NJLLA Grant Winner Essay 2008

Wei Fang

I want to thank New Jersey Law Librarians Association for awarding me the 2008 NJLLA Grant. With this generous giving I was able to attend the most important conference in the law library field: America Association of Law Libraries’ annual conference. My experience gained from this conference was extremely useful. It was an exciting, energizing and eye-opening conference to me, which gave me such a great opportunity to meet with other professionals in the same field to learn and share knowledge.

I really appreciate the way the AALL conference was organized. From the start to the end, the AALL conference went flawlessly. I planned my schedule and registered online using the AALL’s Web site. The way the Web site was designed allowed me to see all the events and programs at a single gallery and made my planning an easy pie. I chose to join ten programs plus the opening event and the Keynote for this three-day conference. A busy schedule for sure, yet the information and knowledge I learned was invaluable.

Since I could pick the programs based on my own interest, I ended up with meeting people who had similar interest in the programs—that was where the fusion began. During the opening event, programs and meetings, I spent a lot of time talking with other professionals about questions and challenges I encountered in my work. The way they responded was amazing, not only they gave direct answers to my questions, but also they shared resources that they knew of. These guys were real professionals.

The Keynote speaker was David Pogue from New York Times. He introduced a lot of new technologies and new trends in a way that was unique, informative, yet entertaining. He started the Keynote by jumping onto the stage and showing off his hi-tech gadgets. The Keynote was ended with him playing an electronic keyboard on the stage and singing a song he composed.

One program which stood out among the programs I attended was named ‘Critical Technology Tools Free and Inexpensive Software to Help Your Daily Life’. It was presented by Roger Skabeck from Georgetown Law Library and his colleagues. This program introduced software that is free or cheap to get. Most of them can really help me out with my daily routine. Just a small example, a program they introduced called ‘ClearContext’, which allows me to organize my email’s inbox. After I came back from the conference, I wasted no time to install the software that I learned from this program and spice up my daily routine.

My experience about this year’s AALL annual conference has been wonderful. The 101th AALL conference just likes a Librarian 101 to me. It highlights the route that I should walk and answers all my questions. What a great conference!

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