Law Librarians Conference Hard

by Christine Anne George, RIPS-SIS Annual Meeting Grant Recipient
RIPS Penguin

Getting some quality time with Puron before someone else won him at the RIPS Meet Up

There are many ways to tell that you attended a good conference. You can look back at your notes and reflect on the things you’ve learned. You can count the number of ribbons, pins, and stickers on your badge. You can scroll through Twitter and relive various moments. All of that would apply to me as far as AALL17 goes, but I have a brand new metric: sleeping through the screaming child seated behind you. Or at least sleeping through the screaming until said child grabs the back of your seat and starts shaking it. Once we landed, the gentleman sitting next to me asked, “How’d you manage to sleep through that?” I shrugged and said that I had been at a conference. A law librarian conference, I elaborated when he asked. “Wow. Law librarians conference hard,” was his response. To which I can only say, “yup.”


Here are some of the highlights:

The Keynote

Everything everyone has been saying about this keynote is true. You must watch it. Although you might want to grab a box of tissues to keep nearby just in case.

Understanding the Human Element in Search Algorithms

We know that different databases can give different results. Until Susan Nevelow-Mart started in with the charts and graphs of her sample searches, I had no idea how different. This was a really informative session (full disclosure, RIPS endorsed it) and I’ve added Susan’s paper to my TBR pile.

The Roundtables

From talking about metrics concerns in the Law Repositories Roundtable to the laws governing Tequila in Texas at the LHRB Host City Roundtable to talking model-author agreements at the ALL-SIS Faculty Services & Scholarly Communication Joint Roundtable, I took in a lot of information and had some really interesting conversations. I’ve always found the Roundtables to be extremely worthwhile and my only disappointment in Austin was that so many of them were up against each other that I had to make some tough calls on which to attend.

Finding Truth in the Age of Fake News and Alternative Facts

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this session but found I really enjoyed hearing the reporters’ perspective. When it comes to verifying information and sources, the struggle is real. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be an easy solution. It reminded me a lot of the work I did recently in dispelling a rumor about Justice Cardozo. I also enjoyed the librarian love from the panel.

Social Justice in Law Libraries: #LawLibrariesRespond

This was a unique program that I hope to see more of at future AALL conferences. In the wake of social justice crises, how can law libraries respond? There were three specific examples and the speakers outlined what their libraries did and what, if anything, they might have done differently. Partnerships and planning also were a big part of the discussion. To get a better recap, check out the hashtag above.

The Human Equation: What Star Trek Teaches Us About Leadership

The only regret I have about attending this session was that I didn’t do some prep work to know all the Star Trekkie things. (Or Trekkers—apologies I’m not a scifi person, but I do recall funny SNL sketches.) This was probably one of the most interesting and worthwhile sessions I attended and made it worth it to stick it out to the bitter end of the conference. The tips on how to be a leader based on certain character traits were clear, concise, and extremely applicable. The presenters clearly had fun putting this together and it showed.


I realize that there is a lot that I’ve probably left out of my recap. With so much going on in such a short span of time, it always takes a while to unpack and reflect upon all the information. I’m extremely grateful to RIPS for the travel grant to attend the conference. As my random seatmate will attest, I tried to get the most out of it.

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