Brittany Persson – Seton Hall Law Library
My alarm went off at 4am, just in time for me to make it to my 6:00am train. I had been excited about the conference since I was notified that I had received the NJLLA grant to attend the AALL 2012 Annual Meeting in Boston. The day was finally here. Even though exhausted from getting too few hours of sleep, it didn’t diminish my excitement for the upcoming three days of programing and networking. I spent my train ride to Boston reviewing the schedule I had planned using AALL’s My Conference Planner, and noting all of my just-in-case backup programming.
First on my agenda was “The New Generation of Legal Research Databases: 2012 Boston Sequel”. Unfortunately, this program was so popular that I was unable to even get in through the door to attend. Luckily, my backup: “Finding Your Inner Nancy Drew: Public Records Resources Online”, was a fantastic program which highlighted the resources that the presenters found the most useful and effective in their public records research endeavors. This ended up being the highlight of my programs for the day, in part because it was an excellent program, but also because I ran up against overfilled programs for the remainder of the day, not even being able to squeeze my way into the rooms to stand at the back wall.
I learned my lesson the hard way on that first day, so going forward I arrived at all of my programs 10 minutes early. This lesson meant that my second and third conference days were much more successful than my first. In addition to the many fabulous programs that addressed teaching, the cool tech tools we can use in the library and in classes, using popular culture in the library, and creating research guides, I also attended the RIPS-SIS business meeting and participated as a note taker for the ALL-SIS Legal Research Round Table. The only downside to the abundance of programming and events that I was anxious to attend was that I didn’t spend as much time in the exhibit hall this year learning about the new and updated products as I had hoped.
I am also happy to say that despite my occasional bouts of shyness, the networking didn’t disappoint. Taking the tips from Jennifer Prilliman RIPS blog entry, and the advice that I received at CONNEL 2011 in Philadelphia, I was prepared to network until I dropped. I had my stack of business cards easily accessible and I had psyched myself up to just get out there and introduce myself to at least 5 new people each day. Networking turned out to be easier than I expected. The combination of having great programing to discuss, a conference hall full of likeminded people who were excited to learn, a slew of librarians that I had met last year to help grease the process for me, and excellent networking events meant that I easily met and exceeded my daily goal. Just in case anyone is interested, my three most successful networking places/events were: the joint LLAGNY/ALLUNY/NJLLA reception, the AALL sponsored food/coffee breaks, and the BLAW/BNA lounge. My takeaway for next year (if I am fortunate enough to attend the AALL 2013 Annual Meeting in Seattle) is that food, caffeine and alcohol make for great networking!
Thank you NJLLA for making it possible for me to attend the AALL 2012 Annual Meeting in Boston this year! The conference was excellent, and without your generous funding I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to recharge my librarian batteries and gotten this boost in enthusiasm that attending the conference has given me.