A Brief SANDALL History

By June F. MacLeod

In 1973, when I began my career as a law librarian in San Diego, the nearest professional law librarian association (SCALL) was centered in Los Angeles. It was inconvenient for those few of us law librarians in San Diego to attend meetings or network with colleagues (these were the days before e-mail and list servs). Consequently, I would try to get four or five of us together for occasional lunch meetings. We used this opportunity to exchange duplicates, keep up with the news in the local libraries, and share new ideas for managing information. Some of us were also active in the San Diego Chapter of the Special Libraries Association since it was the only local link to professional librarianship. As the group began to grow, we would hold meetings, usually at Gray Cary, that would include guest speakers discussing an area of law or a topic germane to law librarians.

In 1984, when our group had increased in size, Jim Werner, the County Law Librarian, and I queried the membership on whether or not we should consider becoming a separate chapter of AALL. The membership, at that time, did not want the responsibility and work that would be required of a formal organization. We continued as we were until around 1990 when some members brought up the question of becoming a separate chapter from SCALL. Others within the group preferred the status quo. A committee was formed to discuss this issue. It was decided, to appease both sides, to create a more formalized organization without becoming a chapter. The first step would be to develop some bylaws for the new entity.

In 1991, Nanna Frye hosted a bylaws committee consisting of Michael White, Larry Dershem, Mary Lynn Hyde, Diane Garcia, Linda Weathers, Margaret McDonald, Carolyn Vega, Joan Allen-Hart, Saw Ch’ng and me. We decided to create a council with representation from law firms (2 members), government (2 members) and academic (1 member). The bylaws were very similar to SCALL’s. In fact, the name of our newly formed group was SCALL-San Diego. (When SCALL voiced some concerns over our use of their name, we changed our name to San Diego Area Law Libraries (SANDALL)). Elections were held. Our first official council began in September 1991with Joan Allen-Hart, Saw Ch’ng, Diane Garcia, Linda Weathers and me, serving as chair. Other members that served during the first few years included Mary Lynn Hyde, Becky Young, Karla Castetter and Larry Dershem. Nanna Frye would come to the council meetings as an advisor when we had bylaws questions.

With dedication and determination, we produced several workshops for the business and legal community (even providing MCLE credit). We also started a newspaper column in the San Diego Daily Transcript called Off the Shelf and generated good public relations for law librarians by insuring our SANDALL activities were mentioned in the legal newspapers. In addition, we held regular meetings for the full group and monthly meetings for the law firm librarians. We generated a monthly newsletter with a calendar of activities and events. When we started the council, we had no treasury. By the time I left the council, in 1993, we had over $900 in the treasury due to the hard work of all the council members and the support of our SANDALL membership. It was exciting to see the group grow from 4-5 law librarians in 1973 into such a large professional organization.



By John Adkins

In the Spring of 1998 the question of becoming an AALL chapter arose again and this time succeeded. We gained official approval of our petition for chapterhood at the July 1998 AALL Annual Meeting in Anaheim, California. Our first slate of officers was elected shortly thereafter and assumed their duties on October 8, at a formal swearing-in ceremony. Bylaws were adopted, and seven committees were established: Archives, By-Laws, Employment Liaison, Membership, Newsletter, Programs and Website. We chose a logo that was promptly incorporated into our new website and worked out a cooperative relationship with SCALL, whose Board generously provided our fledgling group with $5,000 seed money.

Continuing in our established practice, our first workshop as an official chapter attracted over 50 attendees.

The membership approved amending the by-laws to allow the organization to file for tax exempt status with the state of California, and raising our dues from $5 to $15.

During our second year as an official AALL chapter, two more standing committees, Grants and Nominations, were added bringing the total to nine.

A key accomplishment was the creation and approval of SANDALL’s Policies & Procedures Master List as a precursor to a more formal chapter handbook. It contains items such as the budget allocations, approved committee mission statements, and approved board policies.

The fall workshop, “2000: A Cyber Odyssey,” was a full day of programs covering Internet privacy, digital copyright issues, and use of technology in trial preparation.

In the 2000-2001 term the Board approved plans to develop a special Long-Range Planning Committee for addressing future issues.

We sent a representative to LEAP — Legal Employment Awareness Program, who planned to create a video to show there is more to the legal profession than just being the attorney.

Financially we had a very good third year, with a net increase of more than $3,000 in our treasury.

A special Long Range Planning Committee was established in 2001. They surveyed the membership on a number of issues and reported the results at a Town Meeting held in Summer of 2002.

We held a “Coming Together” meeting following September 11th 2001. SANDALL committed $200 to the AALL Memorial Fund, and joined by NOCALL and SCALL this became a Pan-California gesture.

The highlight of 2002-2003 was the Joint Institute held in San Luis Obispo. For the first time ever the institute involved all three AALL chapters in California, NOCALL, SCALL and SANDALL. Another first that year was a silent auction in conjunction with our Spring Social, which raised quite a bit of money enabling us to award a grant to one member to cover the cost of registration for that year’s AALL conference.

We became more politically active. In collaboration with other organizations in California, letters were sent to Governor Gray Davis’ office to ask him to veto AB 2648, which he did, thereby saving funding for the San Diego Public Law Library and avoiding setting a terrible precedent for other public law libraries.

In our sixth year the Board gave standing committee status to three previously special committees: Government Relations, Library School Liaison and Public Relations to reflect our ongoing involvment with the community.

In January 2004 SANDALL hosted a reception at California Western School of Law for law librarians attending the ALA Midwinter Conference in San Diego. The Spring Social/Silent Auction again raised a significant amount of money toward future educational programs and grants.

The Government Relations Committee worked with the Board to write letters in support of California AB 1095 as well as a dues increase for the San Diego County Public Law Library.

Our membership has remained fairly steady at around 100 members each year.