Note: This is the third in what is hoped will be a series of columns about the experiences of those new to the academic law librarianship profession—ed.
I am a strong believer in the thought that you get out of life what you put into it. So when I became a law librarian, I immediately joined a variety of professional organizations and committees. I wanted to invest in the profession in order to get the most out of being a law librarian. You name it and I joined it: national chapters, regional chapters, local chapters, and special interest sections. I am sure I am not alone in this action. Other new law librarians certainly do the same thing. And we really reap the benefits of our involvement. We create both wonderful relationships with colleagues and professional opportunities for ourselves.
But it has not been without cost. There were days when we wonder if we bit off more than we could chew. At times, it is difficult to do each task to the best of our ability. In the end, I survived all my committee involvement and am the better for it. This was due in part to my work place being very supportive of professional activities. But I do not think that this route is for everyone. Anything in excess is not a good thing. The same goes for involvement in organizations and committees.
So here is what I have learned from my committee experiences. Choose wisely. Speak to people to learn which committees would best suit your goals and personality. But remember that what is best for someone else may not be what is best for you. Just because someone else enjoyed a particular committee or organization does not mean you will. You are the best judge of what is the right fit for you. Finally, if you are starting a new job or were recently promoted, take time to become familiar with your position before you take on additional responsibilities. If you really just can't wait to join, then go ahead. But be sure that you have a supportive environment in which to take on your new endeavors.