Judy Chalmers

Judy on being inspired at the AALL Annual Meeting and why she roots for the Patriots

AALL member Judy Chalmers

Judy Chalmers is the Catalog Librarian at the Sacramento County Public Law Library in California and has been a member of AALL since 2002. In her 14 years at county law libraries, she has worked in technical services, systems, and reference.

Why did you join AALL?

I joined AALL in 2002 when I began working at a county law library in Reno, Nevada. Previously I had worked at a major accounting firm, and as a business & legal research analyst for an energy company.  I was eager to learn about law librarianship and wanted to get involved in the association.

Why do you stay a member?

I am informed and inspired by the programs at the annual conference. Membership in the special interest groups, Technical Services and Government Law Libraries provides an opportunity to learn from colleagues in my area of law librarianship.

What one membership benefit is most valuable to you?

Two classes I have taken from AALL have been essential to my career as a cataloger—(Especially since I skipped the cataloging class in library school, shh). The Basic Law Cataloging class taught in snowy, cold Chicago one March is where I learned how to force the K, a practice unique to law library cataloging.  At the CONSER Serials Cataloging program at AALL in Boston, I learned how to handle serials records for law materials.

What is your favorite memory associated with AALL?

I attended my first ever library conference when I was a student at Texas Women’s University.  I won a scholarship for an essay I wrote on that year’s theme: “Information Revolution”.  It was 1996 and the Mosaic web browser was popularizing the World Wide Web.  When I was a new law librarian, the first AALL conference I attended was also in Boston.  The Red Sox won the world’s series that year, for the first time in 86 years, so there was a lot of excitement in the city! I was raised in a small town less than two hours from Boston.  It was fun showing a colleague around Bean Town on the subway when we went to Faneuil Hall Marketplace and Filene’s basement.  An added bonus, I was able to go home too!  After I started my current position in Sacramento and it was my turn to attend the annual conference, the AALL conference was in Boston again!  Say “annual conference” and I think “Boston”!

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I have a T-shirt with the words “Books, Cats” on the top, a graphic image of a black & white cat sprawled on a stack of books in the middle, and “Life is sweet” at the bottom.  I have had some truly awesome cats that bring me a lot of joy. I like to read about whatever spikes my curiosity, whether it’s mapping a trip or creating a Facebook page for an organization.  I enjoy traveling, exploring and taking photos of the beautiful scenery.  Over the years, I have served in leadership capacities in various lay ministries.

What book(s) are you currently reading?

I found In Search of Your British & Irish Roots: a Complete Guide to Tracing Your English, Welsh, Scottish, & Irish Ancestors at a library book sale. My grandfather emigrated from Scotland, and I am interested in researching my Scottish roots.   For professional reading, Linked Data for Libraries, Archives and Museums: How to Clean, Link and Publish Your Metadata sits on my desk.

What’s your favorite travel/vacation destination?

I was raised in New England but lived in Nevada and now in California for nearly 20 years. There are so many beautiful lakes, mountains, and state parks within a short drive. I enjoy weekend or longer trips in Nevada to Lake Tahoe, Pyramid Lake (on the Paiute Tribe Reservation), and Virginia City (old mining town on the Comstock).  In California, I’ve visited many places of interest such as Bodie (California Ghost Town), Yosemite National Park, the California Wine County in Napa & Sanoma, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Squaw Valley Ski Resort in Olympic Valley (host site of the 1960 Winter Olympics), and Bodega Bay and Bodega (where Hitchcock’s “The Bird’s” was filmed).  I can attest that California’s Pacific Coast Highway 1 from San Francisco to Ft. Bragg lives up to its name as “Dramamine Highway”. The breath-taking vistas are worth the winding curves and ups and downs. It helps to stop often and take photos.

While I love exploring new places, I am still a New Englander at heart and a Patriot’s fan—especially when they play the San Francisco 49ers.