Three years ago this month, I went to my first day of work as a law librarian, then headed the next day to my first AALL.
I've always appreciated that my anniversary in the profession coincides with the annual meeting; it's a nice chance to reflect on my career so far. Not going to navel gaze here, but suffice to say I am satisfied, and looking forward to many more years of gentle law librating.
There are a few things, however, that stand out.
Before I became a librarian, I had an absolute dread of networking. The thought of it made my skin crawl. So I was surprised to find that it wasn't actually so bad when law librarians were involved. In fact, I didn't really mind it at all, and it's only gotten better from there. I think it helped a lot that the CONELL committee does such a great job of helping newbies get started.
The other thing that helped early on was walking into my first (the first, in fact) meeting of the Gen X / Gen Y Caucus. It feels incredibly corny to say, but it was a thrill to walk into a room with about a hundred people my age who were just as excited to be law librarians as I was. (I suspect part of the excitement was that I didn't really know anyone in library school let alone anyone younger who was also interested in law librarianship.) The first thing we did was re-arrange all the chairs in the room into an enormous circle. It was great. That was a highlight, but my whole first annual meeting made me feel like I'd found my people.
Fast forward three years to my fourth annual meeting. I got to work the CS-SIS booth at CONELL's exhibit hall this time. It was worth getting up for the early flight. I met a lot of the cool new people and began to feel more like an old conference pro. Someone handed me a slip with the URL to sign up for the mentoring program, and I think suggested I do so as a mentor. I guess I'm really not a newbie anymore.
Meanwhile, I've been on the Gen X / Gen Y social planning committee for three years, and this year's event was mind-blowing. We made a reservation for 20; I counted at least 53 people at one point. Yeah. It's just one indication of the group's success. We're taking all necessary steps toward becoming an SIS. Our members represent on SIS and chapter boards, and on national committees; and present multiple times at conferences. They're also behind creative new things like the first annual Lawberry Camp. (Got ideas for next year? Help with the proposal.) I have a lot of loyalties within the association, but ask me which group I'm most proud of, and it's the Caucus.
In addition all that, I've made some really amazing friends in the profession, especially over the past year or so. People I like to think I'd be friends with if we met outside of the law library sphere. I've found not only my people, but my pack.
Two other mentionable-but-not-really-related highlights:
- This year's opening even in the halls of the Library of Congress was phenomenal. The mild thunder and lightning storm added a little locked-in-the-library magic to the evening. As I commented elsewhere, it's a shame the place isn't more portable, because it sure beats convention halls and hotel ballrooms.
- CS-SIS karaoke outing. Last year when I went for the first time, there were fewer than a dozen people and it was fun, but low key. This year? I'm not sure what happened (nor which year was more unusual), but there were over 70 people. And since Connie Crosby has video anyway, I'm just going to say it: looking out into a room full of law librarians and realizing that everyone else was also belting "Don't Stop Believin'" is something I'll never forget. Though perhaps I should. :)