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Voting starts today. AALL members should receive an email from the organization with instructions to vote. Regardless of if you vote yes or no, I encourage you to read the amendments, look at both sides and vote what you think is best for the association. - GL
I am so grateful to these members who are engaged enough in their association to get this conversation going! A bylaws change should get our attention and get us thinking about outcomes and consequences, intended or otherwise.
I have been giving a lot of thought to the bylaws change (as a member who may or may not be currently excluded from participation in the highest ranks of AALL) and in the end I am in favor of the amendment, and for reasons that I hope are not dismissed as self-serving. I should note however, that I am now and have always identified as an 'active' member. And even if the bylaws change is not approved I plan to continue to self-identify as an active member until I am officially notified that I am denied that status. The current bylaws language is subject to interpretation, and if pressed I suppose the case is easy for me to make, as I do physically "work in a library." However, if NELLCO were to relocate to office space outside of the Albany Law Library, would I then be relegated to Associate Membership status? I don't think that achieves any perceived goal.
Here are my reasons for supporting the bylaws change:
1) While I do understand the concern that big money vendors could 'stack the deck,' the likelihood of that happening, in light of (1) the nominations process and (2) the membership's voting power, seems obscure.
2) The Members of AALL ARE AALL. If we find this does in fact lead us in the wrong direction, we can change it.
3) Vendors are now fully active in the association in every aspect except Board service, and many have volunteered their time and talents for years. AALL should be able to leverage that expertise and reward that commitment with Board service when it's warranted.
4) Membership categories are self-selecting, and are not being actively policed by AALL. And who is the arbiter? There are too many what-ifs and no one to adjudicate and enforce.
5) I don't think a handful of well-resourced people with ulterior motives, even if they were to collude, can overcome the morality of the individuals within the membership.
If the membership of AALL really thinks this proposed change poses a threat to the Association's integrity, my suggestions would be either:
- try to describe the very narrow category of people you are trying to exclude and recommend a clause that would cover that instance or
- consider recommending the revival of an ethics committee within AALL as a more comprehensive solution to the kinds of concerns you are raising.
Tracy L. Thompson-Przylucki, Executive Director
New England Law Library Consortium (NELLCO)
Albany Law School
Schaffer Law Library