June 07, 1999
President William Jefferson Clinton
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
BY FAX: 202.456.2883
Dear Mr. President:
On behalf of the American Association of Law Libraries, I write to you today regarding the appointment of a new Director for the Institute of Museum and Libraries Services (IMLS). This is a very important position for the library community. The current vacancy brought about by the March resignation of Ms. Diane Frankel allows you the opportunity to appoint a professional member of the library community who has the requisite background and knowledge of librarianship, combined with effective leadership skills, to be the new Director.
The American Association of Law Libraries was founded in 1906 to promote and enhance the value of law libraries to the legal and public communities, to foster the profession of law librarianship, and to provide leadership in the field of legal information. Today, with 4,800 members, the Association represents law librarians and related professionals who are affiliated with a wide range of institutions: law firms; law schools; corporate legal departments; courts; and local, state and federal government agencies.
Ms. Diane Frankel, appointed by you in 1996 to become the first Director of the Institute of Museum and Libraries Services, served the newly-established agency with creativity and commitment, and successfully brought the two constituencies--libraries and museums--into a very harmonious new relationship with one another. A prominent member within the museum profession, Ms. Frankel achieved a high degree of professionalism and effectiveness, becoming as familiar and comfortable with the library community as she had always been with her museum colleagues, and earning the respect of all.
The Museum and Library Services Act wisely set up a four-year rotation of leadership to balance the museum and the library communities, and with the resignation of Ms. Frankel, the law now designates the appointment of a new Director for a four-year term "from among individuals who have special competence with regard to library and information services." The legislation clearly indicates that the next Director of the IMLS shall come from the library community, and we urge you, Mr. President, to support such an appointment.
The American Association of Law Libraries believes that the individual whom you nominate to replace Ms. Frankel be a highly qualified library professional, distinguished in our field for their abilities and experiences in library management and leadership. Given the legislative mandate for an appointment from within the library community, we would oppose any candidate who lacks these qualifications.
We understand that other associations within the library community have endorsed qualified candidates from the library community who have acknowledged interest in the position of Director of the IMLS. AALL would be pleased to work with your staff to ensure that the eventual nominee for Director of the IMLS fulfills the qualifications that the drafters of the authorizing legislation envisioned.
Thank you very much for your consideration in this matter, and please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or if you need any further information.
Robert L. Oakley
American Association of Law Libraries
Washington Affairs Representative