Lee F. Peoples, Head of Reference Services, Oklahoma City University Law Library
“Creating Connections” was the theme of this year’s American Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting and it became reality throughout the event. The first connection I noticed was between my sweaty clothes and body while waiting in the shade of a palm tree on International Drive for the trolley. Despite the Florida heat I managed to make more significant international connections: formal ones with new ideas at organized sessions and informal social connections at smaller meetings and receptions.
Devolution in the United Kingdom: A Revolution in Online Legal Research outlined the transfer of power back to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the sources of legislation produced by the new regional legislatures. It was exciting to hear the program presenters speak with conviction and purpose about local democratic rule created by the devolution of power. This devolution has also produced something equally exciting for law librarians interested in foreign legal materials, free access to regional legislative documents at the websites of the respective legislatures http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/index.html, http://www.wales.gov.uk/index.htm and http://www.ni-assembly.gov.uk/index.htm, with an article discussing devolution at http://www.llrx.com/features/devolution.htm.
Connecting With the Worldwide Effort to Combat Crimes Against Humanity: The Creation of the International Criminal Court provided a scholarly discussion of the need for, creation and bases of jurisdiction for the International Criminal Court. Professor Roger Clark began the discussions with an introduction to the traditional (territory and nationality) and non-traditional (passive personality and universal) bases of jurisdiction for the ICC. Professor Clark outlined how these bases of jurisdiction have been used in past international criminal proceedings and treaties. Useful power point slides from the presentation are reprinted in the Educational Program Handout Materials. David Sterling discussed treaty negotiation, ratification and the future of the ICC. He provided URL’s to several relevant websites including the Coalition’s home page with current news and events, a detailed section on the Rome Conference and links to documents; a page with advocacy resources; and the UN website for the ICC with links to all authoritative documents. William Pace discussed the significance of the entry into force of the Rome Treaty and elaborated upon the Coalition’s efforts to create the ICC.
I also managed to attend the early morning meeting of the FCIL-SIS Teaching Foreign and International Legal Research Interest Group. The consensus was that posting course syllabi for foreign and international legal research courses was beneficial and should continue in the future. Librarians and faculty members from Peking University were present and discussed their database of Chinese laws and regulations.
Attending social events and the exhibit hall proved to be a valuable way to meet fellow international law librarians. The International Association of Law Libraries reception provided an excellent opportunity to meet distinguished international law librarians and hear about the upcoming meeting hosted by Yale Law School this Fall. Several foreign and international book vendors were in attendance in the exhibit hall. Meeting them and hearing about new titles and databases was an interesting collection development exercise.
Another worthwhile experience was meeting my AALL assigned mentor. I specified my interested in international law when applying for a mentor and was matched with an international law librarian. It was very encouraging for me as a young international law librarian to meet someone with several years of experience willing to share insights and knowledge. The discipline of international law librarianship would be well served if more experienced members chose to participate in the mentoring project.
Connections were definitely created at this year’s AALL Annual Meeting. I left more educated and motivated about international law librarianship than ever. I felt reassured in my decision to become a law librarian because of the people I met. They came to the profession from diverse backgrounds, did interesting things at their libraries and most of all were eager and willing to share their knowledge and experience with a new law librarian.