NJLLA Grant Winner 2005

Renee Cullmann, Pitney, Hardin, Kipp & Szuch

I was able to attend this year’s AALL Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas because I was awarded NJLLA’s grant for this purpose. I was extremely happy when I received a phone call from Mary Ellen Kaas informing me that I was selected to receive the grant. At that point, I registered for the conference, started trying to decide which programs I wanted to attend, booked a room at a hotel and arranged for my flight.

A couple of months later on July 16, I arrived in San Antonio, ready to attend the Annual Meeting. The next few days were a whirlwind of attending programs and events and socializing and networking with librarians who I knew from NJLLA and new acquaintances too. The programs that I attended were definitely worthwhile and interesting.

I attended programs on a diverse number of subjects, such as creating interactive electronic legal research lessons, judicial and legislative information from the Spanish colonial period in the United States, finding government documents online and in print today, issues related to permanent public access to government documents, copyright law pertaining to libraries and comparing indexes and taxonomies and search engines as information retrieval tools.

I came away from these programs with a lot of useful information that will come in handy in my work. The program on indexes and taxonomies reinforced the importance of using these tools for effective searching. It was interesting to hear about how effective and timesaving these tools are and how few searchers actually used them as opposed to exclusively “googling.” It was also especially valuable to learn about how the GPO is making government documents available now and in the future and what is being done to ensure permanent public access to them.

There was also a lot of time for socializing and fun at the Annual Meeting. There were a number of events and parties to attend every night, in addition to informal opportunities to meet up with colleagues. It was really nice to have the opportunity to socialize with other librarians outside of work and get to know people from NJLLA and other library associations.

I also enjoyed talking with people from other areas and different types of libraries to get a feel for how things are done both differently and the same in different places. It was also interesting to have the opportunity to talk to many of the different vendors that were set up in the exhibit hall and learn about new products and features that are being marketed toward law librarians. Of course, I made sure to take a little bit of time to visit some of the attractions in San Antonio. I walked along the Riverwalk everyday and visited the Alamo as well.

After being in San Antonio for four days, I left feeling that it was time well spent. Attending this year’s Annual Meeting was a valuable opportunity to gain professional knowledge and meet and connect with other people working in this profession. I am very grateful that NJLLA awarded me a grant to attend this year.