Learn. Connect. Grow.
That was the theme this year for the annual conference for the American Association of Law Libraries. Taking place July 21-24 in Boston, MA law librarians from around the country gathered for professional development sessions, networking events, historic tours and, for some, a Red Sox game. The association’s membership is represented by law librarians and related professionals who are affiliated with a wide range of institutions: law firms; law schools; corporate legal departments; courts; and local, state and federal government agencies.
It comes as no surprise that one of the hottest topics of the conference was e-books. Discussions centered on questions like: ‘Are people asking librarians for materials in e-book format?’ ‘What tools are necessary to create and house e-books?’ and ‘Is the future of e-books to replace print or coexist with it?’. This is clearly a collaborative effort between law librarians and vendors, and each party was keenly focused on gaining information from the other. There was a lot of information-sharing between vendors and attendees as they worked towards the common goal of getting their clients the information they want.
The librarians want to get their clients (lawyers or law students and professors) the materials they want in the client’s preferred format. Vendors want to provide their clients, the librarians, with the same service. Because all involved are constantly researching and learning about opportunities that are (or will be) available in this arena, the many e-book discussions were open and informative.
The conference was kicked off with keynote speaker Richard Susskind, who is an independent adviser to firms, in-house legal departments, and national governments. He set the tone for the conference by asking forward-thinking questions like: ‘What are we training our lawyers to become?’ and ‘What jobs will there be for legal professionals in the future?’
Though the Red Sox didn’t fare too well while the conference was in town, the tours of Boston’s many historic libraries provided the perfect entertainment to those in attendance. The Duck Boat tours were always packed, and will no doubt be just as popular at next year’s event in Seattle.