AALL Rebranding Initiative

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) is currently investigating rebranding the name of the Association.

AALL's comprehensive, Association-wide rebranding initiative is steadily moving forward. At its November 7 meeting, the AALL Executive Board voted unanimously to recommend to the membership a new name, "Association for Legal Information." This is our opportunity to redefine and reinvigorate the value of the law librarians and legal information professionals and to shape the brand to align with and support our strategic goals.

From the FAQs:

Why the name Association for Legal Information?

An Association is an organization of people who work for a common purpose (legal information).

With the object or purpose of legal information.

Legal Information
Knowledge concerning a particular subject.

Why is AALL undertaking a branding project?

AALL, its members, and the legal profession have undergone significant changes in recent years. Rapid advances in technology, the proliferation of information, and the compression of the legal profession have transformed what it means to be a law librarian. As physical law libraries shift to virtual information hubs, new skills and expertise are required. 

Today, 51 percent of AALL members do not have “librarian” in their titles, and 57 percent work in an organization that does not have “library” in the name. AALL has a tremendous opportunity to be at the forefront of this change. 

This project allows us to clarify who we are and what we do, and to tell the story about our work and profession in a way that makes it clear and compelling. 

My first question: why is AALL spending up to $185,000 on this? We should stop worrying about how others perceive us and let our actions speak for us. We should use this money, instead, to explore comprehensive consortiums that take into account the fact that most law libraries are starting to license the majority of information publishers. We need a plan in place to deal with the inevitable roadblocks that we will face, etc....

Even if we do rebrand, why ALI? Who are we trying to kid, here? "Librarian," in today's world, can mean legal information professional. We don't have to be originalists. The meaning of our name can evolve. AALL has such a strong, rich identity. It was founded in 1906. When I talk about "AALL" with my law school colleagues, they know what I mean. I don't feel good about saying that I am a member of ALI (even if pronounced "ally"). I already feel like I spend a lot of time defending what I do, and I don't feel like explaining this new ALI affiliation - as in, "no, I am not a member of the American Law Institute."

Ultimately, I chose this profession because I want to be a law librarian - one who is cutting edge and deals in the legal information profession.

The AALL member discussion board on topic seems to reiterate our unease with this change. And, in some ways, this plays into the stereotype of librarians as old curmudgeons who are adverse to change. Well, in this case, it may just be true - although the consensus seems to be that we are not opposed to a change, rather, just this particular change.

What if the members do not vote for the name change?

The rebranding project will proceed to phase two, creative development, using the name American Association of Law Libraries. A new visual identity and comprehensive messaging will continue to be developed and implemented.

Phase two of the project should have been phase one. Now let's move forward.

For a great post on why the name should change, see Dewey B. Strategic.


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