will do something similar to what we’re doing right now…
Tina:  Well, let’s be honest, if you two didn’t also go to the Futures Summit, I probably wouldn’t be continuing the conversation right now.
Philippe:  Yah, I’d be talking to myself if not for you two, too.
Robyn:  That’s true, Tina.  I wonder how many attendees were the only representative from their chapter or region?
Tina:  I dunno. But I’m sure there were some regions that weren’t even represented too.
Robyn:  That isn’t something the committee discussed and/or accounted for when invites went out (at least not that I am aware of).
Philippe:  I think David [Mao] mentioned something about getting diversity based upon location.  That could mean you’re the only one from Kentucky though.
Tina:  There definitely was a good mix of academic, firm, and court/county.  That was really nice.
Robyn:  True.  We could be more inclusive and invite other attendees to have another one of these with us.  But if it gets too big, it’s hard to manage.
Next question?
TinaAny other major issues pertaining to the profession of law librarianship that was addressed at the Futures Summit?
 Philippe:  The big one was Advocacy. Getting librarian publications into bar associations, AALL sponsored CLEs provided by a Librarian…
Tina:  I think Philippe brought up a big one – mixing of library types. Definitely an issue that was brought up a lot. But it seems that’s not exactly a future thing. It’s an issue that needs to be addressed now.
Philippe:  AALL is doing more with ILTA, which people are praising.  That goes back into mixing, but outside of libraries too.
Tina:  Definitely. There’s so much we can learn from other library types and other organizations. We often look in when we should step back and look out.
Robyn:  I’ve always liked the idea of having a confidante OUTSIDE the profession to discuss professional issues with.  Someone who is of a business mind but not so closely tied to law libraries that they can’t offer a different perspective.  I also think we could all benefit from a similar relationship with another law librarian of a different library type.
Philippe:  The mentorship issue was discussed heavily. I like your idea, Robyn. Someone also offered the idea of peer-level mentors too.
Robyn:  Say, for example, I met with Tina on a quarterly basis and we just talked about challenges we faced, current events in our institutions, etc.
Philippe:  Or a mentor group and not just one-on-one.
Tina:  Do you think this is a role that a local chapter should take on? Or maybe we need sister chapters.
Robyn:  Sister chapters is a good idea.
Philippe:  I think it needs all the pieces.
Tina:  Maybe we need to partner with a chapter and try some sort of matchmaking mentoring system.
Philippe:  AALL can offer some kind of support on this front.
Robyn:  The other big thing that came out of the Summit for me was the idea of reaching out to new members.  AALL seems so cliquish, it’s a good thing I ended up in LLOPS because I would have been very turned off by the social aspect of the larger organization.  And who knows if that would have turned me off to the profession over time.
Tina:  One of the newer librarians mentioned the issue of needing mentors from outside their region because of various local issues that may exist.
Robyn:  I think we need to do more outreach to newer members.  That might mean new member ambassadors by region or something like that.
Philippe:  From what I gather, AALL does little at library schools to, compared to ALA and maybe even SLA.
Tina:  LLOPS does do some outreach to the UW.
Robyn:  I think the idea of the “personal statement” in the AALL profiles would make matchmaking and self-selection of mentor/mentees much easier.  I hope AALL follows through on that one.  One thing LLOPS could do is hold more events at the iSchool.
Philippe:  Oh yah, I guess I should fill out my profile on AALLnet.
Tina:  Hmm… I wonder what my personal statement would be. That would be a difficult one to do.
Philippe:  That’d be great if LLOPS would hold more events at the iSchool.
Robyn:  The statement could be as simple as the tags you put in a Craigslist ad.  It’s just to get the words in there so that they’re searchable.
Tina:  Do we still do the law librarian panel at UW?
Robyn:  We haven’t in quite some time.  We haven’t been invited that I am aware of. Maybe we should reach out to the student chapter of SLA and inquire.  We probably just missed it.  I think it takes place in the Fall.
Tina:  That seems like a good program that was well attended by students.
Philippe:  One of the more memorable classes I had at Syracuse was when librarians from different organizations came in and talked to our classes.  What’s our relationship like with professors?  It was an intro to libraries course.
Robyn:  I know Barbara Holt has been invited to talk to Penny [Hazelton’s] students in the past.  Maybe we should be pushy about being invited to a Special Librarianship class to talk about our jobs.  Nancy Gershenfeld would probably be game!  Shoot, I guess I need to start a list of things I need to follow-up on after this chat!  Creating work for myself!
Tina:  So we’ve got only a few minutes left. What will be the biggest issue for LLOPS to address in the next five years?
Robyn:  That’s a tough one.
Philippe:  Keeping the blog going.  Just kidding.
Tina:  No, that’s Robyn’s baby!
Robyn:  One of the issues I see coming up is how sustainable many of our ideas can be with such a small active membership.  If we come up with new things for LLOPS to be doing that are in line with the action items the Association takes on, where will the manpower come from?
Will we have to phase out other things in order to move on new ideas?
Philippe:  I think LLOPS has plenty of untapped potential.
Robyn:  Philippe for President!
Tina:  He totally just volunteered!
Philippe:  ahahah what?
Robyn:  LOL.
Tina:  Wait, who will run the blog?!
Robyn:  You will, Tina!
Tina:  Uhh….
Philippe:  I’ll run for president if the blog goes to Tina.
Tina:  I’m kinda tapped out for a bit…
Robyn:  Do you see other issues that I’m not thinking of?
Philippe:  At any rate, I think we should try to get more involvement from members.
When I look at the directory I see all these names.
Tina:  We do seem to have a lot of new members as well.
Robyn:  That’s a good one, Philippe.  We are a chapter of 100 or so but a much smaller # is actually active.
Philippe:  Right, and I think the impetus is on the active to snatch them up, welcome them, and let them know we need/value their participation.
Tina:  That’s why we need the Craigslist Matchmaking Program!
Robyn:  We should have library students writing for the blog right now!
Philippe:  I tried ….
Tina:  Go Philippe!
Robyn:  really? what library students don’t want to put that on their resume!!??
HUSTLE, people!
Philippe:  I’ll resend the message to our UW liaison.  I think it goes out to a listserv or something.
Robyn:  Or maybe send directly to any new members who are currently in school.
I think you’ll have better luck targeting individuals!  I can help.
Philippe:  Like Nixon, I will claim powers never before imagined.
Tina:  I think there’s also the other issue of there being a lot of locals who don’t have jobs.
Robyn:  Yeah, totally.  And we are already such a tight market…  So, do we think we have enough material to start a larger conversation with the rest of LLOPS in January?
Philippe:  We have tons of stuff and we sound pretty excited, hopefully they will be too.
Tina:  There’s a lot to talk about. We didn’t even touch on a lot of issues.
Robyn:  WE’RE EXCITED!!!!  SOOO EXCITED!!! (just in case it wasn’t clear)
Tina:  Okay kids, last question?
Robyn:  Should we hold a second chat to discuss or save those ideas for the January meeting?
Sure, last question (sorry wasn’t keeping track).
TinaWhat is the biggest change that you’d like to see in LLOPS within five years?
Philippe:  The best post-it I saw at the summit said: execute one idea. I think if LLOPS can narrow in on one brilliant idea and go for it, I’d like to see that.
Robyn:  I like that!
Philippe:  Make a committee if necessary… the One Committee.
Tina:  Philippe’s campaign promise
Robyn:  I think we could all be taking on more personal responsibility to work on these things but, collectively 1-2 executed ideas seem doable!
Tina:  Well, maybe that should be our goal for the January meeting
Robyn:  What is the ONE idea?
Philippe:  The Cloutier Platform!
Tina:  I guess we’ll have to wait for our meeting in January to figure out the ONE with the rest of our chapter.
Philippe:  Sounds good!  Thanks!
Robyn:  Bye!
Tina:  Later!

One Response to “AALL Futures Summit: Local Wrap-up”

  1. Amy Eaton says:

    This is a great conversation you three started and I hope it keeps going. I think we need a t-shirt which says, execute one idea. I love it. I listened to Andy Hines and he made me think quite a bit about the changing nature of our workplace. Would love to talk about it more detail with all of you!

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