The Law Libraries Association of Maryland (LLAM) will support its members, be a leader in the development of law librarianship, promote the value of law libraries, and promote effective use of existing and future technologies to access legal information.
The profession of law librarianship is changing. Changes in technology have fundamentally altered how law librarians perform their jobs. These changes provide both challenges and opportunities for librarians. LLAM adopts this plan to strategically chart its direction for the coming five year period. This plan focuses on four primary issues: leadership, education, networking, and advocacy.
Law librarians must reinvent themselves in response to their changing environment, the proliferation of information, and the rapid changes in technology. This provides an opportunity to position the librarian and the library to a more central place in the parent organization. Stronger leadership skills are needed to make this happen. Developing these skills can be accomplished through the creation of leadership programming and leadership resources (e.g., toolkits) for the LLAM community.
The average age of law librarians is approximately 50 years old. New librarians must be attracted to the profession through education and recruitment programs developed in cooperation with local library and law schools. To this end, LLAM will make further efforts to work with local library schools to aid in the recruitment of new law librarians. Law librarians also need opportunities to learn from each other through mentorship and partnering programs. LLAM will build on the newly created mentoring program to ensure that newer members to the LLAM community are provided the necessary skills to become leaders in their organizations and in the law library community.
Perceptions and stereotypes continue to hamper the profession. While librarians often depend on the written word to change those perceptions, actions are stronger. Participation by LLAM members in organizations outside of the library community and in joint projects with other library associations (e.g., advocacy work) educates non-librarians to the value and expertise of law librarians.
Libraries, the information librarians manage, and the technologies they use continue to change at a rapid pace. Education programs are needed to ensure that librarians are able to stay ahead of those changes. LLAM will continue to design educational programs that meet the needs of its members. In particular, LLAM will provide cutting-edge programming to help librarians stay current with the constant changes in technology.
LLAM needs to closely examine its program offerings and how these programs are delivered to ensure that it is meeting the needs of its members. LLAM should also consider partnering with other organizations as a means of providing enhanced educational offerings. The manner in which education programs are delivered will not remain a constant but will change as needs and technology evolve.
To train the next generation of law librarians, LLAM members should be active in ensuring that legal research classes be incorporated into local library school curriculums.
To attract new librarians to the profession and to ensure that all librarians receive the continuing education they need, an increased number of grants and scholarships must be available.
To foster leadership and education forums must exist for individuals within the Association to connect with each and network. LLAM places a strong emphasis on creating forums where its members can develop relationships that will foster growth and professional advancement.
LLAM will continue to foster opportunities for networking through the creation of networking programs, through the publication of the LLAM Directory and the LLAM Newsletter, and through the maintenance of the LLAM listserv
In addition to fostering networking within the Association, LLAM will work to create networking opportunities with other AALL chapters and with other local and national library groups.
Political and commercial policies affect law libraries and librarians in almost every facet of operation. When legislation inhibiting access to and use of information is proposed at the local or national level, LLAM will mobilize its members to take effective action. To advocate effectively, LLAM will partner with other local library associations.
LLAM, in its role as a Maryland association and as a chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), will increase its role in all political arenas as the unified voice of law librarians. Through these efforts, LLAM will help influence and shape policies that will promote continued access to and use of information.
To effectively advocate for the Maryland law library community, LLAM also needs to be financially strong. The LLAM Board and leadership should work toward ensuring LLAM’s continued financial health.