Notes From #AALL12

I had the opportunity to attend the 105th Annual Meeting and Conference of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL12) this week. AALL12 was my first conference experience with AALL and it was well worth the trip. The programming was informative, the networking opportunities stellar, and the exhibitor contact fruitful.


Although the AALL is, obviously, an American organization, the content of most sessions and poster presentations addresses matters of broad concern to law libraries without geographic restriction. Several of those on US legal subjects and resources are of substantive edification and are the subjects of some of the stories mentioned below. Indeed, during most time slots I had difficulty choosing from among several sessions of competing interest. The ongoing dilemmas, or trilemmas, became a bit of a recurring source of amusement. As seems usual at conferences these days, many of us tweeted sessions to discuss, to note-take, in some cases to engage with the panel, but also to – in apt librarian fashion – to share information with folks in other sessions. Colleague Robert Richards points to a collection of all of the #aall12 tweets, collected in .csv format.

AALL and presenters helpfully make papers and slides available, and recordings are forthcoming.

For my part, I am in the midst of storifying commentary relevant to some of the sessions, as I promised to do. Thus far I’ve published two and have gathered information for a few others I plan to finalize and publish:

  • Amping Up Library Orientation
  • Law Libraries, Government Transparency, and the Internet – Academic Law Libraries Special Interest Section breakfast meeting
  • forthcoming notes on a session on researching US Legislative Histories
  • forthcoming notes on a usability testing session
  • forthcoming notes on law library research guides best practices
  • forthcoming notes on a session about the Law Library of Congress website
  • forthcoming notes on international human rights resources

What’s written so far is a bit draft as I’ve been operating with limited resources and sleep. Please feel free to note any corrections or comments here or on my Storify page.


Always a worthy aspect of a conference, networking opportunities at AALL12 abounded and their value to me exceeded my expectations. I found a sense of community among Canadian colleagues and teachers, particularly some I’d met for the first time or after a long while at the recent Canadian Association of Law Libraries conference in Toronto. Likewise, I met – in person and virtually – many newer librarians with whom I plan to stay in contact and perhaps collaborate in future. Not least, I met some longtime library “heroes” in person – one of whom was my librarian and teacher from law school, and another of whom writes for this blog, to cite only two.


Many of the products Canadian law libraries use are not specific to this jurisdiction, and I had fruitful discussions with several vendors. Interestingly, those vendors whose information was least relevant to me were the larger, international legal information providers. Their exhibits focused on products and services specific to the American legal information market. International vendors did host targeted events for Canadian attendees, and this was appreciated. Even those products geared toward or only available in the US market stimulated interesting conversations, thoughts about forthcoming developments for the Canadian market – and, of course, swag.

Though I’m on vacation now and have other things in my summer projects list, I will read, think, and write to consolidate what I learned at AALL12. If you attended or followed AALL12, do you have thoughts you’d like to share?


  1. Anjali Dandekar

    Hi Kim,
    Thanks for that note. Conferences are great. I am looking forward to read your postings about the sessions you attended. Thank you.

  2. Thanks so much for reading, Anjali.

    And thanks for keeping me on it: I just posted a Storify on the US legislative history research session.

    I edited the text above to insert the link.

    The others are still forthcoming…