Category Archives: Spring 2017

President’s Letter

At the May CALL business meeting, we officially celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Chicago Association of Law Libraries, and it was wonderful to see so many members come out, from those who were attending their first CALL meeting to those who have been members for decades. Thank you to the Meetings Committee and the 70th anniversary planning committee for making it such a special and enjoyable experience. We continue that celebration of the 70th anniversary with many of the articles in this issue of the CALL Bulletin. Continue reading President’s Letter

A Message from AALL President Ronald Wheeler

On behalf of the Executive Board of the American Association of Law Libraries and all of our members, I am pleased to send congratulations to the Chicago Association of Law Libraries (CALL) as you celebrate your 70th anniversary as an AALL Chapter this year.

Since becoming a chapter in June 1947, CALL has played an important role for its members and for the legal community. CALL has provided educational and networking opportunities for law librarians and has fostered a spirit of professional cooperation and service. From the beginning and throughout its history, CALL has had strong ties to AALL. The many contributions of CALL members to AALL as volunteers and leaders on the national level have been a tremendous benefit to the law library profession. Thank you for your strong history of service and leadership; it is highly valued and greatly appreciated. Continue reading A Message from AALL President Ronald Wheeler

Past Presidents Look Back

For this 70th anniversary issue, we thought it would be a treat to gather reflections from past CALL presidents. Below are a collection of responses to a variety of questions about CALL and law librarianship generally. Many thanks to Judy Gaskell, Sally Holterhoff, Heidi Kuehl, Sheri Lewis, Maribel Nash, and Betty Roeske for sharing their thoughts with us. Continue reading Past Presidents Look Back

Looking Back on the CALL Website

It may be hard to believe, but CALL has had a website for over 20 years. In honor of CALL’s 70th anniversary here are a few notable events in the evolution of CALL’s web presence, drawn from the CALL Bulletin and minutes of the CALL executive board.  Thanks to the Internet Archive, we even have a few screenshots of what earlier pages looked like. I hope you will enjoy this look back at how the CALL website evolved. Continue reading Looking Back on the CALL Website

Three Proposals for Academic Law Libraries

Over the last 70 years, CALL and the Chicago legal academic libraries have been integral in adapting library services to changing legal environments so that a law student today will be a successful lawyer tomorrow. There is no doubt that CALL will continue to be a valuable and innovative presence in the Chicago legal community through the collaborative efforts of all the member institutions. It is this spirit of collaboration, and after interactions with fellow librarians, faculty, and students, that I describe three library services that would be valuable additions to all academic libraries in their missions to produce successful lawyers. Whether these proposals are tentatively practiced, formally adopted, or ignored completely, I present them here for consideration. Continue reading Three Proposals for Academic Law Libraries

The Law Library on the Cusp of the Digital Age

There’s a hand drawn map of the law library’s second floor Reading Room that harkens back to a barely digital age—a time when card catalogs and bound volumes of Shepard’s Citations took center stage and the latest technology included a dedicated Lexis machine with a dial-up modem and a clunky comcat (computerized catalog) terminal that couldn’t even search whole words. It appears to have been created some eight or nine years before the library was expanded, renovated, and renamed in honor of Dino D’Angelo, ’44, in 1987.

Hand drawn map of the D'Angelo reading room Continue reading The Law Library on the Cusp of the Digital Age

A Visit to the United States Capitol

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to go to Washington D.C. for a little visit. While there I was able to visit/make my pilgrimage to the Library of Congress and the United States Supreme Court. Two law librarian accomplishments checked off of my bucket list. I was able to visit the Jefferson building of the Library of Congress. The first thing I noticed upon entering the building was the architecture and all of the art on the ceilings. You could have spent most of your time looking up before you ever got a chance to check out the actual exhibits and books.

One of the first things I noticed was the Gutenberg Bible. The librarian in me is always fascinated by old books, particularly this one, since it was the first to be printed using the Gutenberg press. When I looked down I immediately noticed that all of the zodiac signs were on the floor of the Great Hall. There was an exhibit of Thomas Jefferson’s library. The books from Jefferson’s library  were used as the foundation for the Library of Congress. There was also a replica of the oval office as it was when Thomas Jefferson was president.   Continue reading A Visit to the United States Capitol

Go to ACRL, Practice Self-Care

From March 22-25, 2017, I attended the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) conference in Baltimore. I joined the American Library Association (ALA) and ACRL because I wanted access to their teaching resources—including this conference. Like a number of academic librarians, I learned to teach by having to teach. I hoped that this conference would help me improve.

I found ACRL to be wonderfully overwhelming. There were approximately 3500 librarians and 1500 exhibitors and vendors in the Baltimore Convention Center. The atmosphere was one of positive excitement. I was surrounded by academic librarians of all stripes, from African Studies and Arts, to Western European and Women and Gender Studies. And, each of those librarians was excited about their subject and their library.

With the opportunity to attend more than 300 workshops and roundtables in 4 days, the session that I was most eager to attend was the pre-conference workshop “Information Literacy Instruction Transformed.” This workshop focused on Universal Design for Learning, creating lessons that treat variability in learning styles as the norm rather than the exception. Its premise is that when one teaches to specific learning needs, it reduces barriers to learning, engages every student, and improves learning outcomes for all. This workshop has given me ideas on ways to teach for different learning styles and abilities, and how to engage every student in my class.

While I enjoyed all the sessions that I attended, I was overwhelmed by ACRL. There were so many opportunities to learn and so many people. Nearly every session that I attended was overflowing with attendees, especially the keynotes with Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden; English professor, author, and cultural critic Roxanne Gay; and British data-journalist David McCandless. But I am glad that I attended the conference because of the opportunity to interact with, and learn from, librarians in other academic fields. I left with ideas for my next class and contacts who have tried them out.

I highly recommend the 2019 ACRL conference in Cleveland or 2021 conference in Seattle for anyone looking to develop and expand their information literacy skills or expand their librarian network. The immediacy of the conference will make you feel as if you have to attend everything, but that is not the case; ACRL records most of its sessions. You can feasibly have alone time while everyone else is in a recorded session and still get access to that information for up to a year with ACRL Virtual Conference access. So, go to ACRL, but practice self-care!

Leadership: Developing Executive Presence

Thanks to a generous grant from CALL I was able to attend the 11th annual Women’s Leadership Institute hosted by the Association of College Unions International, the Association of College and Research Libraries, the National Association of College and University Business Officers, and NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. It was an impressive gathering of women working at colleges and universities all across the country who were interested in pursuing executive leadership positions at their institutions.

The conference began with an empowering keynote from Emilie Aries, CEO of Bossed Up. Aries is a former political organizer who realized at a young age that her frantic work life was not sustainable. She transitioned into a career as a leadership consultant and now advises women on how to establish healthy, long-lasting careers. Her talk at the conference focused on how to prevent burnout. Her initial advice was something that resonated with me and I think is common among librarians who see themselves as service professionals—Ditch the Martyrdom Myth. She urged us to remember that success does not require suffering. Aries reminded us that when traveling on an airplane we are all told to put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others, and that is true with our professional and personal lives as well. Acknowledging that we still have bosses and family obligations that may require us to make occasional sacrifices, she advised, “Put yourself first. Not always, but not never.”

Aries keynote was inspiring and provided practical advice on setting achievable goals. You can watch her talk about how to set healthy boundaries and invest in sustainable long-term achievement in her popular TED talk, “The Power of No.” I also recommend following Aries’ column on Forbes.com.

Over the next three days at the conference we heard from a number of remarkable women on topics ranging from navigating organizational politics, building cultural competencies, developing a career strategy, establishing financial well-being, and assertive communication. The last topic was one that set this conference apart from other leadership events. Because the attendees were women seeking leadership roles, several speakers remarked on the struggle women face in being seen as assertive, which is linked to being considered a “high potential” employee, vs. aggressive, which is often a euphemism for being a b****. We discussed that in this country there is a mismatch between conventional female qualities and the qualities that are thought necessary for leadership. One of the most important ways to be perceived as a high potential employee and a leader is to project executive presence, a key theme that popped up in almost every talk.

Throughout the conference several presenters referenced Sylvia Ann Hewlett’s work Executive Presence, which analyzes what it means to have “executive presence”, aka to be seen as a leader. According to Hewlett, having leadership skills alone is not enough. You need to be able to project executive presence because how others perceive you is as important as your actual performance.

But what is executive presence? Hewlett breaks it down into three basic, but not entirely equal, categories: gravitas, communication, and appearance. Gravitas is the most important of the three pillars, but as Hewlett explains, also the most elusive.  It is often described as a “know it when you see it” kind of character. However, through her national study of over 4,000 professionals, Hewlett tried to learn what exactly that means. According to the senior leaders who responded to her study, the most important aspects of gravitas include confidence, decisiveness, integrity, emotional intelligence, reputation, and vision. The book is filled with examples and anecdotes of Fortune 500 leaders both displaying gravitas and the repercussions of failing to do so in times of crisis. It goes on to provide practical advice on how to exude gravitas, such as surrounding yourself with people who are better than you, being generous with credit, and learning that empowering others’ executive presence will build your own.

Having read Hewlett’s Executive Presence upon returning from the conference, I discovered that it reinforced the main themes from the Women’s Leadership Institute, and in turn, I highly recommend it to everyone. I’d also like to recommend some of the other readings from the conference:

The Women’s Leadership Institute was a rewarding experience, and once again, I am grateful to CALL for providing the opportunity to attend the conference.