By Jenna Wolf, LLAM Student Grant Recipient to AALL 2019 Annual Conference
As this year’s recipient of the LLAM Student Grant, I was able to attend the full AALL Annual Meeting and Conference in Washington D.C. Attending my first conference in a familiar city was a great way to be introduced to an event of this scale.
My AALL conference experience began on Saturday with CONELL: The Conference of Newer Law Librarians. CONELL helped acclimate me to the conference structure, meet colleagues who are also new to law librarianship, and learn about the many ways to become more involved professionally. This year, CONELL included a new panel on how to display leadership as a new law librarian. This panel was very impactful as it dealt with imposter syndrome, trusting your ideas, and finding your potential.
The Exhibit Hall posters were another great feature of the conference. I met many LLAM members for the first time while exploring the different information resources. This, and the LLAM Dine Around, helped me make in-person connections with the names I have seen many times on the listserv. I enjoyed learning about the wide array of Special Interest Sections. It seems like there are infinite opportunities to become involved and collaborate with colleagues.
The conference continued on Sunday with an inspiring keynote speaker, Shon Hopwood. I read his book in preparation for the conference, and it was reaffirming to hear a first-hand account of how access to justice changes lives. I then chose to attend a session on The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program — an initiative that teaches legal research to both law students and the incarcerated together. Hearing the impact stories and passions of the panel members reinforced the importance of finding new ways to engage the underserved with legal materials.
By attending the presentations of my fellow LLAM members, I was able to see first-hand how our organization is making a difference. This, coupled with the Government Law Libraries Special Interest Section panel on the legal battle to reduce PACER fees, made me excited to become a member of both LLAM and AALL. Without this grant, I would not have been able to have these rewarding experiences so early in my career.