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

SWALL Annual Report 2017-2018

The Southwestern Association of Law Libraries (SWALL) Executive Board for 2017-18 was Joan Stringfellow, President; Jeff B. Woodmansee, Vice President/President Elect; Carla Cates, Treasurer; Cassie DuBay, Secretary and Mike Martinez, Jr.,  Immediate Past President. 

The 2018 SWALL Annual Meeting was held in Houston, Texas from April 5-7, 2018.  There were 71 attendees. At the Business Meeting, the new Executive Board for 2018-2019 was announced: Jeff B. Woodmansee, President; Stacy Fowler, Vice-President/President Elect; Jamie Baker, Treasurer; Cassie Dubay, Secretary, and Joan Stringfellow, Immediate Past President. 

An Executive Board Meeting was also held in Houston, in which leadership made plans for the 2018-19 year, including a commitment to holding monthly Executive Board meetings via video conference, having each Board member serve as a liaison to two chapter committees to foster better communication, and undertaking a large update to chapter by-laws including efforts to better mirror current AALL policies and modernize member voting and collection of dues.

For the 2018 SWALL Annual Meeting in Houston, we awarded the Kate Mara Award, the Marian Boner Grant Award, and the Coco-Miller Grant Awardto three recipients: Amy Wall, Alyson Drake, and Katherine Hoffman, respectively.  These named grants were in the amount of $500 each, for a total of $1500 in grants awards.  As the next Annual Meeting will be held outside of Texas, we are proposing an increased amount for the three awards to help offset travel and other expenses for members that may not be able to attend otherwise to increase member participation in the 2019 Annual Meeting in Little Rock.  For the 2018 AALL Annual Meeting, AALL awarded a chapter free registration grant so we did not award an additional AALL grant.

SWALL’s total membership for the 2017-18 year was 170 members, an increase of 11 from the previous year.

SWALL held an electronic vote March 6 through March 20, 2018 for the election of the next executive board.

The new SWALL Bulletin was revamped and relaunched using WordPress software. The new web address is:

The 2019 Annual Meeting will be held in Little Rock, Arkansas from April 14-16. The theme for the meeting is Rockin’ Roles for Legal Info Pros. SWALL will solicit proposals for the 2020 Texas meeting location soon. 

Notice of Proposed Amendments to SWALL Bylaws

New Year, New Bylaws… Notice of Proposed Amendments to SWALL Bylaws

2018-2019 Constitution and Bylaws Committee (Jennifer Laws and Cassie DuBay), together with the SWALL Executive Board

Building on the work of the 2017-2018 Constitution and Bylaws Committee, the current Committee has finalized proposed amendments to SWALL’s Bylaws. The Executive Board will submit the proposed amendments for a membership vote in March 2019 to take effect at the close of the 2019 SWALL Annual Meeting. In accordance with Article 9 of the current SWALL Bylaws, the Board provides this notice of the proposed amendments and voting. 

You may review the proposed amendments and other relevant materials in an online folder here. The folder contains the proposed amended bylaws with track changes, a summary table, a summary report, and a summary of information about quorum requirements from other chapter presidents. Please review the summary table and summary report for an overview of the proposed changes.

After review of the proposed amendments, the Board submitted two questions to the Committee. The Committee would like to summarize those questions and its responses for the membership.

Quorum Amendments (Article 4.5)

The proposed amendment revises the quorum requirement to 15 members registered at a meeting. The Board asked whether this number is too low. The Committee responded that such a quorum, as a percentage of SWALL members, is significantly higher than the percentage required by AALL (50 members registered at a meeting, approximately 1.5% of AALL members). As of January 15, 2019, SWALL’s current membership includes 102 voting-eligible members. Using this year as a reference, quorum would be satisfied with approximately 15% of its members present for a vote. President Jeff Woodmansee solicited information on quorum requirements from other chapter presidents. 15 members is in line with the responses received. Please see Chapter Presidents’ Responses re Quorum here for more details about other chapters’ requirements.

Dues Amendments (Article 3.2)

The current Board discussed the process for raising SWALL dues in the future, the current process for setting membership dues amounts, and what the process would look like with the proposed amended bylaws. Currently, an affirmative 2/3 vote of the membership is required to amend the dues in any way. 

Under the proposed amendments, the SWALL membership could raise dues by any amount with a majority vote at a business meeting or via written or electronic vote. If the dues increase proposal were to come from the Board, 30 days notice to the membership would be required. In addition, the proposed amendments would allow the Board to make small dues increases without a membership vote, not to exceed the Gross Domestic Product Deflator of the US Bureau of Economic Analysis. Currently, such an increase would be approximately $0.49. The proposed amendments also impose an obligation on the Board to publish dues information on the SWALL website in a timely manner.

To vote on the proposed bylaws amendments, you must be a member in good standing and have paid your dues for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. If you have not yet paid your dues, you may review membership and payment information here.

SWALL Grant to AALL Annual Meeting 2018 Recipient Narrative

By Shivani Naicker, J.D., MLS Candidate May 2019

Attending the American Association of Law Librarians 2018 Annual Meeting and Conference in Baltimore due to the generosity of SWALL was an incredibly eye-opening experience. Between seeing the hilarious and irreverent John Waters speak on the importance of law librarians to learning about the future of Artificial Intelligence within the library; I left not only entertained but also incredibly informed. I had the opportunity to attend the government documents meeting and watched as the former executive board handed over their positions (and gavel) over to the new executive board. This was particularly interesting because I was taking a government documents course over the summer and speaking to people who actually worked at the Government Printing Office whose documents I relied on for my work was a little surreal. I also attended the Black Caucus dinner where I met library professionals who are doing incredible work throughout the country. I even had the chance to talk to my former law librarian and tell her how much the library meant to me when I was in law school. Additionally, it was fascinating to talk to the vendors and learn about the newest technology available for students and librarians. Knowing that platforms are changing so quickly is a little disconcerting but learning about the changes before they are implemented is helpful. I was given the best advice by my conference mentor Alyson Drake who told me not to try to do too much and allow myself time to process the information. This was incredibly sound advice because attending the conference is truly a marathon of sorts.

John Waters delivering keynote address at AALL Annual Meeting 2018.

One of most important things that I learned throughout the conference was that law librarians are exceedingly kind and always willing to help others even if it is a new and somewhat overwhelmed graduate student navigating their way through the conference. The scope for law librarians is wide and varied; during the social events, I had the ability to speak with law librarians of every facet, including firm librarians, county law librarians, academic librarians and even a librarian for a Native American tribe. At the DALL/HALL/SWALL/ UNT reception, I had the pleasure of meeting so many wonderful and local librarians who I am hopeful will become mentors and friends. Going to the infamous Fastcase suite was a little overwhelming but a lot of fun. Seeing librarians let loose and have hilarious yet educational conversations was something that I had not experienced firsthand. Experiencing a tour of the Peabody library was truly intriguing. It is such a beautiful library steeped in history. Finally, it goes without saying but Baltimore was a beautiful and gracious city for hosting us for the week. 

Before the conference, thanks to Dr. Yvonne Chandler, I managed to visit the Library of Congress, the executive office libraries and the Supreme Court law library. As a lawyer and future librarian, these places are all incredibly meaningful. To walk the hallowed halls where presidents and Supreme Court justices have been was an experience I will carry with me forever.I am thankful for the opportunity to attend the conference because not only did I learn about trends in the field, I was afforded the opportunity to meet my future cohorts and establish relationships that I know I will continue to further into the future. Thank you to the SWALL committee for choosing me and allowing the opportunity to attend the conference. I look forward to seeing you all in Arkansas

2019 SWALL Annual Meeting Coming Up Soon!

The SWALL 2019 Annual Meeting will take place from April 14-16, 2019 at the University of Arkansas Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. Early bird registration will end on February 20.

For more information about the conference, visit The planning committee is still working on the final agenda, but you can visit this page to view the most updated agenda information.

SWALL Committee Announcements & Member News

SWALL Nominations Committee

The SWALL Nominations Committee is seeking suggestions for candidates for the positions of Vice President/President-Elect and Secretary of the 2019-20 Executive Board. The principle duties of these offices are set out in the SWALL Bylaws, section 6.2 and further defined in the SWALL Procedures Manual, section V. Suggestions must be received by January 25, 2019.

Please email suggestions/nominations to either Michelle Rigual ( or Marin Dell (

SWALL Life Membership Committee

The SWALL Life Membership Committee is seeking nominees. Life members have voting privileges but are not assessed annual dues. To become a life member, an individual must have been a SWALL member for at least five years, be retired from active library work, and be elected by the membership. For more information, see Bylaws, sections 2.2 and 2.3.

Please email suggestions/nominations to either Michelle Rigual ( or Marin Dell (

SWALL Grants Committee

The Grants Committee is pleased to announce that our Executive Board has approved three travel grants to attend the SWALL 2019 Annual Meeting, which will be held April 14-16, 2019 in Little Rock, Arkansas.  These grants may be used for registration, accommodations, food, and travel – with requisite receipts.

The Kate Mara Grant Award ($650) is a travel grant, which was established in 1986. This grant honors Kate Mara who was a book jobber in Dallas, Texas. She was the wife of John Mara, a founding member of SWALL. She helped organize the first SWALL meeting, which took place in 1958 in Dallas, Texas. The Kate Mara Grant Award is awarded to a person attending his or her first SWALL meeting. Applicants for this award do not have to be current members of SWALL.

Marian Boner ($650) was a former president of SWALL (1969-1970), the first director of the Texas State Law Library, and the author of A Reference Guide to Texas Law and Legal History. The Marian Boner Grant Award, established in 1990, is awarded to a current SWALL member to attend the current SWALL meeting. This recipient must be an active officer, an active Committee member, or one who is working on a current SWALL project. The SWALL Grant Committee members are not eligible.

The Coco-Miller Grant Award ($650), first established in 1998, is a general travel grant to be awarded to members of SWALL attending the annual SWALL meeting. Al Coco was the director of the Law Library at the University of Denver; Oscar Miller was the director of the law library at the University of Colorado. They served as past presidents of SWALL and were awarded honorary life memberships for their distinguished service to SWALL.

More information on these grants and the grant applications process will be posted in early February on the SWALL Grants page.  Please stay tuned for more information.  We would love applicants to be able to join your colleagues as we all learn about Rockin’ Roles for Legal Info Prosat the SWALL 2019 Annual Meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas.

2018/2019 SWALL Grants Committee:

David Gay, Arizona State University Ross-Blakley Law Library
Wendy Law, Texas A&M University School of Law Dee J. Kelly Law Library

SWALL Membership Committee

Greetings SWALL members,

For those of you who have renewed your memberships, many thanks! For those of you who haven’t yet sent in your renewals, there’s still time! Membership is only $15 per person and entitles you to the following great benefits:

  • Ability to view and post to the SWALL listserv
  • Registration at the members-only rate to attend the 2019 SWALL Annual Meeting
  • Publication of your name and institutional contact information in the SWALL Directory, which will be available on the SWALL website (if you do not want your information published, you may opt out)
  • Eligibility for SWALL grants
  • Opportunities to get great professional experience serving on SWALL committees and publishing in the SWALL Newsletter
  • The ability to network with your law librarian friends and colleagues in the SWALL area!

Information about membership categories is available on the SWALL website. To join or renew, just fill out the attached form and send it along with your dues payment to the SWALL treasurer, Jamie Baker, at the address listed on the form. The form is also available on the website. If you have any questions about membership, just contact me at

We look forward to welcoming you (back) to SWALL!

Cynthia Burress
Chair, SWALL Membership Committee

SWALL Member News

Sherri Thomas, the University of New Mexico Law Library’s Assistant Director and Collections and Systems Coordinator, has recently been appointed to the position of Associate Dean for Institutional Climate & Equity for the UNM School of Law.

Christopher C. Dykes and Daniel G. Donahue recently published Environmental Law: A Legal Research Guide, a research guide for librarians, practitioners, professors, and anyone whose research interests involve environmental law.

Monica Ortale, Associate Director of Public Services at South Texas College of Law Houston is the editor of a new journal, the Hispanic Journal of Law and Policy. The journal will be published annually online, and direct submissions can be sent to

Additional Announcements

New Award from AALL: AALL Excellence in Community Engagement

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Excellence in Community Engagement Jury is excited to announce a brand-new addition to the existing AALL awards: the Excellence in Community Engagement (ECE) Award!  Approved by the AALL Executive Board in Spring 2018, the ECE Award is designed to recognize and honor activities or projects that exemplify outstanding outreach efforts through community engagement and that raise the visibility of the profession and the Association.  AALL members, Special Interest Sections, chapters, member libraries, and other groups affiliated with AALL are eligible. This award will honor persons or groups who have demonstrated excellence in community engagement, collaboration, visibility, networking, and/or member-to-member relationships. More details about the award criteria can be found here.

The Excellence in Community Engagement Jury is now accepting nominations. Eligible projects for the inaugural ECE Award must have taken place between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018.  The online nomination form is available here.  The deadline for nominations is February 1, 2019.

The members of the ECE Jury look forward to receiving your nominations for the first winner of this new award!

Teaching the Teachers Conference

This course will provide a foundation in instructional philosophy, techniques, and assessment for law librarians by law librarians. Unlike other similar courses provided by other organizations, this program will be a peer-to-peer, hands-on learning environment where we will be able to leverage our collective similar experiences to enhance the work that we do.

Topics include:

  • Instructional design and planning, including instructional design and cognitive theory, developing learning outcomes and creating rigorous assessments;
  • Presentation and delivery, including employing a variety of teaching methods, including presentation styles, delivery, and visual aids, and utilizing current and developing technologies in the delivery of information; and
  • Assessment and metrics, including developing formative and summative assessments, revising instruction based on feedback, and using technology to analyze assessment data.

Registration limited to 40 participants. Registration will begin on January 22, 2019 at 1pm Eastern time. The event takes place May 30-31, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. Visit for more information.

Institutional for Law Teaching & Learning Summer Conference

The Institute for Law Teaching and Learning is proud to host a conference addressing the many ways that law professors and administrators are reaching today’s law students. With the ever-changing and heterogeneous nature of law students, this topic has taken on increased urgency for professors thinking about effective teaching strategies.

The conference theme is intentionally broad and is designed to encompass a wide variety of topics – neuroscientific approaches to effective teaching, generational research about current law students, effective use of technology in the classroom, teaching first-generation college students, classroom behavior in the current political climate, academic approaches to less prepared students, fostering qualities such as growth mindset, resilience, and emotional intelligence in students, or techniques for providing effective formative feedback to students.

In addition to presentations by law professors from around the world—a Call for Proposals will be coming soon!—the Institute will provide several plenary sessions throughout the conference to further address relevant topics.

This year the Summer Conference theme is “Teaching Today’s Law Students.” The event will take place at the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas from June 3-5, 2019. Visit for more information.