Strategic Planning meeting is going to be at the Henderson
House in Weston, MA on May 31, 2001. Ruth Fraley has agreed
to facilitate. Ruth Fraley, formerly a court administrator
for New York and a member of the American Association of
Law Libraries Executive Board, is a consultant who has facilitated
numerous meetings in court systems and in libraries. Contracts
for the place and consultant have been reviewed by the Legal
Department and are being sent to the vendors for signature.
draft set of goals, objectives and activities will be ready
by the end of March. We are waiting to attend the Conference
on Unrepresented Litigants (March 15 and 16) before writing
goals for this aspect of law library service. A draft list
for invitations to the Strategic Planning meeting is completed.
After the Head Law Librarians meeting on 3/21/01, a draft
invitation list and letter will be forwarded to Mary Jane
Moreau for refinement. Target date for invitations to be
sent is mid-April. It is hoped that invitations could be
prepared by us for the CJAM's signature. It is possible
that there will need to be several versions of the invitation
depending on the relationship with the TCLLs.
invitation to write an article for the April edition of AALL
Spectrum on the planning process was accepted. The article
was forwarded on February 23. Staff attending the "town meetings"
suggested the names of participants who should be invited
to attend the May 31st meeting. The hope is to
have continuing involvement of the TCLLs various user groups.
The TCLLs will have a table at the Conference on Unrepresented
Self-Litigants to publicize their services and reiterate the
fact that the TCLLs serve the public.
Reinventing Justice Mini-Grant supported a strategic planning
day for the Trial Court Law Libraries. Prior to this May
31st gathering, eight town meetings were held
to gather information on what people thought the 17 Trial
Court Law Libraries should be focusing on in the next few
years. Twenty-nine people who attended these town meetings
and represented users of library services, court departments
and library staff came to the planning day at the Henderson
House in Weston. Prior to attending, each participant received
a copy of the draft plan crafted by the law library staff
from the input provided at the town meetings. The objective
for the strategic planning day was to review, clarify and
refine the draft planning document. The agenda included
an overview of the law library issues to provide people
of various backgrounds with some common understanding of
current issues facing the Trial Court Law Libraries, followed
by discussions in smaller groups. After the smaller groups
met, feedback from the small groups was provided to all
participants. The participants gave critical input to the
final plan, by prioritizing the recommended goals (staffing
was first) and adding two objectives - develop a technology
plan and a facilities assessment. Using input from May 31st,
a final plan will be available mid-September.
Until now, the various library user groups, who sometimes
have different opinions on what library services should
be provided , had never had the opportunity to speak with
each other. Also, many of the court departments had not
been given the opportunity to express how they saw law library
services developing over the next few years. This planning
process gave people who were interested an opportunity to
have input on what the law libraries should be doing. They
also had to grapple with the diversity of library users
demands as well as the issues facing libraries in this time
of increasing use of electronic information. So, although
there was no formal collaboration with a specific group,
in small and intimate ways, there was a significant exchange
of information and opinions between and among participants.
Supreme Judicial Court's Public Information Office was extremely
supportive as Bruce Brock, editor of the Court Compass, came
to the May 31st planning day. He wrote the cover
story for the Summer 2001 issue of Court Compass on the planning process. This is the first time that the law
libraries have been mentioned in Court Compass and Bruce Brock
did an excellent job of pulling together the pieces of the
planning process and presenting them with some humanity, rather
than just events that happened over the course of almost a
definition of a strategic implementor is
someone who has the ability to support and help an
organization achieve its goals. It is hoped that everyone
who attended May 31st has become a collaborator in helping
the law libraries achieve their goals
of the town meetings were covered by the print media and
incorporated the message that the law libraries wanted to
hear from people about their legal reference needs and are
available to assist people with their legal reference concerns.
Bruce Brock summed up the public's perception in his article:
"Despite the questions ahead, the planning project already
has accomplished one of its key goals. It has demonstrated
to library users that the Trial Court Law Libraries care
deeply about serving their patrons as capably as possible."
Susan O'Leary, a sole practitioner in Dedham, enthusiastically
participated in both the town meeting at the Norfolk Law
Library in December, and as a strategic implementor in May.
"At the law library they asked, if we had a wish list, what
would that be? Now today (at the May conference) we've had
the chance to discuss what we need to get there. This has
been a tremendous opportunity."
A number of things would have been done differently if given
the opportunity. More invitations to events should be sent
to ensure full participation on the day of a meeting. People
in the legal community sometimes have to cancel at the last
minute, due to unforeseen commitments taking precedence
such as a jury trial not ending as expected. We sent ten
invitations for every person who attended a town meeting.
In the future, a fifteen to one ratio would be better. For
the planning day, we sent only to the people whom we had
hoped would come. When a person declined, another invitation
was sent to an alternate. Next time, two invitations should
be sent for each participant expected to attend. If you
plan for 30 to attend, move forward with 35 confirmed people,
so that in the end, at least 30 are present. Facilities
usually make food for more than anticipated, so if everyone
shows up, they usually can be accommodated. In facilitating
the small groups, the instructions had been to have the
staff add information as needed but not to take the leading
role. Some of the groups were not as productive as they
could have been without a facilitator. In the future, a
facilitator should be appointed for each group. The facilitator
would not necessarily have to be familiar with the topic,
just have the skills to run a group. Having said this, even
though the groups were not as productive as might have been,
it was rewarding to see non- library staff take the role
of leadership in helping craft solutions for library issues.
If library staff had taken leadership roles, the participants
might not have come forward.