AALL Annual Meeting 2013 (Part 1 of 5)

So for those of you who don’t know me, I’m a relatively new member of Unit 411.  I’ve been occasionally traveling with the team for about a year and a half now, but this is my first contribution to the blogging side of things, hopefully with many more to come.  As a former attorney and current library student, my main area of focus is law librarianship and all issues related to law libraries, so what better way to introduce myself than to give a review of my recent experiences at AALL’s (American Association of Law Libraries) 106th Annual Meeting and Conference in Seattle, Washington.  As an aside, I should point out that, even though the conference was geared toward law librarians, much of the information I picked up is also applicable to libraries in general or to any libraries that do even some minimal degree of legal reference work, so if you aren’t a law librarian, don’t be discouraged, as I’m confident that you may still get something out of this.  I originally intended putting all 5 days in one post, but that proved to be too monumental a task, so instead I’ll be posting this in 5 different entries, one covering each day of the trip.

Pre Conference – Friday, July 12th

Agent Ophelia and I started our Friday morning by heading out to JFK to catch our unnecessarily early cross-country flight.  Since Ophelia is more of the resident travel expert here, I’ll just give a brief overview of this part of the trip and will direct you to her own review for all the details. While I was busy attending 4 days’ worth of conferences, she was experiencing all of the fun stuff that the Pacific Northwest has to offer, so be sure to read all about that side of the trip in her post.

But I digress.  I spent most of the flight drifting in and out of consciousness, but the parts where I was actually awake were incredibly scenic, including a pass over Lake Michigan and, a bit later, the Rocky Mountains.  Quite a sight for somebody who has never been west of the Mississippi before (aside from two brief trips to Las Vegas, which don’t really count). We landed in Seattle at around 10:30am local time, dropped off our bags at the hotel, and immediately hit the town in order to make the most of the one day I had that wasn’t completely booked with conference activities.  Travel highlights for me usually revolve around food, and this trip was no exception. We immediately hit Pike Place Market and grabbed lunch at The Athenian, where I had my first experience with local salmon when I ordered the Drunken Salmon Pasta – possibly my favorite meal of the whole trip. After lunch we walked through the market, where, overwhelmed by the smell of fresh fruit, I couldn’t resist buying two of the largest, juiciest, most delicious peaches I’ve ever eaten.


A quick stop to the original Starbucks followed, then we took some time to check out the architectural masterpiece that is the Seattle Public Library. We didn’t get to meet Nancy Pearl, but we did see real life library police, so on balance I’d say it was still a success.


After the library, I swung by the convention center to register, pick up my credentials and get a basic lay of the land. In addition to my registration badge, there were a slew of various ribbons available for supplementation. I guess this is the law librarian version of “pieces of flair”. I couldn’t quite make it to 37, but I did pick up two that were applicable to me (“First-Time Attendee” and “CONELL” [see “Day 1”]) and added them to my nametag. I was tempted to also pick up one of the many “AALL President” ribbons that were piled up on the table, but I figured my ruse would probably be discovered fairly quickly, and might not have been the best way to make a first impression on over 1,000 new colleagues.  Maybe next year.


We finished off the night with an impromptu trip to Safeco Field to catch the Mariners game. As a lifetime Mets fan, I’ve got a soft spot for terrible teams, so I felt right at home watching the Mariners take on the Angels. Oh, and as an unexpected pleasant surprise, check out who threw out the first pitch!


Exhausted from our 22-hour day, we left the game after about the 6th inning (with the Mariners maintaining a healthy lead) and headed back to the hotel to get some sleep.

More to come tomorrow, including CONELL, the opening reception and some roller derby.

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