I’m just getting back from by extended conference / vacation in Denver, where I enjoyed the AALL conference, and especially enjoyed the Private Law Libraries Summit (pre-conference). I know there was a lot of fuss about the amount and types of programming that was scheduled for private law librarians at the conference (including guest posts on this blog), but I have to say that I wasn’t really all that disappointed. I’ll also go out on a limb and say that I thought that the PLL-Summit was one of the best day and a half seminars that I’ve ever attended on the topic of law firm libraries. Of course, since I presented, I may be a little biased.

I hope that there is a pre-conference again next year. If there is, I’m going to encourage a number of folks that I know that usually don’t go to AALL conference to at least attend the pre-conference. I found that the presenters were great, and that the audience was much more engaged in the topic than you get in a normal session. The fact that the room was entirely private law librarians also helped focus the talks and even have lively arguments when we disagreed.  After all, we were all there to think… not think alike.

Here’s an email that Jennifer Berman (PLL-SIS Education Chair) sent out to the list last week explaining the steps you need to take in order to submit a program for the general sessions of the 2011 AALL Conference in Philadelphia. I also have a couple of suggestions:

My Suggestions:

  1. Don’t submit a 3-part program. Do one topic, in one session, and do it well.
  2. Don’t submit a program where you want to learn a topic… See if an expert on that topic will do it, and help them submit the program. 
  3. Encourage new people to contribute. We all see a lot of the same faces presenting each year. Be a ‘mentor’ and get some new blood in front of an audience.
Berman Message:

Congratulations to us all. Our programs at AALL – Denver, CO were well attended, discussed, and received good reviews. In short, SUCCESS!! Thank you to all of the coordinators, moderators, and presenters. It was evident that a good deal of hard work went into the endeavor.
Now, we can’t sit on our laurels. Preparation for the 104th AALL Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA is well under way and proposals for presentations must be submitted by September 15, 2010.
There is no real theme to the 2011 conference. Programs are to parallel the competencies required for librarianship. If you have an idea for a presentation, please don’t hesitate. Put together a proposal and send it in, but please make sure to indicate that you would like PLL to sponsor the program.
A few helping details. Start by reading the short proposal description on the AALL website (http//:proposals.aallnet.org). It will link you to the Programmer Planner’s Handbook, (http://www.aallnet.org/events/ProgramPlannersHandbook.pdf), which will guide you through the process. Included in the Handbook are suggestions of how to write the proposal, wording to use that will catch the eye of the members of the Annual Meeting Program Committee (AMPC) and others. One hint we received is not to use the word “competency”. It’s the conference’s theme, so the idea should be inherent in your presentation. Overplay, and it may backfire.
As members of the PLL-SIS Education Committee, we review each proposal that is sponsored by PLL. There may be suggestions we would like to make that would give your presentation heavier weight with AMPC members, so sometimes we may request a small re-write. In order to assure that your program proposal is formally submitted by the September 15th deadline , we have implemented the following time schedule for sending in your proposal:

  • Aug 30 (noon CDT) – Submission of your program proposal to the members of the PLL Education Committee (names and contacts below). Page 43 of the Planners Handbook indicates how to share the program with us. When you share the program with us please DO NOT click the submission button or your program proposal will be submitted and there will be no opportunity to revise the proposal.
  • Sept 8 – You will have received a phone by a committee member to discuss your proposal. We will discuss recommended revisions, if needed, or suggest to submit as is.
  • Sept 15 – Final date for submission to AALL.

Remember, the earlier the better. If editing is required, we want to make sure that you’ve the needed time to do it to get it in on time and have it accepted.
If you have any questions or need any help, please call any one of us at any time. We are here to help you and make it as easy as possible to get through the process.
To jump start a little bit of thinking – the following three ideas were proposed. If you would want to flesh it out and write up a proposal for it, we can assist you with the process.

  1. The future of legal research 18 months later (Law firm librarians and academic librarians talking about what’s happened with respect to adoption or nonadoption of WestlawNext, Lexis for Microsoft Office, New Lexis, Mobile Apps, etc.
  2. Conversations with legal news reporters (what is happening in the legal world)
  3. Summit on Training Part 2 (continuation of “Mile High Summit in Training: Are things coming to a peak?”, a very well attended session). Discussion with law firm deans, managing partners, and students about training)

Enjoy, have fun and good luck to us all!