Maximize Today; Envision Tomorrow was the theme of the 96th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Law Libraries. Six Heafey librarians represented Santa Clara along with Asst. Dean Skip Horne, who attended as a VIP sponsored by the California local chapters, and two students from the High Tech journal, who staffed a booth in the exhibit hall. The conference, which was held July 12-16 in Seattle, featured 84 educational programs, two plenary sessions and three pre-conference workshops.
The conference began with a look to the future. The first program, “Envisioning the Future Teaching Role of Law Librarians” focused on the changing role of technology in education and the learning approach of the law student of tomorrow. It was a quite sobering program that stressed e-learning and virtual reference as our future. It showed a change in the librarian’s role from an “information provider” to an “information evaluator”.
Copyright was also a prominent program topic. Fair use erosion in the database arena, the fast tracking of trade agreements that bundle intellectual property rights with other trade issues, and the shift to licensing agreements from copyright protection were all heavily attended programs.
Along with the educational programs, the conference also includes meetings of consortia groups, vendors with users, and roundtable discussions on various aspects of law librarianship. The Jesuit Consortium meeting featured the results of a user survey conducted by Georgetown University, and the decision of the entire consortium to do a similar group survey. There also was a discussion on the idea of a consortium-wide virtual reference network.
And, although law librarians have a reputation for working very hard at their conferences, there was also time for social gatherings and networking. The opening reception, sponsored by LexisNexis, featured the highlights and tastes of Seattle. The Annual West party had a 60’s theme, complete with staff in tie-dyed t-shirts and a dance band of the period.
Head Reference Librarian