FCIL-SIS Book Discussion Group to Meet Again During Washington, D.C. Conference

nofriendbutthemountainsOver the past several years, the FCIL-SIS Book Discussion Group, started by Dan Wade in in 2014, has become a popular informal addition to the AALL Annual Meeting’s FCIL conference programming.  Each year, we select a book to read in advance of the conference and meet during the conference to enjoy a book discussion, lunch or snacks, and each other’s company.

This year, the group will meet on Monday, July 15, at 12:15, during the Attendee Lunch in the Exhibit Hall.  We will meet in the Registration Area, find a table, and take advantage of the complimentary lunch.

This year’s book selection is No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison, by Behrouz Boochani.  Mr. Boochani is an Iranian-Kurdish journalist, human rights defender, poet and film producer. He was born in western Iran and has been held in the Australian-run Manus Island detention center since 2013.  The following book description appears on the Pan Macmillan Australia website:



Where have I come from? From the land of rivers, the land of waterfalls, the land of ancient chants, the land of mountains…

In 2013, Kurdish journalist Behrouz Boochani was illegally detained on Manus Island. He has been there ever since.

People would run to the mountains to escape the warplanes and found asylum within their chestnut forests…

This book is the result. Laboriously tapped out on a mobile phone and translated from the Farsi. It is a voice of witness, an act of survival. A lyric first-hand account. A cry of resistance. A vivid portrait through five years of incarceration and exile.

Do Kurds have any friends other than the mountains? 




“Boochani has produced a literary, journalistic and philosophical tour de force. It may well stand as one of the most important books published in Australia in two decades…” The Saturday Paper

“A chant, a cry from the heart, a lament, fuelled by a fierce urgency, written with the lyricism of a poet, the literary skills of a novelist, and the profound insights of an astute observer of human behaviour and the ruthless politics of a cruel and unjust imprisonment.” Arnold Zable, author of the award-winning Jewels and Ashes and Cafe Scheherazade

a shattering book every Australian should read” Benjamin Law (@mrbenjaminlaw 01/02/2019)

“In the absence of images, turn to this book to fathom what we have done, what we continue to do. It is, put simply, the most extraordinary and important book I have ever read.” Good Reading Magazine(starred review)

“Brilliant writing. Brilliant thinking. Brilliant courage.” Professor Marcia Langton AM (@marcialangton 01/02/2019)

“Not for the faint-hearted, it’s a powerful, devastating insight into a situation that’s so often seen through a political – not personal – lens.” GQ Australia

“It is an unforgettable account of man’s inhumanity to man that reads like something out of Orwell or Kafka, and is aptly described by Tofighian as ‘horrific surrealism’. It is clear from Boochani’s writing that he is a highly educated and philosophical man; he segues effortlessly between prose and poetry, both equally powerful.” –The Australian Financial Review Magazine

“Behrouz Boochani has written a book which is as powerful as it is poetic and moving. He describes his experience of living in a refugee prison with profound insight and intelligence.” Queensland Reviewers Collective

“In his book Boochani introduces us to different dimensions of his experience and thinking. Both a profound creative writing project and a strategic act of resistance, the book is part of a coherent theoretical project and critical approach.” Omid Tofighian, translator of No Friend But the Mountains

It is a voice of witness, an act of survival. A lyric first-hand account. A cry of resistance. A vivid portrait through five years of incarceration and exile.” Readings

Boochani has woven his own experiences in to a tale which is at once beautiful and harrowing, creating a valuable contribution to Australia’s literary canon.” Writing NSW

it is a voice of witness and an act of survival” Law Society of NSW Journal


This year’s book selection promises to foster a rich discussion, and we look forward to welcoming both past book group members and new members interested in joining the discussion.  Again, this is an informal event, and RSVPs are not necessary; however, please feel free to let us know if you are planning to participate, so that we can get a general head count ahead of time.  Any questions or comments can be emailed to Susan Gualtier at sgua@law.upenn.edu.  We look forward to seeing you all in Washington, D.C. for another great book discussion!


By Catherine Deane


The Executive Committee would like your input and help in identifying our esteemed FCIL-SIS colleagues who are deserving of these prestigious awards.

Have you, or an FCIL-SIS member you know, made a significant contribution to the profession in the last year? If so, please nominate yourself or a colleague for one of the three special awards that the FCIL-SIS presents each year during the FCIL-SIS Business Meeting.

The Daniel L. Wade FCIL-SIS Outstanding Service Award

This award honors an FCIL-SIS member who has made outstanding contributions to the Section in the areas of section activity and professional service.

Criteria include but not limited to:

  • Outstanding leadership in the Section, at meetings, and in committee work.
  • Special and notable service to the Section, such as participation in special projects.
  • Participation in Section educational programs and public-speaking activities.
  • Mentoring activities that encourage others in the Section.
  • Activities that encourage others to join the Section.

Past winners include: Dan Wade; Marci Hoffman; Mary Rumsey; Maria Smolka-Day; Teresa Miguel-Stearns; Mila Rush; Ellen Schaffer; Marylin Raisch; Dennis Sears; Mirela Roznovschi; Lyonette Louis-Jacques; Alison Shea; Jonathan Pratter; James Hart; Sergio Stone; and Victor Essien.

The Thomas H. Reynolds and Arturo A. Flores FCIL-SIS Publications Award

This award is given to an FCIL-SIS member or members who have greatly contributed to the professional development of their AALL colleagues, by enhancing the professional knowledge and capabilities of law librarians during any given year. The winning “publications” may be print, digital, or electronic initiatives.

Previous winners include Teresa Miguel-Stearns and Alison Shea; Marci Hoffman and Mary Rumsey; Wei Luo; Ralph Gaebler and Alison Shea; Mirela Roznovschi; Timothy G. Kearley; the authors of the Mexican Law and Legal Research Guide: Bianca T. Anderson, Marisol Floren-Romero, Julienne E. Grant, Jootaek Lee, Lyonette Louis-Jacques, Teresa M. Miguel-Stearns, Jonathan Pratter, and Sergio Stone; Sherry Leysen and Alena Wolotira; Heidi Frostestad Kuehl and Megan A. O’Brien. You can see the publications for which they won this award on the Reynolds & Flores Publication Award website.

The Spirit of the FCIL-SIS Award

This award, my personal favorite, is presented each year to members whose work furthers our mission, serves the entire FCIL-SIS, and inspires others to act. Award winners for the past 5 years include: Loren Turner; Yemisi Dina; Thomas Mills; Sherry Leysen; Evelyn Ma; Alyson Drake; Susan Gualtier; Jootaek “Juice” Lee; Joan Policastri; Julienne Grant; Ryan Harrington; Jim Hart; and Carmen Valero.

All past award winners are listed on the Spirit Of The FCIL-SIS Award website.

More details for each award can be found the FCIL-SIS Awards and Grants Website.

Award nominations are due March 31.

You may send your nomination to anyone on the Executive Committee, Catherine Deane, Loren Turner, Sabrina Sondhi, Alex Zhang.

2019 AALL Program Proposals due Oct. 1


There is only one week left to submit your program proposals for the 2019 AALL Conference in Washington, D.C. (see here for the call for proposals, which includes resources for creating a proposal and the AMPC’s timeline).   If you are interested in proposing a FCIL-related program for the conference or in joining someone else’s program as a consultant or speaker, please contact Dennis Sears and Loren Turner. They will help you develop your ideas, recruit speakers, and edit your proposals before submission.  There is no time to waste!

Last Week to Up-Vote FCIL-Related Programs in IdeaScale

This is your last week to up-vote programs in IdeaScale! If you’d like to see FCIL-related ideas make the must-have list for AALL 2019 in Washington, DC, please get your votes in before August 17th.

In addition to the programs we’ve already highlighted, there is a new batch of FCIL-SIS related programs you can can up-vote this week:

Idea 343:  AI in the United States and China

Artificial Intelligence (AI) programs are now a part of every AALL conference. But this program will take a more global view by including China, a global leader in AI. This session will include a panel of speakers from the United States and China discussing the state of AI in the legal arena in their respective countries.

Idea 342:  Use of Big Data in the United States and China

Big Data is hot. But how can we use it effectively in our workplace? This session will include a panel of speakers from the United States and China discussing how they are using big data to increase faculty scholarship impact, encourage global collaboration, increase their university’s reputation, and how you can do the same at your own institution.

Idea 325:  FCIL Reference Toolkit

Many of the standard reference tools use for FCIL reference questions have become outdated. What is the FCIL reference toolkit for the modern reference librarian? This program would gather FCIL specialists who would discuss and demonstrate the best FCIL reference sources. The audience for this program would be reference librarians of all types.

Idea 320:  The International Aspects of Tax Reform

The world’s most profitable companies derive most of their income from intellectual property and other intangible assets, which can easily be transferred to foreign subsidiaries in low-tax jurisdictions. International tax rules, premised on outdated concepts like “physical presence” and “permanent establishment,” are increasingly unable to cope with the disruption caused by the rise of digital corporate titans.

This program will provide an overview of legislative reforms designed to prevent profit-shifting and tax base erosion and ensure that digital firms pay their fair share. They include the GILTI, FDII, and BEAT provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and the EU’s proposal for a Digital Services Tax. The program will equip librarians with the background knowledge and specialized vocabulary needed to effectively assist students, faculty, and practitioners in researching this rapidly evolving field of law. It also will familiarize librarians with the best research platforms and current awareness tools to keep abreast of the latest developments.

The substantive law component of the program will be provided by tax faculty who are able to succinctly explain complex concepts in a manner that is accessible to non-experts. The research component will be presented by law firm librarians who support the work of international tax practitioners.

Idea 317:  Creating Semester Abroad Programs for the FCIL Librarian

It is possible that collaborative programs exist between U.S. Librarians and Librarians in Other Countries. Semester abroad programs (or shorter versions) would aim to provide FCIL librarians with immersion in the laws, language, history, and culture of a jurisdiction they are interested in. This program would explore how these programs can be established, or if some already exist, what have been the benefits, challenges, etc. and how do we improve them.

Idea 313: Aligning the Library with Your Law School’s LLM Program

LLM programs have seen tremendous growth with some schools hosting several hundred LLM students each year. This can present challenges and opportunities for academic law libraries. This program will explore how to make lemonade by discussing strategies for connecting with your LLM program, supporting these students, overcoming language & cultural challenges, and offering real world examples of successful and less successful library programs for LLM students.

Idea 312:  Litigating Human Rights Abuses in U.S. and Foreign Legal Systems

Slavery in U.S. commercial fishing, child marriage, widows not allowed to inherit property, human trafficking, etc. How do lawyers pursue litigation in the fight for human rights in the United States and abroad? What statutes and international law apply? What research skills and tools do librarians need to support these efforts and market our services to them? I’m hoping to have one law firm attorney and one clinic professor who practice in these areas offer their insight and strategies when fighting for human rights in the United States and in Africa.

Idea 302:  Land, Water and Education

The program will review current international human rights principles which can be applied the contemporary land and water issues in the developing world. Also dealt with are human right to education as a solution to the third world land, water and development issues. Ultimately suggested are the research strategies and recommendations for researching human rights to water, land and education.


Get voting!

Don’t Forget to Vote on FCIL-Related AMPC Program Ideas in IdeaScale!

Do you always wish there was more FCIL-specific content at the Annual Conference?  If so, it’s time to do your part!

capitolThere are only eleven days left to vote on all the great ideas currently in Ideascale or to submit your own FCIL-related ideas for AALL 2019 in Washington, DC.  Remember, ideas with higher number of votes in Ideascale have a greater chance of being selected as a must-have by AMPC subcommittees.  There are 11 FCIL-related programs sitting in IdeaScale waiting for your votes.

Week 1 Ideas:

Week 2 Ideas:

Happy Voting!



FCIL Programs in Idea-Scale, Week Two

worldEach Monday, DipLawMatic Dialogues will bring you the list of FCIL-related programs currently in Idea-Scale to encourage you to “up-vote” these programs. For more on why up-voting is important, see here.  We also encourage you to submit your own program ideas to Idea-Scale (you can do it anonymously). You can see last Monday’s programs here.

Idea #249: What is Europe?

As national membership in the European Union changes, how does this effect our understanding of Europe from a legal perspective?  Find out more about the history of European laws, the current legal systems governing Europe, and potential future legal developments that may arise as a changing concept of Europe ties different nations closer together.

Idea #250: FCIL Research on a Budget

In a time of tightening budgets, money for foreign and international collections is often cut heavily or entirely. How do we continue to provide access to these materials or answer questions on these topics?  Explore freely accessible foreign and international materials, with practical ideas about where to start your research when you don’t have access to specialist subscriptions services.

Idea #251: Working with Non-English Materials for the English Speaker

So many legal materials are in languages other than English worldwide, that is it inevitable that most of us will need to find or access one of these documents at some point. FCIL librarians often work with materials in language in which they are not fluent, and can provide useful ideas and insight for the non-FCIL specialists faced with this type of research. A panel of FCIL librarians will provide practical guidance about how to find English translations of non-English laws, tips and tricks for how to gather enough understanding about a non-English document to identify whether it is relevant to your research questions, and where to find help if you’re stuck.

Idea #253: Strategic Partnerships to Create Experiential Research Classes

Developing specialized experiential research courses is a great way to help your law school meet its experiential credits requirement. To create a successful simulation in a topical area (IP law, international law, etc.), you must know the types of research most likely to be performed by your graduates. Academic librarians should have an ongoing conversation with firm and government libraries to know what kinds of research issues new attorneys are grappling with in specialized practice areas. This panel would help foster these connections, with a group of firm and government librarians discussing the types of research problems they see attorneys dealing with.

Idea #255:  What is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)?

What is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and what do law firm librarians need to know in terms of collection development and research resources and need to do when dealing with vendors and internally regarding the firms information resources?

Idea #265: The Caribbean Court of Justice: Its Struggle for Full Acceptance

The Caribbean Court of Justice was established in 2001, with two jurisdictions: an original jurisdiction and an appellate jurisdiction. However, not all Caribbean States have accepted this institution as their court of last resort and have instead continued to look to the United Kingdom’s Privy Council. This program would look at the history of the court and explore the reasons for the limited acceptance of the court (including the perception of the court as a “hanging court”) and how this lack of acceptance hinders the development of Caribbean jurisprudence.




FCIL-Related Programs in 2019 Annual Meeting Idea-Scale So Far

worldEach Monday, DipLawMatic Dialogues will bring you the list of FCIL-related programs currently in Idea-Scale to encourage you to “up-vote” these programs. For more on why up-voting is important, see here.  We also encourage you to submit your own program ideas to Idea-Scale (you can do it anonymously).

Idea #215: Cultural Competency Training in FCIL Research Courses & Beyond (Teaching & Training area)

According to the ABA, cultural competency is one of the “professional skills” that law students in all experiential learning courses should develop as a member of the legal profession (see ABA Standard 302(d) and ABA Interpretation 302-1). All legal research instructors that teach an “experiential learning” course should, therefore, consider incorporating a module on cultural competency into their curriculum. “Cultural competency” is a broad, umbrella term that represents an awareness of the stereotypes and biases that each of us carries into our interactions with others. Developing cultural competency skills promotes effective communication between people of different nationalities, languages, races, and genders. These skills will help our law students effectively advocate for a diverse set of clients.

FCIL research courses/trainings are a great way to help teach cultural competency to students. Students learn about other legal systems and values and engage in exercises that make them consider their own biases; program could give examples of exercises/assignments that students can engage in to grapple with these issues. A program on cultural competency could also expand to working with patrons/clients/attorneys from different backgrounds and training our employees on how to work with those from different backgrounds.

Idea #224: The Ins and Outs of Niche Law Librarianship (Professionalism & Leadership content area)

What should you do to create a niche for yourself in your law library? What if you develop that niche and ultimately land a niche-title to prove it (FCIL, electronic resources, cataloging, etc)? Are you forever pigeon-holed in that niche? Is there a ripe time in your career when you must choose between staying in that niche or moving out of it (and/or up the ranks to administration)?

The program would include 3-4 speakers. One speaker would describe how to develop a niche and get a title to prove it. Another speaker, one who has happily maintained his/her niche throughout the years, would explain all of the benefits to embracing niche law librarianship. A third speaker would be a former niche law librarian that pursued management. The third speaker would share his/her tips on moving out of niche law librarianship for those who wish to pursue a career in law library administration.

Idea #225: Controversial Historical Monuments: U.S. and Foreign Responses (Research & Analysis content area)

We have seen plenty of news coverage of various cities across the US moving/destroying controversial historical (esp. Confederate) monuments. We have also seen the backlash and heard the arguments from those who say that these monuments should be embraced as part of our history. What is the law governing these issues in the U.S.? What should the law be? What can we do to influence future actions? Also, other countries (South Africa, Russia, former colonies of the U.K. and France) have faced similar challenges. How did these other countries respond? Are there any international guidelines or standards on this issue?

A program on this topic would consist of 3 panelists and a moderator. The first panelist would focus on the law and legal arguments in the U.S.; the second panelist would focus on the responses of foreign governments and would include any foreign law that arose from those responses; the third panelist would focus on the international level and discuss any international organizations that have issued standards and guidelines on the topic.

Idea #226:  Developing Relationships with the Clinics, Journals, and Moots (Marketing & Outreach content area)

One of the best ways to market yourself and “show your value” to your law school is to integrate yourself into the clinics, journals, and moot court teams. This program would provide case study examples from law librarians who have successfully developed relationships with clinic professors, journal editors, and faculty liaisons to moot court teams. These law librarians will explain how they embedded themselves into these programs and also how doing so furthered their professional development goals because it led not only to a better understanding of substantive law but also new ideas for scholarship. At least one panelist would focus on the international clinics, journals, and moot court teams.

Idea #227:  Comparative Intelligence Law (Research & Analysis content area)

Washington, D.C. is home to the International Spy Museum and the Spies of Washington Walking Tour. It is also a city that is hosting an investigation of President Trump’s family members’s “back door” communications with Russian intelligence diplomats. This program would capitalize on the location of the AALL 2019 annual meeting by exploring the laws in the U.S., other nations, and at the international level related to espionage, particularly in intelligence collection and classified document protection. At least one panelist would discuss U.S. laws, including the 1917 Espionage Act and its application (including very recent and controversial attempts to apply the Act not only to alleged spies but also alleged leakers of classified information). Ideally, another panelist would focus on the declassified documents research bank at the National Archive. A third panelist could be a foreign-country/EU expert in the Law Library of Congress (specifically, one of the contributors of the LLoC’s 2014 report on foreign intelligence gathering laws). A fourth panelist might talk about international cooperation in intelligence gathering and analysis as part of counterterrorism efforts.