Two days prior to the upcoming AALL annual meeting in Philadelphia, the second biannual Chinese and American Conference on Legal Information and Libraries will take place in the same city. The first such conference was held in Beijing, China in May, 2009. This conference is being sponsored by the Chinese and American Legal Forum on Legal Information and Law Libraries (CAFLL), a non-profit organization whose membership includes legal information professionals in China and the United States. The Forum’s mission statement indicates that the organization “promotes the accessibility of legal information and fosters the education of legal information professionals in the United States and China.” (http://cafllnet.org)
The two-day conference on Friday, July 22 and Saturday, July 23 will serve as an opportunity for Chinese and American legal professionals to come together and share views on topics relevant to law libraries in both countries. Since conference attendees will include law school deans and librarians from China and the United States, all sessions will be presented in both Chinese and English. On the first day of the conference, workshops for Chinese library administrators and librarians on American law libraries are scheduled. These pertain to such topics as leadership training and the internationalization of legal research. The second day will feature keynote speakers, as well as panel discussions on evolving trends in law librarianship and future collaborative efforts between legal information professionals in the two countries.
One of my colleagues and I will be co-presenters during the panel discussion on technical services topics. Clement Lau, Associate Director for Technical Services and Administration at University of Baltimore Law Library, and I are planning to briefly talk about resource sharing systems used in Maryland libraries. Resource sharing is considered a “hot topic” in Chinese library circles, and Chinese library administrators are curious about how such systems operate in U.S. libraries. We hope the discussion of our policies, practices, and challenges may foster additional dialog among both our American and Chinese colleagues. In addition, I look forward to this unique opportunity to learn about a different library world.