2015 AALL Conference

On July 18th, thousands of law librarians converged in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Annual Meeting and Conference. The “Power of Connection” was the theme this year. Having gone to several AALL conferences in the past, I expected no less than a full schedule of program sessions, SIS/Committee/Caucus business meetings, vendor-sponsored receptions and product demos, plus a full day of chapter leadership training. This year’s conference is no exception and to pick only two program sessions to highlight for this article is a tough call. Nonetheless, here are a few highlights:

  • Keynote speaker Terry Gross, host and co-executive producer of NPR’s Fresh Air, shared with the conference attendees her remarkable and unique style of interviewing the guests on her show. She played a few audio clips from her show demonstrating a genuine warmth and empathetic approach to asking her subjects tough questions on some deeply personal and sensitive issues. One clip that stood out was her phone interview of an artist who revealed his innermost thoughts and feelings about dying alone. It demonstrated Terry’s amazing gift of putting her subjects at ease and connecting with them in a profound and powerful way. I was pleasantly surprised to hear a keynote speech on a non-law library related topic and inspired to hear the stories of some of the subjects Terry wrote in her book “All I Did Was Ask: Conversations with Writers, Actors, Musicians, and Artists.”
  • In Influence: The Art & Science of Changing Minds, speaker Steve Hughes, President of Hit Your Stride, LLC. presented practical ways on how law librarians can dramatically improve their chances of winning over someone who is opposed to their ideas. The audience took part in an “experiment in influence” and the results revealed that majority of the participants spent more time talking about their idea and trying to convince the other person. Hardly any time is spent in trying to understand the person they are convincing, to understand where that person is coming from and why the resistance. Steve offered two steps for changing someone’s mind; 1. Identify their resistance – ask questions, let the other person do more of the talking; and 2. Develop empathy – know a little more about the person you are convincing and understand how he/she makes a decision and what causes him/her to act. To be more persuasive, Steve offered the following tenets to keep in mind: 1) people want to do what everyone else is doing; 2) a small commitment often leads to a consistent behavior later; 3) make people comfortable and more open by matching their movements and energy; and 4) people will work harder towards a goal if they feel like progress is being made (even a small amount).
  • I had the honor to participate in a panel discussion on the benefits and challenges of public library partnerships. I gave a presentation on the Temecula Law Resource Center and talked about the Riverside County Law Library’s partnership with the City of Temecula Public Library as part of the “Building Sustainable Public Library Partnerships” program sponsored by the Government Law Libraries-Special Interest Section (GLL-SIS). My colleagues from the law libraries for Alameda County and Los Angeles County, presented on partnership between Alameda County Law Library and Dublin Public Library and offered some best practices for assessing, developing, implementing, and managing public library partnerships.
  • Legal Information Services Librarian Mahum Shere was awarded the AALL & Thomson Reuters/George A. Strait Minority Scholarship and a Grant from the Southern California Association of Law Libraries (SCALL) that subsidized the cost to attend her first AALL Annual Conference.
  • The AALL Excellence in Marketing Award – Best Campaign for the 2014 National Library Week at the Riverside County Law Library was presented to Legal Research and Instructional Services Librarian Bret Christensen who received the award on behalf of the Law Library Board of Trustees and the entire law library staff.


By Victoria

August 03, 2015

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