Post by Emily Moog

The collaboration continues!

Librarians have a core ideal of sharing information.

That ideal continued last Monday night when Special Library Association – NY (SLA-NY) and Law Library Association of Greater NY (LLAGNY) met to discuss their annual conference highlights.

Emma Davidson, current SLA Board member, began by giving a brief overview of her association’s conference in Cleveland.  Emma had a dual role; she served as both an organizer and as an attendee.  SLA Highlights, including multiple instructional programs as well as recognizing anniversaries of foreign chapters, were documented in Emma’s fun power point.  The SLA Dance Party, always a much talked about event, was discreetly left to selective memory rather than slideshow documentation!

Special Libraries include many different entities – including such important government entities like the Federal Reserve.  Kara Masciangelo gave us a glimpse into the structure, work, and information produced by the New York Federal Reserve and the kind of research work generated.  Just one more important institution dependent on information specialists!

Tom Neilson, SLA member, quickly described a version of his conference presentation on diversity.  His thought-provoking and timely presentation led to some interesting debate among the thirty-one attendees.  LLAGNY members in attendance noted similarities of diversity challenges, indicating that achieving fairness is societal and well as particular to library employment issues.

Then, it was onto LLAGNY members sharing their insights from the recent annual meeting conference held in D.C.

Longtime LLAGNY and AALL members Lucy Curci-Gonzalez and Mary Matuszak shared their memories of past service as Conference organizers.  A slide show revealed the breadth of programming – everything from Artificial Intelligence to Gamification to Return of Investment.   Law librarians are leading the information revolution, and AALL scheduled speakers addressed the myriad of choices and decisions that technology presents to the library community.

Private law firm librarians have their own conference day, and I was inspired by PLLIP Summit Keynote speaker Jordan Furlong.  Stating that law firms are experiencing “climate change”, Furlong emphasized that the evolution from 19th Century regulated and constrained entities to 21st Century market-based legal centers is inevitable.  Future law firms will have stakeholders that include IT, accountants, finance experts… and information specialists!  My highlights reports had one all-important take-away – Librarians will be working with, and not for, lawyers.  PLLIP speakers and panel confirmed: The future of the law firm depends on cross-selling of services and relying on data refiners.  The Downton Abbey Law Firm LLP model is now costume drama and not a business model.

How much of a law firm librarian’s day is taken up with training?  How can we effectively keep lawyers up to date? Kathryn McRae shared her AALL program insights of using very pragmatic guides to helping your attorneys get the most out of databases and software roll out projects.  Providing skeleton notes, getting creative with brainstorming, analyzing litigation analytics and reviewing the tried and true headnotes were all covered.  Guiding our attorneys on the information highway is just one more role for the firm librarian!

The last highlight covered was perhaps the most personal.  Anne LeCard discussed her experience as a member of CONELL (Conference of new law Librarians).  Anne’s enthusiasm for her profession got everyone talking about librarianship – special or law – and our “Highlights & Insights” meeting went into a happy hour of overtime.

Many thanks to Mary Matuszak for organizing this event, to Lucy Curci-Gonzalez for lending the NY Law Institute space and to Fastcase and the inimitable Chuck Lowry for providing food & beverage.