Presidents' Letter
By Kathryn C. Fitzhugh


Minutes of SWALL Business Meeting
Fort Worth
April 19, 2002 

by Susan Spillman


Treasurerís Report
by Joan O'Mara

SWALL 2003
by Mon Yin Lung



CONELL 2002:
My Adventure in the Central Florida Wilderness
and How to Become a "Conference Pro"

by John Conger

Connections Created: AALL 
by Lee F. Peoples

My AALL Experience 2002
by Daniel Bell


SWALL 2002: Fiery Fun in Fort Worth!
by Amy Hale-Janeke

Joint Study Institute, 2002 "Canadian Focus: Global View"  
by Catherine K. Harris


Award Winners in UALR
by Jessie L. Cranford

New Title:
State of Texas
Statutory Restrictions on Convicted Felons

SWALL Bulletin
The Official Publication of SWALL: 
The Southwestern Association of Law Libraries
A Chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries

Fall 2002, Vol. 33 No. 1 & 2




My AALL Experience: 2002

Reference Technology Law Librarian
Mabee Legal Information Center
University of Tulsa College of Law

The 95th annual AALL meeting was held July 20-24, 2002 in sunny, humid Orlando, Florida. The theme this year was "Creating Connections". This was my first AALL annual meeting, and I really had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that I had a presentation to give on the very last day, and I was stressed about speaking in front of who-knows-how-many-people. However, with the Conference of Newer Law Librarians (CONELL) the first day, "Creating Connections" turned out to be the theme for my experience as well.

Still in travel shock, 7:30am felt much earlier than it should have when I arrived at the Peabody Hotel for the CONELL program. I am not the most social person in the world, but my normal technique in these situations is to spot the other introvert in the crowd and strike up a conversation. I quickly learned though that law librarians will not let you be an introvert. I think I told my career story at least fifteen times in the first hour, and made at least that many new friends. I was surprised to meet so many firm and government librarians. Somewhere I had picked up the unconscious assumption that academic law librarians would be the vast majority at AALL. I was quite wrong, and it was an opportunity to see different viewpoints on the same issues we all encounter. The roundtable discussions were very helpful, giving me a chance to talk to other librarians with similar responsibilities and discover that the issues I deal with everyday are by no means unique to my library. I received several helpful suggestions, and hopefully was able to return the favor. If you are a new law librarian I cannot stress enough how much youíll get out of attending CONELL.

I was surprised to meet so many firm and government librarians.

Sunday through Tuesday I attended several programs on such topics as legal research exams, licensing agreements, and copyright law, and brought back many new ideas to try out back home. I attended a meeting of the Computing Services Special Interest Section and even volunteered for a committee. The exhibit hall had too many booths to visit in just one day, but I was able to learn a great deal at both the Lexis and Westlaw exhibits. I met so many people I think I have half of the jurisdictions in the U.S. covered should I ever need help with a reference question. Evenings were spent at the various organized activities with some of the new friends I had made, and then later back to my hotel room to hunch over my laptop making last minute changes to my presentation, which was hanging over me constantly.

My presentation was titled, "Access to Website Content for the Sight-Impaired."  Bill Draper, from the University of Pennsylvania's Biddle Law Library, was my co-presenter and the ring leader.  Bill has been interested in this area for several years through his work with the Lion's Club, and he found me because our Web site uses a parsing program that creates a screen-reader friendly version of our Web site. I admittedly wasn't that interested in the topic to begin with, but quickly converted as I discovered how difficult browsing the Web with a text-to-speech browser can be.

Originally the presentation was to be divided into three parts, Bill doing the legal aspects, Tony and Anne Marie Teal, a sight impaired husband & wife were to give their perspective, and finally me, giving the librarian/webmaster angle. Toni and Anne unfortunately had to cancel two weeks before AALL and we had to adjust the program. Bill and I took over parts of their program and at the last minute added a section to our presentation where I visited a few well known Web sites with a text-to-speech Web browser using the audio output from a laptop.

Wednesday, the last day, was a stress-filled blur.  Against all instincts I woke up early, abandoned my outline and wrote my presentation out, word for word. When presentation time rolled around at 8:45 I nervously counted and re-counted. The room seated probably 200, I think we ended up with almost 40. When it was my turn to speak I didnít look at my speech once, went on auto-pilot and am told I did well, but really canít remember. When questions came at the end I was pleasantly surprised that I could give intelligent answers to all of them.

All round, it was a very positive experience, and Iíd like to thank SWALL for awarding me a travel grant. The most striking thing about the whole convention was that, in a nation-wide profession such as ours, everyone seems to know everyone. For anyone who has never gone before, Iíd like to give two pieces of advice:  go to CONELL, and donít present on the very last day!


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