The charter meeting of the Western Pacific Chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries (WESTPAC) was held on October 27, 1967 in Berkeley, California, at the Conference of Western Law Schools. The Chapter incorporated as a non-profit corporation in 1983, in the State of Washington. WESTPAC was established to promote law librarianship, to provide for the further professional education of law librarians, and to foster a spirit of cooperation among members in the law library profession. WESTPAC also promotes a continuing relationship between law librarians and legal entities in the Western Pacific region, to develop and increase the usefulness of law libraries, and to promote the exchange of information and ideas within the Western Pacific region.
The region represented by the Chapter includes Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming, as well as the U.S. Pacific Territories and Western Canada. In 2005, the membership consisted of 184 members, of whom 48% work in academic law libraries, 27% in court and government libraries, 15% in law firm and corporate libraries, and the remaining 10% are retired or life members or individuals employed in law library-related settings. Of our members, 89% also maintain membership in AALL.
The officers of the Chapter are the President, Vice-President/President-Elect, Secretary, and Treasurer. The governing body of the Chapter, the Executive Board, includes the Chapter’s incumbent officers, the immediate Past President of the Chapter, and the Newsletter Editor. The following are standing committees of WESTPAC: Archives, Education, Constitution and Bylaws, Newsletter, Nominations and Elections, Site Selection (for annual Chapter meetings), and Placement. Other special committees include Membership, Government Relations, Preservation, Grants and Awards, Local Arrangements (for annual Chapter meetings), and Public Relations.
From 1967 to 1978, the Chapter held both spring and fall meetings. Since 1979, the Chapter has presented an educational program once a year, at its fall meeting. This annual meeting lasts two to four days and presents programs on a variety of topics. Two or three travel grants are usually available to qualified individuals, who need financial assistance to attend the meeting. WESTPAC may also award a grant to assist with attendance at AALL. Since 1977, the Chapter has also held a business meeting during AALL’s annual meeting. A number of WESTPAC meetings have been conducted jointly with other AALL Chapters, including the Southern California Association of Law Libraries (SCALL), the Southwestern Association of Law Libraries (SWALL), and the Northern California Association of Law Libraries (NOCALL).
The site of the annual meeting rotates between four geographic zones, which encompass WESTPAC’s region. The Chapter meets in major cities of the region, including San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Salt Lake City, and Anchorage. Meetings have also been held at resort facilities, such as Crystal Bay on Lake Tahoe, Park City, UT, Coeur d’Alene, ID and Jackson, WY. Some of the more memorable meetings have been held in the smaller Western cities, for example, Laramie, WY, Helena, MT, and Boise, ID. Two educational meetings have included “traveling” programs. In 1972, a symposium was conducted on an Amtrak train, en route from Oakland, CA to Portland OR. The 1976 annual meeting included programs held on the Seattle-Victoria, BC ferry, the Princess Marguerite. Our 1989 annual meeting in Monterey, California was canceled as a result of the October 16 earthquake, which made travel in and out of Monterey almost impossible. The 1989 annual meeting was eventually held in February of 1990, at SCALL’s Winter Institute in Oxnard, California. WESTPAC returned to Monterey in the fall of 1990 to hold the previously scheduled joint meeting with NOCALL. Once again, our meeting was canceled when the 2001 meeting was scheduled to meet in Anchorage, AK, just days after 9-11; that meeting was rescheduled to 2002. To celebrate WESTPAC’s silver anniversary in 1992, founding members were honored at a meeting in Honolulu, HI.
WESTPAC News is the official newsletter of the Chapter, and is published three times each year. The Chapter also publishes an annual Membership Directory. Subscriptions to both publications are included in membership dues. The Chapter also has both a Google Groups discussion list and a website.