What a rare opportunity: to attend an international conference right here in New England. The International Association of Law Libraries (IALL)'s 21st Annual Course on International Law Librarianship, Order from Chaos: Contexts for Global Legal Information, brought together librarians from near and far October 20 through the 23rd, 2002, on the campus of Yale Law School.
Like me, many law librarians from the US, and particularly the northeast, were able to attend IALL for the first time. IALL, whose membership is drawn from the global community of law librarians, holds its Annual Course at locations around the world. The less expensive and shorter travel to New Haven brought a big turnout, in which the US was strongly represented. As a "first timer" at IALL, I was impressed and engaged by the programs.
Yale Law School Library and the library staff, as host, did an incredible job of making sure everything ran smoothly for participants. The attendees were even treated to a trip to the first law school in the United States, Litchfield Law School. Even the bus ride, through the Litchfield Hills, complete with fall foliage, was an event to remember. All of the attendees were impressed by how well the conference was organized by the IALL Local Planning Committee: Mark Engsberg, Blair Kauffman, Tracy Thompson, Dan Wade and IALL Board Liaison Silke Sahl.
Unlike AALL, all participants at IALL attend sessions and meals together. The group is much smaller, which allowed participants to get to know each other quite well. Session covered topics of particular interest to international and foreign law specialists.
Programs included a look at the history of the American legal publishing industry, the history of American legal education, a day at the United Nations and presentations on international criminal law and human rights. Additionally, there was an optional day on Islamic Law at Harvard Law School on October 24.
In addition to the programs, IALL presented a unique opportunity to connect with librarians from the United States, and meet law librarians who work in countries as far as South Africa (where IALL will hold its Annual Course in 2003) Moldova, Nigeria, and Australia. A group of Russian law librarians who attended IALL are attempting to form a Russian association of law librarians, similar to AALL.
Attending IALL was such a wonderful experience. I encourage anyone who has the opportunity to attend IALL take full advantage of it. Even if you are not a specialist in international or foreign law, it is incredible to meet law librarians from so many different countries, and discover how much we all actually have in common.
To learn more about IALL and its Annual Course, please see: http://www.iall.org/
Next: Best of the Bad: The Sixteenth Annual Dunn-In Awards
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