October is upon us. I am not entirely certain how we arrived in Q4 2020. Though the future is always uncertain, I am confident that the remainder of 2020 and moving through 2021 will be positive for CALL/ACBD. I have several reasons for optimism:
1. At the September Executive Board meeting, we agreed to have National Office apply for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan, which provides $40,000 to not-for-profit companies during the global health crisis; repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25% (up to $10,000). As there is no significant additional administrative cost and since this is something our National Office can manage, we are grateful for Redstone’s suggestion that we apply. This loan will be a welcome offset for our operating expenses.
2. As I write this, we very nearly have a quorum for our first virtual Special Meeting on October 22, 2020 at 2 PM EST. Our Resolutions Committee (Katie Cuyler and Alicia Loo), our Bylaws Advisor (Cathy Cotter), and our Procedural Advisor (Cyndi Murphy) have all reviewed the resolution that the Board has crafted to increase the potential of any member to serve as President of our Association while decreasing the concern for what will happen in their professional and personal lives during their lengthy term of office. We hope that members will register to in advance for this meeting and participate in the debate on Special Resolution 2020/1 – Leadership Term of Office. The information about the Special Meeting can be found under Member Resources on the CALL/ACBD website. Every member is encouraged to attend.
3. Plans are progressing for CALL/ACBD’s 2021 Virtual Conference. I am excited that we will be able to offer an engaging learning opportunity for all members without worrying about travel. Though I would love to see everyone in person at the end of May 2021, I will content myself with seeing you on screen.
Happy September everyone. It is amazing how time seems to speed up as the year progresses. Perhaps it is the knowledge that summer is fleeting nearly everywhere in Canada. Perhaps it is that the To Do list seems more crowded with the flurry of activity that ‘back to school’ invokes. For all the CALL/ACBD members who are parents of school aged people: my thoughts are with you. There is nothing simple about 2020 and that definitely includes all of the decisions that parents make for and about their children. Speaking of children, congratulations to Alan and Amanda Kilpatrick on the birth of their daughter at the end of August.
Congratulations to Kim Nayyer who was named to the Fastcase 50 this year. “Created in 2011, each year the Fastcase 50 award honors a diverse group of lawyers, legal technologists, policymakers, judges, law librarians, bar association executives, and people from all walks of life. In many cases, honorees are well known, but in many others, the award recognizes people who have made important, but unheralded contributions.” I am extremely proud of Kim for being recognized among this incredible group of innovators.
The board had a productive meeting on August 27. One of the key things we discussed is the idea of coordinating a special meeting of members to address an issue in the CALL/ACBD Bylaws. The issue that we believe warrants a special meeting is a change we propose for the term of office for the President. As I can attest to, the circumstances of someone who runs for Vice President of our Association can change dramatically over the current six year term of office. I suspect that there would be a wider pool of candidates for association leadership if there was a change. Given that we will hold an election in February 2021, it makes sense to bring this issue before the membership by way of a special meeting this fall. Please watch your inbox for a message from National Office sharing proposed bylaws and inviting you to participate in a special meeting on this issue. I am happy to hear your initial reaction by phone (780-991-7682) or email (email@example.com).
A member of CALL/ACBD wrote me with an idea – CALL/ACBD should provide guidance for its members relating to law library reopening. Thanks to Johanne Blenkin for the suggestion, Matthew Renaud who coordinated the project and Karen Sawatzky and Alan Kilpatrick for rounding out our volunteer committee. The four of us crafted the guide after an environmental scan which was made easy by Michel-Adrien Sheppard’s timely blog posts on this topic. We created the document so that CALL/ACBD Members, and the wider community, would have a reopening guide that is law library specific. CALL/ACBD, as an organization that supports legal information specialists in a variety of workplaces, intends this re-opening guide to be a source of information to support decisions about how to safely provide services to law library clients. You will also find links to provincial and federal public health information and some precedent return to work plan documents. We hope you find it useful. As always, your comments are most welcome.
Thank you for making our first Virtual Conference Series a success. Breaking it down from the numbers: More than 400 individuals registered to attend a session during our virtual conference. More than half of registrants are not current members of CALL/ACBD! The Executive Board recognizes this opportunity and we have invited attendees to join our association. We are excited by the possibilities that the virtual conference series presents to CALL/ACBD.
A particular thank you to the 2020 Conference Planning Committee members whose work over the last 2 years lead to excellent conference programming: Members: Michael McAlpine (Co-Chair), Karen Sawatzky (Co-Chair), Kim Nayyer (Executive Liaison), Nora Ballentyne, Victoria Baronow, Meris James, Annette Demers, Vicki Jay Leung, Mary-Jo Mustoe, Matthew Renaud, Jennifer McNenly, Ashleigh Graden, Betty Dykstra, Robert Keshen, Martha Murphy, Louise Hamel, Stacey Zip.
CALL/ACBD Collaboration tools – We will be Zooming
Our June Board meeting included a discussion of the various collaboration technologies that CALL/ACBD supports. After significant discussion, we decided to continue with Zoom as our sole communication platform. Zoom will be used for webinars and meetings. Please contact National Office if you wish to book a Zoom Meeting with a group of members or if you wish to reserve Zoom for use as a conference calling tool. We will continue to use Basecamp for our document sharing and discussion needs.
Focus on Diversity, Inclusion and Decolonization
I am delighted by the work that our DIDC is doing. Please review the events section of this newsletter for an opportunity to participate in the diversity discussion in a meaningful way. Please check out the Committees Page to read and add to the section: Learn and share: A living list of resources and action opportunities. Actions on diversity, inclusion and decolonization will help all of us deal with the emotions that surface as we process current events and also think about historical injustices.
Law Library Reopening Guide
I am delighted to report that Matthew Renaud has agreed to lead a group of volunteers who fill focus on collecting, reconstituting and disseminating guidance for Law Library reopening. If you would like to contribute information to support this work, please connect Matt via firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you to those who have already volunteered to work on this project.
AALL Virtual Conference – Member rates
Since this Newsletter circulates to CALL/ABCD Members, I want to remind you of the sister association member discount code that is available to CALL/ACBD Members who register for the AALL Virtual Conference July 13-17, 2020. Please use the Discount Code VIRTUALINT34 so that your fee is $99. CALL for Volunteers Did you have so much fun attending our first virtual conference that programming content for this type delivery is top of mind? If yes, there are opportunities available. Please contact email@example.com to express your interest.
Stay well CALL-eagues. Shaunna
May 2020 was a success for our Association. We had our first virtual Members Open Forum on May 14. It was absolutely delightful to see all of those who were able to attend and hear from members who sent questions in advance. This Zoom meeting had over 70 attendees. The board enjoyed a preconference meeting on May 20 where we reviewed the feedback from the forum and added to our action items. 58th Annual General Meeting saw more than 90 members attend to join in the required business of our Association. Our quorum for the AGM is 40 members and it was heartening that so many people were able to schedule yet another video call into their busy lives.
Handling CALL/ACBD business virtually is a necessary and also enlightening activity. As we have all become adept at working remotely, we may question why we have always gathered in person for these activities. With the novel coronavirus as our innovation prompt, we can be assured that at least something good has come out of this difficult time.
We keep on learning. I am delighted by the CALL/ACBD Virtual Conference Series activities. Last week’s plenary sessions on Monday (Daniel Dale – Putting Facts First), Tuesday (Dianne Saxe – Climate Crisis and Liability), and Wednesday (Joshua Sealy-Harrington – Putting Speech and Equality in Conversation, not Opposition) were engaging and interesting. My congratulations to the 2020 Conference Planning Committee for their insightful selection last fall of these three speakers.
Members of CALL/ACBD will have access to the recordings from our Virtual Conference Series if you were unable to join live.
Our Virtual Conference Series will continue, and continue to be free to anyone who wishes to attend (to a max of 500 people). Making our unique 2020 Conference free is only possible because we have the support of sponsors – Legal Information Partners including LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters. Please visit the Virtual Conference Page to sign up for the events that these partners are offering if you haven’t already.
One of the highlights at conferences for the past number of years has been the ability to partake of ½ hour vendor demos. These will be offered again this year – in two time slots. Thank you in advance for signing in to see what our legal information partners have to share. Join in on our social media channels to see what is happening and share your conference story at #CALLACBD2020.
Sister Association Education
BIALL has announced “They do it with mirrors: the BIALL (virtual) conference 2020. https://biall.org.uk/annualconference/virtual-conference-2020/ Like CALL/ACBD, BIALL is welcoming anyone to their events which are being held Thursday June 11 and Friday June 12. With the time change, the sessions run from at 7 AM to 8:30 AM Eastern. I encourage you to join in if you are able. AALL 2020 Reimagined will take place as a virtual conference held from July 13-17. Watch the AALL Conference website for details.
Protests Against Racism
As we watch our American neighbours protest against systemic violence and killings of black men and women, I am reminded again of our responsibilities to our society as Canadians and legal information specialists. The law does not value racism. We’re conscious of the work yet to do in Canada as we address our own systemic injustices. CALL/ACBD members, through the resolutions supporting diversity, have shared our values as an association. Each of us, with our speech, thought, and action has the ability and responsibility to stand against racism.
I wish you continued health and safety as you carry on with life and life-long learning.
My dear CALL-eagues. I recently read something about COVID-19 that said, “We are not in the same boat. We are in the same storm.” This rings so true. In my boat, I am privileged to have security of my physical needs of food, shelter, and clothing; social and emotional needs of loving family and friends, meaningful work and the technology to be able to maintain personal connections in this time of physical distancing.. I empathize and sympathize with those whose boat requires bailing, when the boat doesn’t have a compass, sails, oars, lifejackets, gas and motor, or an anchor. I think it is fair to say that none of us will be the same after this particular storm. Keep your boat steady as best you can.
The people that I am most excited share my boat with in May 2020 are CALL/ACBD Members. I am thrilled to report some appointments to specific roles.
Annette Demers has agreed to Chair our Members Open Forum on May 14, 2020 at 1 PM Eastern time. Please watch your email inbox for a link to connect to this virtual meeting and remember that you are welcome to send in your questions or comments in advance to Annette via firstname.lastname@example.org. We are sharing the link by email to members so that this issue of InSession can be shared with those who have not renewed their membership yet or wish to join us and join in.
Cyndi Murphy has accepted an appointment as Procedural Advisor for our 58th Annual General Meeting. I hope that you read our save the date email for the AGM scheduled for May 26, 2020 at 1 PM Eastern.
The AGM supporting materials (Committee and SIG reports) are being gathered and made available through the Members tab at www.callacbd.ca so that it will be easy for you to read them in advance of the AGM as well as reference them for the Members Forum. Follow the menu links to Annual General Meeting.
Cathy Cotter, our long serving Bylaws Expert deserves my thanks for her support for myself, and our Procedural Advisor, as we looked at whether we could bring a meaningful AGM experience to CALL/ACBD Members virtually and legally.
Managing voting counts and credentials for members attending a virtual AGM is, in some ways, simpler than at an in person meeting where members and non-members may be in the room. As such, I have appointed Matt Wiesenfeld, our National Officer, to the added role of Credentials Committee. Unlike other years, our AGM will be limited to members only. While it may be engaging for non-members to attend our AGM, given the present circumstances providing electronic AGM access to members only is our best option.
Katie Cuyler and Alicia Loo have accepted appointments as the Resolutions Committee. Any resolutions presented from the board will circulate with our AGM Notice, which in accordance with our Bylaws, you will receive by email no later than May 6. Katie and Alicia will accept Special Resolutions from members until the resolution deadline of Noon Eastern time, Monday May 25.
With these appointments, the Committee and Special Interest Group reports, and the support and skills of my fellow board members we are well positioned to hold the first virtual Annual General Meeting in CALL/ACBD history. This is a pretty amazing development for our association. With your participation ensuring a quorum, I am anticipating a lively and engaging AGM. Please watch your inbox for official notice of the AGM.
I am also excited to share a boat in this COVID-19 storm with Michael McAlpine and Karen Sawatzky and their CPC 2020 team along with Kim Nayyer, CALL/ACBD Vice President, their board liaison. This group is adeptly pivoting to provide CALL/ACBD Members with a virtual continuing education conference. Read on in this issue of In Session and stay tuned to CALL/ACBD’s social media channels for exciting developments. I hope that at present, this storm is keeping to a gentle rain and that clear skies are ahead for all of us.
Stay well and see you on screen very soon, Shaunna
Last month’s President’s Message was all about the success of our February #CALLACBDCHAT on Twitter. That seems like a lifetime ago.
In March, for the health and safety of our members and guests, we took the extraordinary step of postponing our annual conference given the public health challenge that is affecting our world with the COVID-19 virus. My heartfelt thanks to the 2020 CPC who have worked so hard to put together an amazing conference program. We look forward to sharing information about the timing and format of our 2020 gathering. Unfortunately, our current circumstances also made it impossible to host the New Law Librarians Institute (NLLI) in June. On recommendation from the NLLI Planning Committee, the next iteration of the NLLI will be held in June 2021.
March saw our Association dealing with regular business – membership renewals, finances, SIG and Committee work, communication to members and three virtual Executive Board meetings rather than the usual one. Your Executive Board recognizes that we need to be available, flexible and communicative. I hope that we are fulfilling those needs to the satisfaction of our members.
By now you will have seen that our National Office has moved their physical location. Rest assured that our Redstone Staff at our National Office are able, willing and capable of working remotely. I am thankful that they are all safe and well as they are working very hard to handle both our daily work and our extraordinary tasks. Farewell and thanks to Maggie Large who moved on from Redstone this month. Maggie was a wonderful National Officer and we wish her all the best in her new career focused on marketing.
A warm welcome to Matt Wiesenfeld, our new National Officer. Matt, who is recognized as a Certified Association Executive (CAE) by the Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE), has several years of experience working in project management, communications, and relationship/community management, having worked at the Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating (CIPH) for 6 years prior to joining the Redstone team last fall. Matt is a highly experienced association manager and had an opportunity for cross training with Maggie prior to her departure. The board had a chance to meet Matt over Zoom and by phone. I am confident that Matt will serve our Association well. You can continue to connect with Matt via email@example.com.
Applause for all of you. You are likely working from home with limited access to collections, clients and colleagues. You have played your part in implementing your organizations business continuity strategy – some of you helped plan it. Congratulations to the PLL SIG who had a Slack meetup on working remotely. Remember that you have access to the CALL/ACBD Membership Directory and that we can lean on each other.
Applause for playing your part in your communities by practicing physical distancing. Like me, you miss the family who lives elsewhere and you probably also miss giving and receiving hugs. I bow to you in appreciation for doing your part.
Wishing CALL/ACBD Members continued resilience and resolve,
Shaunna Shaunna Mireau CALL/ACBD President
A new decade for legal information specialists.
For some reason new years that end with a zero are always pause for reflection.
Thinking about the decade that will be known as the 2010’s, a lot has happened:
Personally, I began 2010 as the Chair of the Vendor Liaison Committee. That committee has been partnering diligently with Thomson Reuters as they have been working through their back-office systems transition.
Thank you to Co-Chairs Joan Rataic-Lang and Jacob Ericson and their team as well as the Thomson Reuters representatives and CALL members who have been handling these issues.
For 2020, I wish all CALL/ACBD Members and their families and colleagues every possible success. May the 20’s continue to see us raising our profiles in the legal and information communities.
Happy New Decade
President, CALL/ACBD 2019-2021
You are welcome here.
That is the message that I hope you will take away from your visit to the Canadian Association of Law Libraries /Association canadienne des biblioteques de droit (CALL/ACBD) website.
This site is where our members receive information about the amazing work our association does for us. We can read our publications including Canadian Law Library Review, get caught up on news about the work of our groups via In Session and connect with other members through our member directory and links to committee and special interest groups. This site is where you can find out about upcoming events including our many webinars and our wonderful annual conference.
We are a group of more than 300 legal information specialists from across Canada. Our association provides a forum for the exchange of information and ideas, fosters cooperation among Canadian law libraries, and plays an active role in promoting access to legal information for all Canadians.
Anyone with an interest in seeking, finding, organizing, using, sharing and preserving legal information or working in law librarianship is welcome to join our group.
President, CALL/ACBD 2019-2021
On behalf of the Executive Board of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries /Association canadienne des biblioteques de droit (CALL/ACBD), welcome to our website!
We are a group of more than 300 legal information specialists from across Canada. Our association provides a forum for the exchange of information and ideas, fosters cooperation among Canadian law libraries, and plays an active role in promoting access to legal information for all Canadians.
Take a tour of the website to learn more about us. If you’re thinking of joining the association, the “Join” tab in the menu bar at the top of this screen will walk you through the many benefits of membership. And then, of course, you’ll want to register to become a member!
If you are already a member of CALL/ACBD, enjoy the many resources available to you on our website. Find our monthly newsletter under “Member Publications”. Check out information about Scholarships and Awards under “Learn”. Also under “Learn” you’ll find links to the Canadian Law Library Review, to an archive of past webinars, to a list of upcoming webinars, as well as to information about events such as our annual conference. And this is only skimming the surface! Our website has a lot to offer.
Enjoy – and come back soon!
Ann Marie Melvie
President, CALL/ACBD 2017-2019
Your CALL/ACBD Executive Board has had a busy year. With the exception of the month of August, we met monthly via conference call. This past November, we gathered in Toronto for our annual in-person meeting. For a day and a half, we reviewed and discussed the excellent work of each committee and special interest group of our association. We also identified our budget needs for the 2018 fiscal year. That budget was finalized at the beginning of January.
The Board keeps a close eye on our finances, which we review on a monthly basis. Unfortunately, we are in a deficit situation this year, but we will be doing all that we can to keep our expenses to a minimum, as well as support and maintain our revenue streams.
As discussed in the President’s Roundtable yesterday, we continue to be concerned that our membership is shrinking. There is a bit of good news in relation to this. In 2017 we had 358 members. This year, we have 368. Not a large jump, but a jump none-the-less. This small increase is due to a rise in student memberships. Our National Office notes in their report that membership is the highest it has been since 2014. This is encouraging, and is due in large part to the great work of our Membership Development Committee.
The Toronto Association of Law Libraries approached us a few months ago, asking if we would participate with them in a salary survey of law librarians across Canada. The Executive Board decided that indeed, the time is right for a salary survey, and we would like to participate. Mark Lewis will represent CALL/ACBD on this project. Katie Thomas, both a TALL and a CALL/ACBD member, is also on the committee. You’ll hear more about this in the coming months.
You may know that in December of 2017, the federal government started its mandatory review of the Copyright Act. Over the last while, they have been conducting copyright consultations across the country. On May 11, Kim Nayyer, Co-Chair of our Copyright Committee, appeared on our behalf in front of the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Industry, Science, and Technology, addressing four points – interlibrary loan, fair dealing, overriding license provisions, and Crown copyright. Thanks very much to Kim for representing us. Thanks also to our Copyright Committee Co-Chair Ken Fox, and Executive Board liaison Connie Crosby, for assisting Kim in preparing for her appearance in front of the committee.
Kim has had a busy year. In November, she approached the Board with a proposal that we form a Diversity, Inclusion, and Decolonization Committee. Kim’s hope is that the committee and this initiative will look at ways to make our association more inclusive and inviting to diverse groups of people in the profession, and find ways for our profession to adopt practices that are mindful of our diverse clients. In December, the Executive Board officially formed the Diversity, Inclusion, and Decolonization Committee. This brand new committee met for the first time yesterday morning, and you’ll notice they’ve already provided a report for the AGM. Not only do these important issues require the work of a committee, the Board felt that these issues also require a statement that our whole association can stand behind. Our association’s diversity statement has been crafted, and will be brought to the membership in the form of a resolution in part two of our AGM tomorrow.
Our Association is a member of the Canadian Federation of Library Associations – the CFLA. In 2016, the CFLA determined that their highest priority was to help libraries respond to the Calls to Action found in the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. They established the CFLA Truth and Reconciliation Committee, which delivered a report early in 2017 that contained 10 overarching recommendations. The first recommendation was to establish a Standing Committee on Indigenous Matters, which they did. Tim Knight, Cathy Cotter, Alexia Loumankis, and Margo Jeske, represent CALL/ACBD on that committee.
At the CALL/ACBD Executive Board meeting in April of this year, the Board decided that we would like our association to officially state that we support the recommendations presented in the Report. This will be brought to the membership in the form of a resolution tomorrow, during the second part of our AGM.
At our Executive Board meeting earlier this month, the Board decided that starting this year, we would announce the Honoured Member nominees in advance of the Annual General Meeting. In the past, all nominees were kept secret from the membership until the AGM. Over the years, we’ve definitely enjoyed the element of surprise, but the Board decided that informing members of nominations in advance will better highlight this tradition, ensure all nominees are in attendance, and allow nominees to prepare for the event. This will also give members time to prepare comments if they wish to speak in support of nominations at the AGM.
Our Board continues to think about the future of our profession and our association. Yesterday, at our President’s Roundtable, we discussed the future of the profession and how it relates to CALL/ACBD. Notes of that session were kept, and the Board will be looking closely at the ideas that came up during the discussion.
In December, when Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin retired from the Supreme Court, I sent her a letter on behalf of the association, congratulating her on her retirement, and thanking her for her leadership.
Finally, I acknowledge the work of our Executive Board. Vice-President - Shaunna Mireau, Treasurer - George Tsiakos, Secretary - Jennifer Walker, Members-at-large Karen Sawatzky and Michel-Adrien Sheppard, and Past President - Connie Crosby – make up a hard working team. We are fortunate to have such an engaged group at our helm. I am privileged to be working with them.
Thanks also to our National Officer, Nicole Cork. She is my right-hand person, and keeps me on track. Thanks also to Jessica Symons, and Samantha Chow, our event planners, for all the work they have done for us this year.
Ann Marie Melvie
Good morning everyone! Bonjour, tout le monde!
Je suis très honorée et flatée, d’être en face de vous aujourd’hui, en tant que Présidente de ACBD/CALL. La barre est très haute pour moi, et je ne suis pas très grande.
I am very honoured, and at the same time humbled, to be standing in front of you today as the new President of CALL/ACBD. I’ve got big shoes to fill, and my feet are very small.
I am very much looking forward to the journey we are embarking on together for the next two years.
I attended my very first CALL/ACBD conference right here in Ottawa in 1991. I have a clear memory of being at the AGM – and in particular I remember Cyndi Murphy getting up to the mike to ask a question. I thought she was so incredibly brave to do so and wondered if I would ever be brave enough to ask a question. And here we are today.
First of all, I would like to say “thank-you” to a number of people.
Connie, will you please stand? On behalf of the entire CALL/ACBD Board and the members of our association, I thank you for the leadership you’ve given us over the past four years, first as Vice-President, and then as President. There are many things I admire about you, but one thing that stands out for me is your ability to always look at the bigger picture. With that picture in mind, you strategically look for ways to move our association forward. You care about how CALL/ACBD operates now, and you think about and care about how our association might look in the future. As you move into the role of Past-President, the new Board and I will appreciate your good advice.
Please join me in showing our appreciation to Connie!
Annette, will you please stand? On behalf of the Board, I say thank-you to our out-going Past President, Annette Demers. Annette – you have worked tirelessly for our association for the past six years, and you’ve accomplished a lot. When you became President, one of the key areas you wanted to focus on was education. You wanted CALL to provide high-quality educational programming in a cohesive manner informed by member needs and core competencies. As a result, the Professional Development Pathways document came to be. It was your idea, and you were instrumental in its development. This document will be used for years to come by our Professional Development Committee, our webinar sub-committee, and future conference planners, to help ensure that we have a broad array of professional development offerings for our members. So much of your work in the last six years is a legacy to the association. Annette, you are the only person I know who can take part in meaningful discussion at a board meeting while at the same time putting together a document or an email message on a totally different topic that will be helpful to board members. You are amazing.
Please join me in showing Annette our appreciation!
Thank you to the outgoing members of the executive, with whom I served while as Vice President –Alicia Loo, Erica Anderson, and Maryvon Cote. I’ve learned a lot about the association from you, I’ve enjoyed our discussions, and I’ve truly enjoyed working with each one of you. On behalf of CALL/ACBD, I thank you for all the work you have done over the past two years. And Jennifer Walker, I look forward to continuing on the Board with you for another two years.
Let’s give the outgoing Board members one more round of applause.
Thank you to Nicole Cork, Jessica Symons, Claire Leahy, and other members of the staff at our National Office. They perform many key operations for the association, and they keep us ticking along nicely.
Let’s show them our appreciation.
My two years as vice-president went by in a heartbeat, and I know that the next two years will go by quickly as well.
Many of you know Denis LeMay, who was the President of our Association from 1991 to 1993. He told me recently, and I quote, “the timeline of office for the executive board members is thus: the vice-president looks to the future (conference planning, the presidency); the past president looks to the past (archives, memory, etc.) The only time left for the presidency is the present!”
As I take on this new role in our association, I have a lot to be encouraged about:
My goal as president is to keep this fine ship, the SS CALL/ACBD, on course, because I think we are going in the right direction. Things are going well, we have our rudder in the water, and we are going forward with the wind at our back. We are a healthy, vibrant organization, and with your help, I want to keep the sails up.
Moving forward, we will continue to look strategically at what our association might look like in the future. Just yesterday, in her president’s roundtable, Connie led a good discussion about what our conferences might look like in the future. This is a great start.
This is your association. If over the next few years, you have anything you need to talk to me about, feel free to send me an email or give me a call.
Members of the new Board – Connie Crosby, Shaunna Mireau, Jennifer Walker, George Tsiakos, Karen Sawatzky, and Michel-Adrien Sheppard, I am really looking forward to working with you. I know that together, we will be able to accomplish a lot for our association.
Merci, et j’ai hate de travailler avec vous au cours des deux prochaines années.
Thank-you and I look forward to working with you over the next two years!
Ann Marie Melvie
We heard at this conference from Fred Headon about the changing legal profession and from Gary Rodrigues, Robert McKay and Jason Wilson about the changing legal publishing industry. Annette yesterday pointed out we are the “meat” in this sandwich, and we cannot avoid change.
Many of us are already facing challenges with shrinking budgets and shrinking number of positions—in many ways we might say it is a shrinking profession.
We as professionals are most definitely NOT shrinking. Je suis confiante que nous répondrons aux exigences des années à venir. I have full confidence in the members of CALL/ACBD that we are ready to face the future.
So many of us are expanding our skills, knowledge and experience. Many are transforming our roles and making great leaps in our professional lives.
As you make the great leaps in your career, I ask those of you here today to make us a promise: to remember your friends and colleagues here at CALL/ACBD, to bring back what you are learning and enrich all of our understanding.
Write, teach, share with all of us.
During difficult times there is opportunity. Our organizations are working to find their way during this time of great change. We can take this opportunity to become leaders in Canadian law. Je suis convaincue que vous, les membres de CALL/ACBD, êtes prêts à envisager les défis que nous réserve le futur.
This is going to take pulling together, working in collaboration and coordination with one another. Je me réjouis à la perspective de travailler avec vous tous. We can do this!
As with the Association itself, the website is an organic creation, ever-evolving. Since it is the primary hub for our Association, it must continue to respond to the needs of members. Accordingly, all members are encouraged to send along their feedback, updates and changes that may be necessary.
Thank you for visiting!
May 28, 2014
For my closing remarks, I’d like to make the following observations.
We have had a much discussion throughout this conference which is really about rebranding and reinventing ourselves as librarians. This is a question that our communications committee has also struggled with for the past several years – “what should our Association be doing to raise the profile of the profession?” The task seems insurmountable for a team of volunteers who have their own jobs to do.
As Greg Lambert tells us – a brand is how others perceive you.
Jerry McLaughlin from Forbes magazine writes:
“People are constantly forming perceptions. But we don’t have to leave the process to chance. Every day, we have opportunities to shape other’s perceptions. That is what brand building is about: the deliberate and skillful application of effort to create a desired perception in the mind of another person.”
What do we need to do to change the perceptions of our stakeholders?? We must start by SPEAKING.
Here’s a little example that hit home for me the fact that many (but certainly not all) of us in this profession, find it difficult to speak.
Did anyone else notice this - on Monday morning we had Mitch Kowalski in our plenary session with an incredibly thought-provoking session. At the end of it, we had 30 extra minutes, but I completely dropped the ball and closed the session early. Now – everybody knows me – I am a very bright person, extremely laid back and I take instruction well. However, instead of piping up and saying “hey Annette – can we ask some questions?” –there were 125 librarians in the room who said absolutely nothing. Instead, immediately after the session there was this little ripple of people saying, politely to me, after the fact – “oh that’s too bad that we didn’t get to ask questions…”
Let’s be frank - we are Canadians AND librarians – we are quite possibly the most polite and helpful group of people on the planet! We don’t want to hurt any feelings or rock any boats – we don’t want attention on ourselves.
This approach is fine when it comes to lots of things, but the ground is shifting beneath us and we can no longer afford to watch it happen from the sidelines. In today’s environment we MUST have the courage to seize the opportunity to make sure that our people in leadership roles don’t screw up on the things that really matter. We must recognize that we may only get one shot at this – if you let it go by, there’s always a chance that your decision about whether to speak or not, could determine the fate of your entire institution.
The people that we work with who are in leadership positions are humans trying to navigate some very difficult situations. Although there may be a lot of bad apples in the barrel, I truly believe that most leaders don’t want to make mistakes and they don’t want to make bad decisions.
Greg told us that these situations are actually opportunities for us. So we need to help them.
We need to have our finger on the pulse of the user, the internal and the external environments. We need to be vigilant about continuously watching for opportunities to demonstrate how the skills that we have and the services we provide are important, and as Mitch Kowalski suggests, should actually be a DRIVER for achieving the goals of the organization.
We need to use this information to continuously come up with new ideas, strategies and plans, we need to actively insert ourselves into the process and to feed our ideas up to our decision makers to let them know that we have ideas, we can see a better way forward, an alternative future; that we have a plan for getting there and the evidence to back it up. We can do this regardless of where we sit in the org chart.
If we do this, it is possible that we could positively influence the outcome, however, if we are silent, the outcome will certainly be decided for us.
Every day, we have opportunities to shape other’s perceptions.
On Monday, Eunice Friesen told us that a very important way to engage those whom we are trying to educate – is to create a connection with them. Let’s take her advice – at every opportunity, try to take a minute to tell them who you are, the services you offer and what matters to you.
Incidentally, creating connections and feelings associated with a perception is also an important aspect of a brand. If you look around the room at the people you admire the most, you will see that what makes them special is how they connect with those around them. Could this be part of what also leads to their success as professionals? Could they be using their connections to engage and educate? Do these connections result in an improved profile with stakeholders? Of course they do.
Every day, we have opportunities to shape other’s perceptions.
After this conference, I’ve changed my mind. For now – I think that we don’t need a rebranding strategy – we just need to SPEAK.
Think about it – we have a network of professionals from across the country who, combined,touch the legal profession at every stage in their careers.
What if every academic law librarian here today made a promise to our colleagues, that we will set the ground work for them; we will take every opportunity, whether it be in the classroom, or in individual encounters, to make sure that our fresh impressionable young law students are educated about how law librarians are critical to their future success?
From law student in school – to lawyer in a firm – to judges in the courts – to lawmakers and government – between us – we have access to these people at every stage.
To amplify our message we need to speak and we all need to commit to doing it at every turn. We can do this regardless of where we sit on the org chart.
Every day, we have opportunities to shape other’s perceptions
From this conference we also were reminded that what we do is immensely important in the lives of others and many of us are not just speaking for ourselves and our libraries – we are also speaking on behalf of access to justice, on behalf of people who need our help – think about our colleagues working with persons in prisons, and those who work in public legal education and with self-represented litigants…
It may be scary for some of us to start doing this, but if you find yourself waivering, just take a breath, pause for one moment, and think about the courage it must have taken for the aboriginal people to share the stories that we heard during Justice Sinclair’s talk yesterday. If they could find their courage to speak– then surely you can find yours.
I implore you, on behalf of the Board; a group of volunteers who are continuously looking for opportunities to raise the profile of the profession on your behalf, your colleagues in this room, the colleagues in your workplace, and users now and for generations to come – IT IS TIME TO SPEAK.