Greetings, CALL members! We’re about halfway through our CALL year, and I wanted to share some of the work of our committees and upcoming events. Our February Business Meeting was at Maggiano’s on Feb. 6. While our attendance numbers for this meeting are up, the attendance at our September and November meetings this year were lower than average. And while I’d love to say it’s just because we’ve all just holding out for the pasta, meeting attendance and membership numbers has been a creeping downward trend in our association, and profession-wide.
It’s been well-discussed that part of this is the changing role of the information professional and shrinking print collections and budgets, resulting in fewer law librarians and more hats that we’re all asked to wear! I looked back at our membership, and 10 years ago, we had 294 members at the start of the 2010 CALL year. At last count, we currently stand at 231 members. We are a very robust and active chapter, but our committees recognize this is a major issue facing our profession, and are working on a number of projects to address this issue at the local and national level! But the point of this letter isn’t doom and gloom!
First, our Placement and Recruitment committee attended Career Day at the iSchool at the University of Illinois in November. They spoke with iSchool students and connected with those interested in careers in law librarianship. Diana Koppang is Chair of Placement and Recruitment, and she is also on the Law Librarianship as a Career Guidance Review Special Committee of AALL. With the decline in specialized law librarianship tracts in Information and Library Science programs, they’re working to identify ways to grow the next generation of legal research specialists.
Our Mentorship and Leadership committee has been coordinating with PR and Placement and Recruitment to identify outreach opportunities for new law librarians, and the legal community in general. Mentorship is planning an upcoming panel on careers in law librarianship. Stay tuned for details! We’ll also be revamping CALL’s LinkedIn profile as a good landing spot for new grads and other librarians interested in law librarianship.
Finally, our Meetings Committee has been busy planning the quarterly Business Meetings, but also putting together fun networking opportunities like happy hours and a CALL Karaoke Night planned for February. This is a great opportunity to get to know your fellow CALL members and prove once and for all that you can, in fact, do the best Meat Loaf impression this side of the Mississippi. New and interested members are encouraged to attend! In the spirit of outreach, they are also planning a survey of membership for the Spring to gauge interest and ideas for future meetings. As we all are busier than ever, we want to make sure our meetings and schedule continue to work best for all our membership.
And to end this President’s Letter on a positive note – to the extent it’s possible to be more positive than karaoke – Gallup polls announced this week that Americans went to libraries more frequently than to the movies, concerts, museums, or sporting events in 2019. We know libraries are cool, we just have to spread the good word, and our committees and members are doing just that. Thank you all for your hard work, and don’t forget to vote in our upcoming election for our next executive board!