President’s Letter

Stacy Fowler
Associate Professor
Technical Services Librarian
St. Mary’s University School of Law

I know it doesn’t seem like it, but our 2020 meeting in San Antonio is fast approaching! Our conference will be held March 26-28, 2020 at the lovely Hotel Valencia, located on the Riverwalk at 150 E. Houston Street. Registration is now open, linked here on the SWALL website. We have a great conference lined up for you, including a wonderful reception at the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum and attending a performance of the Broadway show Aladdin.


Just a reminder that the SWALL Programming Committee will soon begin accepting proposals for the ​ ​​2020 Annual Meeting. With the theme of See the Future, your colleagues are looking to you to inform and inspire as we begin a new decade. Be ready to share your knowledge and inspirations in San Antonio! We want to make certain the 2020 meeting is as professionally enriching as possible, so please consider submitting a program proposal! What innovations have you successfully implemented in your library? How do you help your library and librarians stay relevant? Where do you get your scholarship ideas? It’s time to put those brilliant ideas out there to share with the world.

We will be looking for programs that cover a wide range of ​interesting and relevant ​topics and encourage proposals that appeal to ​the many types of law librarians and information professionals that make up our broad organization. Three programs lengths are available:

  • Standard 45-minute programs, perfect for getting colleagues up-to-speed in your area of growing expertise
  • 90-minute “Deep Dives,” split into two parts, to allow the time to really get into the nitty gritty of your subject
  • 5-minute “Ignite Talks” (20 slides x 20 seconds), great for getting people talking about that new and exciting topic you’re becoming passionate about

We especially encourage first-time presenters to submit – getting your feet wet at the regional level is often just what’s needed to help you branch out into bigger and better things. And remember – think how good it will look on your CV!

Image Credit: Pixabay

Tickets for Aladdin are still available – this is for the Thursday evening performance, March 26, 2020 at 7:30 PM at the historic Majestic Theater. Tickets are $32/each for seats in the balcony, and you can buy extras for any family members coming to town with you.  I am accepting payment through PayPal, which should be sent to I need to get a solid count on how many will be attending, so please get your monies in (or at least let me know). If you have any questions, feel free to reach out.

Let’s work together to make this one of the best conferences ever – your knowledge and dedication make this organization what it is, so be ready to bring your A game to the Alamo City soon!

Stacy Fowler
SWALL President

SWALL Annual Report 2018-2019

Southwestern Association of Law Libraries

SWALL Annual Report 2018-2019

The Southwestern Association of Law Libraries (SWALL) Executive Board for 2018-2019 was Jeff B. Woodmansee, President; Stacy Fowler, Vice President/President Elect; Jamie Baker, Treasurer; Cassie DuBay, Secretary; and Joan Stringfellow, Immediate Past President.

Activities undertaken this year include revamping the official SWALL website, updating the SWALL resolution supporting UELMA in Texas, which passed the legislature and was signed into law by Governer Greg Abbott on May 25, 2019, and revamping standing committees and charges to help lead the association forward in the coming years.

The 2019 SWALL Annual Meeting was held in Little Rock, AK from April 14-16, 2019.  There were 55 registered attendees. At the Business Meeting, the new Executive Board for 2019-2020 was announced: Stacy Fowler, President; Katy Badeaux, Vice-President/President Elect; Jamie Baker, Treasurer; Cynthia Burress, Secretary, and Jeff B. Woodmansee, Immediate Past President.

For the 2019 SWALL Annual Meeting in Little Rock, we awarded the Kate Mara Award, the Marian Boner Grant Award, and the Coco-Miller Grant Award to Le’Shawn Turner, Bailey Eagin, and Darlene Jackson, respectively.  These named grants were in the amount of $650 each, for a total of $1950.  Additionally, for the 2019 AALL Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, SWALL awarded a $1000 grant to Aaron Retteen.

SWALL’s total membership for the 2018-2019 year was 162 members, a decrease of eight from the previous year.

SWALL held an electronic vote March 16 through March 30, 2019 for the election of the next executive board and for approval of the bylaws revisions put forth by Cassie Dubay and Jennifer Laws; both were approved as submitted.

The 2020 Annual Meeting will be held in San Antonio, Texas from March 26-28, 2020. The theme for the meeting is SWALL 20/20: See the Future. SWALL is currently in the process of determining the location for the 2021 meeting, which must be held outside of Texas.

SWALL 2019 Conference Highlights & Thanks

I write today to share some highlights and extend my gratitude to everyone who attended and participated in the planning of the recent SWALL Annual Meeting held April 14-16, 2019 at the Little Rock Marriott and hosted by the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law Library. Although last-minute logistics and weather-related travel complications led to some adjustments at the start of the gathering, we are so glad to have pulled off a well-attended and well-received program for our members and hope you all enjoyed your time reconnecting with colleagues and learning from our wonderful array of speakers and vendors while here in Arkansas.

The theme for this year’s event was Rockin’ Roles for Legal Info Pros, and programming revolved around new trends in law librarianship and responses to challenges involving racial justice and implicit bias issues. Without question, the Annual Meeting really began rockin’ with the Keynote remarks from the charming and engaging Honorable Bernice Donald, 6th Circuit Federal Judge, and a great time was had by those attending the Opening Night Reception at the newly-opened UA Little Rock Downtown Center. The second day of programs started off much more smoothly without all the flight worries to account for, as members recounted the past year of chapter business, the torch was passed to new SWALL President Stacy Fowler, and members enjoyed themselves at the Dine-Around locales (and some impromptu piano bar fun) that evening. Finally, we concluded with a breakfast program from the Clinton Foundation and National Archives at the Clinton Presidential Center, followed by a lively group Library tour on the final day of the meeting.

In total, we had 55 registrants for the Annual Meeting, including our student volunteers and participating vendor representatives. In the end, weather caused 8 cancellations, leaving us with 47 total attendees present for the event. The Legal Information Services to the Public Committee (“LISP”), chaired by our incoming Vice-President/President-Elect Katy Badeaux of the University of Houston Law Center, partnered with the Arkansas Supreme Court Library staff to put on a fun and informative three-hour Pre-Conference Workshop at the Bowen School of Law on April 13 entitled “Legal Research for All Librarians”, attended by 10 registered local public librarians.

We were once again lucky to be supported by some of our generous tried-and-true participating vendors. Thank you to all of our sponsors and exhibitors: Thomson Reuters, LexisNexis, Legal Information Preservation Alliance, Bloomberg Law, HeinOnline, ProQuest, West Academic, and the local law firm of Wright Lindsey Jennings PLLC.

The biggest reason this conference was a success was because of how my library colleagues here at the Bowen School of Law stepped up in the clutch to pull things together in the lead up to the event and how our faculty and staff showed support, from Dean Theresa Beiner taking part in our opening events to Professors Anastasia Boles and Josh Silverstein delivering presentations, Dean Wanda Hoover working on our behalf to ensure a wonderful Opening Reception, and our Director of Communications, Tina Medlock, who worked tirelessly on our behalf in creating attractive and informational print and online content to promote the event. On a personal note, I also want to extend thanks to our Treasurer, Jamie Baker, who poured in many hours helping us with registration, and my longtime mentors and Local Arrangements Co-Chairs, Melissa Serfass and Law Library Director Jessie Burchfield, for all of the work they put into this, the support they always showed, and their innate ability to be such calming influences amid the chaos.

I am proud to have served alongside such fantastic professionals and dear friends—both as your Chapter President over the past year and as a member of Bowen. Thank you all!

Best regards,
Jeff B. Woodmansee

SWALL Member News, Awards, and Highlights

Robert Hu
Professor of Law and Director
Sarita Kenedy East Law Library
St. Mary’s University School of Law

At the AALL Annual Meeting in D.C., Robert presided over the AALL’s Copyright Committee meeting as the chairman, participated in the Public Policy Update session as a speaker, and made remarks at the forum about the work of the Copyright Committee. Robert also wrote an article on Dr. Arthur Yao, who was a beloved professor on the faculty of St. Mary’s law school. The article is titled, Arthur C.Y. Yao (1906-2004): A Pioneer Chinese Professor At St. Mary’s University School of Law, and it will be published by St. Mary’s Law Journal this fall.

Karen Selden
Metadata Services Librarian
Interim Head of Technical Services
William A. Wise Law Library
University of Colorado Law School

Karen received the 2019 Renee D. Chapman Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions in Technical Services Law Librarianship from AALL’s Technical Services Special Interest Section.

Jeff Woodmansee
Associate Professor of Law Librarianship
Research Support and Reference Librarian

William H. Bowen School of Law

Jeff is a current candidate for the 2020 AALL Executive Board Member-at-Large, with voting to take place on October 2019

Jennifer Wondracek
Director of Legal Educational Technology
Professor of Practice
UNT Dallas College of Law

Jennifer received the RIPS-SIS Service Award. Jennifer also led the UNT Dallas College of Law Legal Educational Technology department in winning the 2019 AALL Innovations in Technology Award. This award recognized the team’s innovative efforts in creating a virtual crime scene. You can read more about this project in this Dallas Innovates article, or jump right into the scene!

Lisa Goodman
Executive Professor & Director
Dee J. Kelly Law Library
Texas A&M University School of Law

Lisa Goodman is the new law library director at the Dee J. Kelly Law Library at Texas A&M University School of Law! Congratulations and welcome Back to Texas!

When asked about her new position, Lisa said, “I am both thrilled and honored to return to the Dee J. Kelly Law Library and to have the opportunity to lead this talented group of professionals. I look forward to all of the work we will accomplish in the years ahead!”

Cara Sitton
Law Library Director
Dell Dehay Law Library of Tarrant County

Cara Sitton has been named the Director of the Dell Dehay Law Library of Tarrant County. Prior to joining the Dell Dehay Law Library, Cara worked for the Texas A&M University School of Law Dee J. Kelly Law Library for seven years. Cara earned her Juris Doctor from Texas A&M University School of Law in May 2019 and her Master of Library and Information Sciences from the University of North Texas in 2013. Congratulations, Cara!

Harris County Law Library
Houston, TX
Submitted By Joseph Lawson, Deputy Director

The Harris County Law Library took home several awards from AALL! The Harris County Law Library was named a 2019 recipient of the Joseph L. Andrews Legal Literature Award for its publication entitled Pro Se Litigant Handbook and the Spanish-language translation, Manual para Litigantes Pro Se.

The Harris County Law Library also won the AALL’s Excellence in Community Engagement Award for its Harvey recovery resources webpage, an effort to organize legal aid information for our storm-impacted neighbors.

Additionally, Law Library Director Mariann Sears received the prestigious Bethany J. Ochal Award for Distinguished Service to the Profession from AALL’s government section.

You can read more from the Harris County Attorney’s Office press release recognizing the law library’s achievements, the law library’s blog post, and this Texas Lawyer Newsmaker Column.

The Harris County Law Library also received a resolution from Harris County Commissioners Court recognizing July 14-20 as “Access to Legal Information Week” throughout the county. The resolution recognized the role the Harris County Law Library plays in providing legal information to both lawyers and non-lawyers in Harris County and the awards the library has received since becoming a part of the Office of County Attorney Vince Ryan. The Harris County Attorney’s Office published a press release with details and the Law Library published a blog post detailing an event for each day of that week. This can serve as a great model for public law libraries!

Deputy Director Joseph Lawson also presented a program at the Annual Meeting with fellow SWALL member Alyson Drake, from Texas Tech University School of Law, titled “Better with Science: Strengthening Patron Learning.”

Photo credit: Amanda Watson, Director of University of Houston Law Center O’Quinn Law Library

Travis County Law Library & Self-Help Center
Austin, TX
Submitted By Lisa Rush, Law Library Manager

The Travis County Law Library & Self-Help Center helps the Travis County community access legal information to help the courts advance fairness and equality in the justice system.

Here are some exciting changes about the Law Library:

New staff!
A new reference librarian position was added this year. The new position, combined with an opening, allowed us to hire Josephine Black and Abigail Weller. Both Josephine and Abigail are graduates of the University of Texas iSchool (formerly the UT School of Library and Information). Both are new to law librarianship and are now first-time members of SWALL.

New service!
The Law Library expanded its services to include expunction assistance. The Law Library hired attorney Nikki Hunt in April 2019. As the reference attorney for expunctions, Nikki helps patrons determine if they are eligible for an expunction or non-disclosure. If so, she helps them complete the appropriate court forms. This is an expansion of the reference attorney services offered by the Travis County Law Library. We also have attorneys on staff who assist with driver’s license issues and uncontested family law filings.

New Roomies!
Texas RioGrande Legal Aid now has an intake office in the Law Library. Patrons cannot visit with a legal aid attorney in the library but they can learn if they qualify for legal aid. The legal aid paralegals office in the Law Library every morning to assist applicants to complete the intake paper work. In addition to Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, we have two other “roommates.” Austin Bar in Action staffs an office with a part-time attorney who helps with our daily family law clinics and coordinates attorney and paralegal volunteers in the Law Library. Three years ago, we began a new partnership with the District Clerk’s Office. Travis County District Clerk Velva Price shares one of her clerks with the Law Library. The deputy clerk offices in the Law Library and can accept civil filings, issue service, and research filings in the Law Library.

New Outreach!
Google Groups makes it easy to create emailing lists. In July we launched a new email list called the Austin-Area Community Referral Exchange. The goal is to be a hub for announcements for related to new and changed legal services. For example, we post announcements about changed legal clinic schedules and free training opportunities. Flyers for job fairs and legal clinics are posted so that members can print the flyers to hang in their offices. The 32 Exchange members include legal aid providers, court services staff, community college career advisors, social workers and more.

New Project!
When the Travis County Commissioners Court passes new ordinances and regulations, those the Law Library adds those amendments to the Travis County Code. As codifier of the Travis County Code, the Law Library incorporated the amendments into the Code and then publishes an updated copy online. This means the online Code includes only the current regulations and ordinances. It isn’t possible to access the historical Code online. Starting this fall, we will work with a vendor to publish an easier-to-search online code that will allow research into past versions of the land use ordinances. As time permits, we will expand the historical access to chapters other than land use.

Kristin Love
Postdoctoral Fellow
University of New Mexico Law Library

Kristin Love joined the University of New Mexico Law Library in July 2019 as a Postdoctoral Fellow. This fellowship program serves as a foundational experience for 1-2 individuals who are just starting their career in law librarianship.

Kristin brings a decade of experience as a public interest lawyer in Mexico and the United States. Most recently, she was a staff attorney with the ACLU of New Mexico, where she focused on the rights of people in immigrant and Muslim communities and detained and incarcerated people. Kristin also clerked for the Honorable Martha Vázquez of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico, worked with the ACLU as a Border Civil Rights Fellow, the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights as a staff attorney, and Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. as a Skadden Fellow and a policy attorney. Kristin is fluent in Spanish and is a 2006 honors graduate of the University of Chicago and a 2009 graduate of the University of Chicago Law School. She plans to start library school in January.

Edward Hart
Assistant Professor and Assistant Dean for Law Library
UNT Dallas College of Law

CALIcon19: Paradigm Shift

The annual conference of The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) is the intersection of law school information technology, legal education instructional technology, and teaching substantive law and practical aspects of law using technology.  This year’s meeting was hosted by the University of South Carolina School of Law, at their relative new building in downtown Columbia.

The CALIcon19’s theme was Paradigm Shift with the definition provided, “A fundamental change in an individual’s or a society’s view of how things work in the world.” Working the two angles of recovering from the 2008 crash and the growth of new programs responding to the access to justice to gap, CALI is there to contribute to the discussion both as a partner and coordination of its members as the use of technology addresses these two fronts.

The keynote speaker to set the tone for CALIcon19 was Prof. Dave Yearwood of the University of North Dakota.  Not from a law school, Prof. Yearwood was the Graduate Director of Technology and the PhD program in Teaching and Learning.  His address was titled “The Education Conundrum: Teach as you were Taught, or Teach for the Future?” 

He challenged us to rethinking how we teach.  While we teach our students to change, we are not keeping pace with making changes with our pedagogy.  How do we communicate our qualities as a good teacher when teaching online? He called for us to look at in person opportunities as time for exploration, not to introduce content. We, faculty and librarians, are no longer the sole sources of information. Classes are where students should Inquiry, experiment, and develop solutions.  Modern tools, such as those provided by CALI, allow for these personalized instruction.

CALI consistently works to provide its member schools’ alternatives to what otherwise require costly solutions.  This year John Meyer announced the formation of Law School and Bar Exam Study Skills Fellowships.   With support of AccessLex Institute, seven fellows were selected to author CALI Lessons “to develop students’ critical-thinking skills.”  Unlike the thousands of CALI lessons that currently exist, Meyer states. “The new interactive lessons will focus on meta-skills for succeeding in legal education and will explore the intersection of law school and bar exam curricula. We have assembled a stellar team of academic success superheroes and hope to engage the broader community in future materials development.”

But do not forget those current lessons and CALI’s other efforts such as eLangdell books, CALI’s leading efforts that are still the foundation of their work on behalf of all law students. At the heart of CALI are its substantive lessons on Law, which provided formative assessment long before that concept became vogue with the latest ABA Standards.  Books from the eLangdale are growing in numbers covering more areas of law.  Here at UNT Dallas we use Sources of American Law by Beau Steenken and Tina Brooks of the University of Kentucky, in our first year Legal Research class. CALIcon20 will be in Chicago back at the mother ship Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology, 4-5 June 2020.  I highly encourage you to attend!

SWALL Members at the 2019 AALL Annual Meeting in D.C.

SWALL Grant to AALL Annual Meeting 2019 Recipient Narrative

Aaron Retteen
Digital Services & Repository Librarian
Dee J. Kelly Law Library
Texas A&M University School of Law

I am extremely grateful for being awarded the 2019 AALL Annual Meeting Travel Grant by SWALL and the SWALL Grants Committee. This year’s Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. was a great professional development and networking opportunity and a perfect occasion to catch up with colleagues on important topical issues arising this year. There was so much to do and so many great presentations to attend that I can’t review everything that I enjoyed, but I wanted to provide some highlights and high points of my time at the conference.

This was only my second Annual Meeting that I have ever attended, so I was mentally prepared for the pace of all the conference has to offer, and I wanted to make sure to make the most of my experience. My first Annual Meeting experience started with attending CONELL as new librarian participant, and the experience was absolutely amazing; for this year’s conference, I wanted to give back and help the CONELL team with running the introductory program. To do so, I would have to come to D.C. a day earlier than the actual conference began, which is something the SWALL travel grant help make a possibility. I mainly filled in gaps that needed some hands-on help, like setting up the Marketplace and assisting one of the tour groups, but I was happy to help in any way I could and be a part of the excellent program. 

The CONELL Marketplace is one of my favorite points of the lead-up to the Annual Meeting, and I was able to help staff the Law Repository Caucus table, which let me more thoroughly meet the CONELL attendees and talk about the different SIS and Caucus offerings embedded within AALL. Another of my favorite pre-conference events is the Black Caucus’s annual dinner, which is such a great time to break bread and catch up with colleagues in different stages of their professional development. This year, the annual dinner was graciously hosted at the Howard University Law Library and featured Rhea Ballard-Thrower, the Executive Director of the Howard University Libraries. The night was full of fun games and networking events, but also proved educational as we were given a tour that highlighted some important history. Visiting libraries and learning from the librarians within them is one of my favorite ways of meeting new people and discovering different approaches to common challenges. I am excited to be able to continue serving as BCAALL Webmaster for the next year.

The programming at the Annual Meeting in D.C. was engaging and topically relevant to my position as the Digital Services & Repository Librarian at Texas A&M University School of Law. The presentation put on by U.S. News and HeinOnline has been a hot topic among the faculty, and it was apparently causing a buzz across the country as the presentation was jam-packed with people in the audience. I appreciated how HeinOnline and U.S. News used the presentation to clarify some details and also invite feedback from the librarian community. Several librarians shared a sense of communal frustration in that HeinOnline and U.S. News were making high-level decisions that impacted the workflows of law librarians. While criticisms about the underlying methodology and poorly designed institutional incentives remain, at the very least, HeinOnline affirmed that going forward it would do more to include the law librarian community before making any final decisions.

Another highlight from my Annual Meeting conference this year was the “Maximizing Your Faculty’s Scholarly Impact: Techniques to Increase Findability” program. My role at my law school intersects with most topics within scholarly communications, so any programming aimed at improving services in this area is very relevant for me. I was pleased to hear the panelists share information that I thought was crucial for anyone looking to learn about this field. Last year, topics that touched on scholarly communications were good, but this year it seemed to me our profession took a leap forward in terms of understanding core issues and coming up with ways to address the challenges of being in a niche subject specialty like the law. Whereas it was difficult to find many people tuned into ORCID or digital object identifiers (DOIs) last year, this year those two topics permeated many presentations and casual talks. I am currently working on an article that will help advocate for legal scholarship to adopt persistent identifiers at the article and author level, and I think the timing is just right to build a coalition of people and institutions that can bridge the expertise within law libraries with the workflows of law journals. At this presentation in D.C., I was sitting in the audience, but was called upon by others as an expert in DOIs and persistent identifiers, which was both humbling and exciting – directly thereafter, I was able to connect with many people who were interested in moving forward in this area over the next year. This is the kind of momentum that can be generated by attending the AALL Annual Meeting in person, and I intend to take this as an opportunity to move one part of our profession at least a tiny bit forward.

One session that I thoroughly enjoyed and learned a lot from was “Developing and Achieving Your Leadership Potential.” This session featured several panelists who shared strategies and approaches to developing leadership skills, and it was both refreshing and reassuring to hear from others about the pervasive “imposter syndrome” effect and how even the most effective leaders need to continually reassess responsibilities and time commitments in order to maintain a balance between taking on too many things and staying on the side lines. One of my favorite take-aways from this session was the conclusion that it is okay to look for a qualified replacement to take over a responsibility that you think you need to give up. Part of being a great leader is also knowing when to let someone else come in and take over something you may have managed for years, and it is healthy to have a rotation of perspectives, both for an institution and personally for leaders themselves. 

Finally, an aspect of the Annual Meeting that impressed me was the many amazing posters. Some of my favorite posters this year included George Washington University Law’s Lawlapalooza, Nicole Downing’s Encouraging Librarian Authors with Workshops, Jennifer Dixon and Fordham Law’s Teaching Tech: Law Practice Technology at Fordham Law, and Lynn Hartke’s Capitalizing on Librarian Strengths to Improve Research Skills of Law Journal Students. Each one of these posters provided important relevant information for my job responsibilities and empowered me with many creative ideas. I look forward to enjoying future posters at the Annual Meeting and, perhaps, submitting an idea of my own to share with the law librarian community.

In short, the 2019 AALL Annual Meeting in Washington D.C. was a terrific and meaningful conference for me, and the travel grant from SWALL made it all possible, for which I am very thankful. Opportunities to network with fellow law librarians and scholarly communications experts are few and far between, and I think the AALL Annual Meeting is one of the best venues for personal and institutional growth. I look forward to continue contributing to the organization and to attending the next Annual Meeting!

Texas Adopts UELMA

Governor Abbott signed HB402 on Friday allowing Texas to join the ranks of those states that have adopted the Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act. You can track the progress of UELMA’s passage across the country at this ULC site.

Ed Hart, Assistant Dean for Law Library and Lecturer of Law at UNT Dallas College of Law, submitted the following remarks:

Thanks to the tireless efforts of Barbara Bintliff, on Friday the Texas Senate followed the House and adopted HB 402: Relating to the adoption of the Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act. For three legislative sessions, Barbara recruited legislative sponsors, and she provided testimony about the importance of UELMA at committee hearings. One story she shares from the 2017 legislative session relates how she won over the Secretary of State causing him to drop his opposition mere minutes before their testimony at one committee hearing.

Barbara was assisted by the legislative clinic at UT, and she enjoyed the universal backing of library associations, both law and non-law, who all endorsed the adoption of UELMA.

Femi Cadmus, as President of AALL, sent a letter recognizing the contributions of SWALL, DALL, HALL, and AALL past president Barbara Bintliff towards Texas being the 22nd jurisdiction to adopt UELMA.

Again, we all owe Barbara Bintliff, and everyone else involved, a debt of gratitude for their tireless efforts on our behalf for the last three legislative sessions, which led to the adoption of UELMA in Texas.

Have We Passed the Golden Age of Law Libraries?

A Foreword to Barbara Bintliff’s Call to Action at SWALL 2019 (Little Rock, AR)
Submitted By Cassie DuBay

At SWALL’s 2019 Annual Meeting, Barbara Bintliff, Director of the University of Texas at Austin Tarlton Law Library, delivered a provoking and memorable call to action—by Zoom presentation no less. Undeterred by weather and cancelled flights, Bintliff embodied precisely the energy and inspiration she called for in her presentation. At her start, Bintliff asked us “Have we passed the Golden Age of law libraries?”

Through historical review, Bintliff recalled law libraries’ initial purpose: to enable legal research and its practice. Though, she also reminded us that law libraries have regularly seen ups and downs. In her message, Bintliff explained how law libraries, once the laboratories of legal practice, suddenly became a sideline resource during the evolution of legal education. Law librarian professionals experienced declining status while doctrinal law professors achieved faculty status.

But ever the resilient, Bintliff reminded us that law librarians always persevere. Our predecessors sought formal education in both library science and the law through sheer self-respect and certainty about the importance of our work. Law librarians began offering advanced legal research, technology training, and embraced the call to prepare students to practice.

“Ever the survivors!” Bintliff hailed, librarians are experts, key players, pioneers, and innovators. Authoritative organizations like the ABA now explicitly identify legal research as essential to experiential legal education. So, Bintliff asked, “Is this the Golden Age?” More so, what would a Golden Age look like? Can we put our heads together and capitalize on this energy? Will we join Barbara Bintiff and start a movement towards a Golden Age?

Watch Barbara’s Call to Action Below:

President’s Letter

Happy New Year and greetings from Little Rock again, everyone. I hope you’re all off to a great start in 2019.

I’m very excited to announce more details about this year’s annual meeting—the official conference website has been launched and programming and registration information is available at

The theme for this year’s event is SWALL 2019: Rockin’ Roles for Legal Info Pros. The conference will be held Sunday, April 14 through Tuesday, April 16, 2019 at the Little Rock Marriott (3 Statehouse Plaza), located on the banks of the Arkansas River, directly next to the Old Statehouse Museum and Statehouse Convention Center and part of the lively River Market district.

Some of this year’s programming highlights are the Keynote Luncheon with the Honorable Bernice Donald, 6th Circuit Federal Judge, the Opening Night Reception at the newly-opened UA Little Rock Downtown Center (sponsored by Thomson Reuters), and the Clinton Presidential Center breakfast program and Clinton Library Tours planned for the final day of the meeting, located just down the road from the conference hotel. A detailed programming agenda will be posted on the meeting website in the coming days.

The UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law Library is the formal host of this meeting, with our pre-conference workshop activities to take place here on April 13, located within a mile or so of the rest of our events. Rest assured that our entire Local Arrangements Team, which I’ve been proud to co-chair along with my Bowen colleagues Jessie Burchfield and Melissa Serfass, are busy making finishing touches to our planned activities and are genuinely excited to have a chance to host and show you all just how great Bowen and Little Rock really are.

Please, whether now or in the future, do not hesitate to reach out to me directly or pose a question or concern to the entire group via the chapter email list, or you can interact with SWALL on LinkedIn No matter the format, we seek to be transparent, open to member input, and willing to engage with our valued members! Hope to see you all in Arkansas for the annual meeting in a few weeks.


Jeff B. Woodmansee, SWALL President 2018-19