Fred on How AALL Makes Him Feel Like Part of a Larger Community
Fred Dingledy is a Senior Reference Librarian at The Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.
Why did you join AALL?
I originally joined AALL near the end of my M.A.L.I.S. studies so I could go to the Annual Meeting. The Career Center drew me in, but I also found that the Annual Meeting was a great way to network and to get up to date with what was new in the profession. I’d also gone to the ALA annual meeting while I was earning my Master degree, but that conference was overwhelmingly huge. AALL is big enough that you can meet people across the profession, but still intimate enough that it feels like you get more out of membership than a magazine subscription.
Why do you stay a member?
Being able to connect with other AALL members. I’ve had a great time being able to serve with other librarians on SIS committees or in local chapters — whether it’s being co-chair of LH&RB’s Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Competition (or getting the honor and pleasure of being LH&RB’s incoming Vice-Chair come July), former president of VALL, a committee member of CS-SIS or RIPS-SIS, or taking part in all the informative programming and services FCIL-SIS has to offer. Each of these parts of AALL gave me the opportunity to work with people across the country and across the spectrum of law librarianship. Talking with AALL members, whether online or in person, has helped open me up to new ideas and new possibilities. Sometimes, we need a fresh take on issues we’re considering, and the networking and communication options available through AALL help make that possible. AALL helps you feel like you’re part of a larger community – helps you feel like you’re not isolated.
What one membership benefit is most valuable to you?
The Annual Meeting. Great way to keep in touch with fellow librarians. Related to the Annual Meeting, I’d also like to point out CS-SIS’s Cool Tools videos–videos highlighting some of the useful tools covered at the Annual Meeting’s CS-SIS Cool Tools Café. I also want to put a quick word in for the KnowItAALL newsletter; I usually find at least one or two interesting links from it every day.
What is your favorite memory associated with AALL?
When I gave a presentation for the Roman Law Interest Group at the Annual Meeting. I had a lot of fun discussing Justinian and Countess Matilda with everyone.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I enjoy reading and TV (still got a big backlog to work on). My wife and I like to travel; locally, we’ve frequented Busch Gardens (I have to confess I never went there before we met, even though it’s only a 20-minute drive away). I also play cello (mostly for myself; I’m not up to public-performance level).
What book(s) are you currently reading?
I’m hopping across a few books right now: Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (yep, I’ve caught Hamilton fever), Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham (I’ve come to realize how little I know about Jefferson, and since I work at a college he’s connected to, I figure I should remedy that), The Romanovs by Simon-Sebag Montefiore (a gift from my wife – a look at the family that ruled Russia for centuries), K.J. Parker’s Mightier than the Sword (fantasy novella in the form of an academic translation of an ancient document — a report by an imperial legate sent to visit outposts across the frontier to figure out why pirates are attacking), and Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch (some urban fantasy reading: London Probationary Constable discovers he can talk to the dead). I’m also enjoying a webcomic called Drive by Dave Kellett – in my opinion, one of the best scifi stories around these days, period (humans stumbled across a faster-than-light drive that lets them create an empire spanning the galaxy. Problem is, the aliens that invented the technology aren’t happy, and they give humans an ultimatum: stop using the drive and turn it over immediately – or else).
What’s your favorite travel/vacation destination?
My wife and I went to Japan for our honeymoon. Beautiful sights: hot springs, temples, castles, the bright lights of Tokyo, delicious food, amazing ways of meshing the past and the future together. I miss the trains there.
I also enjoy Spain – I spent a couple of weeks in Madrid last year as an on-site person for a summer abroad program William & Mary Law School had. Madrid had some amazing museums (Prado and the National Archaeological Museum were my favorites), and it was great to see buildings, artwork, and artifacts from various empires going back to Roman times. (Good trains, too.) Another highlight was the Real Alcázar in Seville; it’s an interesting mix of Arabic, Moorish, Baroque, Renaissance, and 19th century styles – not to mention where they shot some of the Dorne scenes for Game of Thrones.
We have a lot of fun in Las Vegas. Saw Penn and Teller there last year, and the hotels along the Strip are a show in themselves.