Forgive me for broaching this very delicate subject, but it seems warranted given that the average person spends three years in a lifetime on the loo. Friends: one could procure a law degree in that amount of time. Perhaps the advertisers who devised toilet paper printed with ads and coupon codes, soon to be stocked at the public library in Port Chester, New York, can start selling newspapers and books on a roll. It would sure save many a librarian from having to don a HazMat suit to remove abandoned newspapers from the men’s bathroom.
by Jennifer Hill
I was a sorority girl. Yes, it’s true. When I was an undergrad at the University of Cincinnati, I was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. Joining a sorority was a pretty big deal for me because I had always been very content with having only a few close friends and with keeping a low profile. In high school I didn’t play sports or participate in student groups. I did work part time at a bowling alley (yes, that’s true, too) so I wasn’t a total slacker. The wallflower role was always a comfortable one for me so joining a group of women, many of whom were active leaders in the sorority and in university student life, was a big step.
I can’t say that after joining I did a 180 and became “Miss Campus Activities” because…um…that didn’t happen. Not even close. I did learn some things though and one lesson frequently plays in my head when I am thinking about LLOPS. The sorority’s leaders used to emphasize this message: “You only get out of it what you put into it.” In other words, if you don’t actively participate then you will miss out on a lot of the benefits that come from being a part of the organization. Too bad I didn’t really follow their advice back then. Continue reading 'President’s Message'»
by Karen Helde
When I was invited to be a speaker at the 2012 AALL Annual Meeting, I hesitated for a few days because (1) I was scared, and (2) I hadn’t budgeted to go to Boston. Once I decided that nervousness was a lousy reason to say “no” to opportunities, I tackled the second problem by applying for a LLOPS grant. I’m very grateful to LLOPS for awarding me that grant and giving me the chance to take on this personal and professional challenge. My program, titled iCan! Empowering Librarians with iPads and Other Mobile Devices, was part of the joint AALL/ILTA track that ran throughout the day on Monday, July 23rd. It attracted about 240 attendees eager to hear about ways for librarians to lead the way as mobile technologies enter the legal workplace.
Presenting a program requires a lot of work before the conference ever starts, but I thought I’d share my tips for what you can do once you’re actually on the ground in the host city.
- Talk it up. When you meet new people and are comparing conference plans, tell them you’ll be speaking at a program. It’s a great conversation starter and sometimes a point of connection. If you’re catching up with old friends, make sure they know too. You’ll get lots of interested questions and encouragement. If nothing else, you’ll make a few people happy by allowing them a “better you than me!” moment.
- Scope out the competition. When attending programs prior to your own, dedicate some of your attention to what works and what doesn’t work. Notice how speakers use microphones, podiums, seating arrangements and AV equipment. Does their Q&A approach work well? How smooth are the introductions and transitions? You probably can’t rewrite your whole talk at this point, but you might see a few areas to tweak for improvement.
- Practice and prepare. My talk was in pretty good shape before I left I for Boston, but I still ran through it on the plane (under my breath so as not to make any air marshals nervous), in my hotel room, and in an unoccupied corner of the convention center the morning of my program. Also, figure out what soothes your particular butterflies and find a way to do it. Some people are calmed by deep breathing and meditative stillness in a quiet place. Others feel better if they can work off some adrenaline with physical activity like a brisk walk.
- Dress the part. Wear something that makes you feel confident and professional, but relaxed. You know your own tolerance for walking in heels, arranging scarves or carrying off a handlebar mustache. This isn’t the time to try something new. Bonus tip: If you’ll be using a lavalier microphone, wear something that has a pocket or belt to hold the transmitter. Otherwise you’ll end up holding it in your hands like I did.
- Have fun. Even if public speaking is scary, at some point it will hit you that it’s kind of cool to have a room full of people interested in what you’re saying. Enjoy that moment, as well as the conversations and connections that follow.
One of my goals at the AALL Conference this year (based on a suggestion from my current boss) was to spend some time talking with vendors about how they do what they do. I’ve spent the last couple of months learning to use new tools and databases in a law firm setting and haven’t had much time to focus on understanding things like where vendors get their content and how they pull it, what their workflow looks like or what services they offer that I’m not currently using. I came back with a better understanding about various products and services that I use all the time. The following are some examples of what I learned from the vendors. Continue reading 'AALL Conference Report: Getting to Know Vendors'»
My first AALL Conference experience kept me on my toes. It was busy, filled with job interviews, networking opportunities, and interesting programs. I found particularly useful a program sponsored by RIPS-SIS, Connect with Patrons by Creating Strong Research Guides. The program was led by Catherine Dunn of the University of Maryland, Sara Sampson of the University of North Carolina, and Morgan Stoddard of Georgetown University.
One of the most important things a research guide can do is to confirm that a type of resource does not exist or that a tool cannot perform a particular function. This saves time and improves efficiency. Research guides can be used to teach skills through the use of videos and tutorials. They can cover areas beyond substantive law, such as job search and legal services. It is important that an organization keep internal consistency with its research guides. They should be viewed as serials that require periodic updating. For instance, revisions will be needed as materials are updated and links change. Finally, each guide should be the responsibility of a specific person in the library. This will ensure that it is updated on a regular basis.
Although we tend to think of research guides as a tool used mainly in academic law libraries, they can be useful in other settings, as well. Court libraries use research guides to reach out to public patrons and members of the bar. Law firms can utilize research guides to provide assistance to new attorneys fresh out of law school. Moreover, research guides are useful reminders to law librarians in any area as to how to approach certain types of legal research questions. If you are looking to learn more about research guides, you can find materials from the RIPS program here.
Thank you to LLOPS and the Grants Committee for supporting my attendance at the AALL Conference in Boston. My membership in LLOPS has enhanced my experience as a newcomer to law librarianship. I have no doubt it will contribute to my success in future endeavors.
When it comes time to orient new associates, I have learned that I must keep the SNL skit references to myself. I once said to a new group that the difference between Lexis and Westlaw was like the difference between McDonald’s and McDowell’s, in what I thought was a fun reference to Coming to America. They stared at me. A couple even smiled politely in pity for what they sensed was an attempt at humor.
If you want to maintain your hip quotient in the face of an ever-youthful class of associates, then you should at a minimum study the newest update to the Oxford English Dictionary. New words like chillax, muffin top, bromance, bling and Homer Simpson’s D’oh have officially made it into the OED’s sanctioned lexicon, although I got the raised eyebrow from a young associate when I used the word “chillax” in conversation. I guess this is a little like your mom singing “Like a Virgin” when you are in 6th grade (which mine did), an older person’s embarrassing foray into the wilds of youth. And clearly my mother was not a virgin. Continue reading 'Chillaxin’ in the Stacks'»
by Kristine Lloyd
After a series of minor funding and accommodations miracles, I learned in June that I would be going to the annual meeting. I was thrilled, and of course, the first order of business was wardrobing. Yes, I packed a month’s worth of attire in my steamer trunk for a mere few days, but one never knows what sartorial mood will strike. I hadn’t attended a conference since 2007 in New Orleans, and this time I was attending as the PLL Secretary. Surely, once landed in Boston there would be a driver awaiting my arrival with an official Madame Secretary placard and a limo with champagne ready to whisk me away to the meeting.
Alas, there was no official welcome wagon, but I made my way successfully to the hotel and enjoyed a lovely PLL Summit opening reception at The Harvard Club that evening. Continue reading 'Consider the Lobster Roll'»
by Neel Kant Agrawal
2012 LLOPS Grant Recipient
As a newcomer to the profession, I found the 2012 AALL Annual Meeting and Conference to be an exciting experience. I prepared over the course of the year for a weekend of immersed learning and non-stop networking. My primary goal at the conference was to acquire knowledge in the area of foreign, comparative, and international law librarianship (“FCIL librarianship”). I came away with a profound appreciation for those who have paved the way in this globalized and dynamic area of law librarianship. Needless to say, the conference exceeded my expectations.
My favorite event was the Teaching FCIL Topics Roundtable on Saturday, hosted by the AALL FCIL-SIS. This provided the opportunity for me to interact with FCIL librarians who have taught courses on foreign and international legal research, as well as those, like myself, who will someday teach a course on this increasingly critical subject. We discussed teaching methods, course structure, as well as content. The intimacy of the roundtable enabled me to ask essential questions about teaching and to engage librarians who I greatly admire and respect.
On Tuesday morning, I presented my research on training in FCIL librarianship at the AALL/LexisNexis Call for Papers event. It was an honor to speak in front of such an interested audience, comprising library directors, innovative librarians, and influential scholars. Finally, my last event was perhaps the most memorable. The Association Luncheon, on Tuesday, featured speeches given by some of the most prominent figures in the field. Listening to their stories inspires me to engender positive change in areas that I feel strongly about, such as FCIL librarianship and diversity in the profession.
I look forward to returning to Seattle next year for the 2013 conference. With the first conference under my belt, I will be even more equipped for such an intensive and enjoyable experience.
by Philippe Cloutier
As the economy slowly rebounds and “anti-tax” sentiments dwindle the importance of public libraries gains greater recognition. Today’s good library news is the Seattle Public Library system successfully securing votes for funding on the latest ballot:
We did it! Thanks to your help, the levy to restore and improve essential Library services received a 62% “yes” vote from Seattle voters. We are honored by the outpouring of support to approve a tax measure during a time of economic recovery. Your voices and hard work helped raise awareness of the sacrifices the Library has taken during the last several years and the public impact of repeated cuts.
We now look forward to the Library rebuilding services that were cut or eliminated during the prolonged recession. In 2013 you will see expanded hours and collections, as well as new computer technology. The levy also ensures that our investment in the many wonderful libraries is protected through an improved maintenance budget. With stable funding secured through the levy, more Library resources and assistance will be available for children, teens and adults in every neighborhood in our city.
What does this all mean to the Foundation? By helping secure a more stable funding environment, we can now focus our support by investing in projects and opportunities that help the Library achieve its strategic vision – which in turn will ensure the value and relevancy of The Seattle Public Library for generations to come.
Let this be the beginning of a new era – full of opportunity for the people of Seattle!
Thank you again for your support!
The Seattle Public Library Foundation
Check out additional details on the levy and improvements on the SPL page.
by Amy Eaton
I am pleased to note that Robyn Hagle received a Presidential Certificate of Appreciation from AALL President Darcy Kirk for her work on the Futures Committee. The award was presented at the 2012 AALL Business Meeting on July 23, 2012 in Boston, MA. Each year the president identifies members who have made significant contributions to AALL and the profession and recognizes them with a Presidential Certificate of Appreciation. In addition to Robyn, five other AALL members received this honor: Marci Hoffman, Sally Holterhoff, David Mao, Diane Rodriguez and Susan Severo. Congratulations to LLOPS member Robyn Hagle and the other honorees!