President's Message

By , December 1, 2009 12:39 pm
Photo by Matt Garson

Photo by Matt Garson

by Robyn Hagle

In early October, my husband and I returned from our annual trip abroad. This year’s destination was Japan. We spent two weeks exploring the traditional and culturally-rich city of Kyoto, the cosmopolitan and bustling city of Tokyo, with stops in several tiny mountain villages and an ascent, on foot, up Japan’s fifth tallest mountain. Like a good librarian, I did plenty of research on the country before our departure, so it wasn’t a surprise when our combination washing/drying machine sang a song between cycles or our toilet seat stayed toasty warm. The trains ran exactly on time, as advertised. English was not widely spoken and, as our guidebooks predicted, many Japanese were not willing to speak imperfect English, despite how helpless we must have looked.

In spite of spending two weeks exploring the country, Japan seems even more opaque and confounding now. Or perhaps my appetite to understand it has increased and surpassed whatever knowledge I acquired during our journey. How, for example, are the streets so impeccably clean even though garbage cans were nearly impossible to find? Where does the trash go? Why is hiking considered a hobby of the senior population, rarely enjoyed by the young? Why is sushi, Japan’s most famous export, such a luxury in the country of its origin, a tiny island chain surrounded by ocean?

But for me, the single most surprising thing about Japan is a little embarrassing to admit. After traveling by bus and train over nearly one third of the country in just two short weeks, bombarded with advertisements for Japanese companies everywhere I looked, I was astounded by Japan’s intellectual and economic successes. How could so many household brands have come from such a small country? Nikon, Canon, Mitsubishi, Hitachi, Toyota, Casio, Epson, Nintendo, Olympus, Panasonic, Sanyo, Ricoh, Toshiba – it was astonishing. I had to visit Japan before I truly understood the magnitude of this geographically-small country’s power and influence in the world.

Japan’s ability to do great things with limited resources reminds me of our own LLOPS chapter. Even though we are small in numbers, we continue to innovate and lead, both locally and nationally. We are an energetic, motivated, and creative bunch that can and should continue developing new directions for LLOPS . In the coming year, I will continue the work started by Past President Nancy Noble on the website redesign. The Executive Board hopes to make a decision to forge ahead with a design that will incorporate our existing website with the LLOPSCited blog. The job will not be easy, but with Kim Ositis as our capable and motivated tech-savvy webmaster, Kristine Lloyd as our enthusiastic and creative blog editor, and Tina Ching as our dedicated ad-hoc technical editor, I am confident in the abilities of this talented team.

In other committee news, the Government Relations committee has been hard at work revising position papers on major issues relevant to law librarians. The Executive Board will vote on these papers in 2010. In addition to selecting a grant recipient and the recipient of our holiday gift card drive, the Community Outreach committee is taking on the additional challenge of donating items from the former Heller Ehrman library collection. A unique opportunity and a worthy cause.

The Program committee continues to diligently plan new and exciting monthly meetings, including an upcoming meeting on emergency preparedness featuring this year’s AALL visitor, Catherine Lemann. The Professional Development committee is in the beginning stages of planning what will surely be another engaging and successful spring workshop. The Grants committee has already awarded one grant and will continue their work in 2010.

I am looking forward to seeing all of you at the LLOPS holiday party on December 10th and would like to thank West for their continued support of this fun event.

Happy Holidays!

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