From LLNE Scholarship Winner, Jessica Almeida

My AALL Conference Journey

I had the great fortune of receiving a scholarship through LLNE to attend the AALL conference in Austin.  As I write this, I am flying home from Austin filled with new ideas and new opportunities for further collaboration.  As a first-time attendee, I had no idea what to expect.  So, I asked every law librarian I knew for advice.  I joined the AALL Host Program, so I could ask the librarian I was paired with for advice.  I scoured over the schedule and planned my time down to the minute.  I got new business cards and packed comfortable shoes.  After four amazing and exhausting days in Austin, I know that these takeaways will contribute to my development as a professional.

At every program I attended, I took away something meaningful.  Working in public services, I gravitated toward programs where I learned how to put together successful DYI marketing materials and curate interesting social media content.  I also learned about how to better serve our transgender patrons and how to make the library more accessible after hours.  Throughout the conference, I tried to fully participate, whether through discussion, tweeting during presentations and events, or engaging passerbys during poster sessions.

I found attending the roundtables gave me a greater perspective on how our little library stacks up in the larger world of law libraries.  I was also able to gain insight into innovative programs that other libraries are adopting as well as shared my own experiences.

One of my unexpected favorite sessions of the conference was a discussion den where a small group of women discussed raising families, working full time, and making time for professional development.  Being six months pregnant with my second child, this discussion really resonated with me.

For me, the greatest part of the conference was all the wonderful law librarians I met and spoke to.  In all honesty, I am a bit shy.  Four days of attempting to initiate conversations can be a little overwhelming.  But I want to thank all the wonderful librarians who took the time to speak with me.  From the law librarians on the plane and the shuttle bus to all the RIPS and LISP members who I only knew through email as well as all the LLNE members who introduced themselves or remembered me from previous meetings.  Thank you.  Your kindness and generosity helped make my first AALL conference a success.

 

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