Kathy on how AALL has helped her adopt new technologies, make friends, and get support when she needs it
Kathy Carlson is the Legal Review Administrator at the Office of the Wyoming Attorney General in Cheyenne, Wyoming
WHY DID YOU JOIN AALL?
I joined AALL both to have a link to other law librarians and to benefit from the educational opportunities AALL provides.
I saw membership as an opportunity to interact with a group of individuals who faced the same issues that I was dealing with and could provide ideas and direction on how to deal with those issues. I took over the directorship of the Wyoming State Law Library after only 18 months after graduation from library school and a year on the job, so the mentorship I received was invaluable.
I also saw membership as an opportunity to benefit from the continuing education AALL provides. The world is ever changing and I knew I would have to continually learn new skills to keep up. When I started, computers were few and far between and the high end of technology in most libraries was an electric typewriter. Things have changed a lot since then and the programs I attended over the years allowed me to move with the times and to adopt technology that both made my job easier and improved users’ access to legal information. Boy, do I love word processing.
WHY DO YOU STAY A MEMBER?
The network of colleagues AALL provides and the friends I have made along the way.
The network of support from my colleagues nationwide cannot be beat. Everyone has been very willing to assist when I have posed a question or when I am trying to locate a resource that is obscure or that I do not have access to locally. I don’t think that there has ever been a time that I have requested assistance that someone (and most times more than one someone) did not lend a helping hand.
I have also made a number of lasting friendships. I would encourage everyone to volunteer. While volunteering does provide a service to the association, more importantly, it provides an opportunity to interact and get to know people from all around the country. I cherish the friends I have made.
WHAT ONE MEMBERSHIP BENEFIT IS MOST VALUABLE TO YOU?
The educational programming. The programs are specifically aimed at current issues law librarians are dealing with. When I started, the AALL Annual Meeting was pretty much the limit, but as technology has advanced, additional and more specialized training opportunities have been added.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY ASSOCIATED WITH AALL?
This one is hard because I have many. One of the first things that comes to mind is the opportunity I had to work on a couple of AALL publications. I was honored to serve on the Task Force that drafted the first edition of the AALL Guide to Fair Business Practices for Legal Publishers. I also am proud of the work I did on the Universal Citation Guide. That pride actually extends beyond just working on the Guide. I was able to convince Chief Justice Lehman of the value of the Universal Citation, and he signed an order adopting it in Wyoming without any questions. I say that this was my contribution to Wyoming jurisprudence. And without the opportunity provided by AALL to serve on the Committee putting together the Guide, I would have never thought to present the proposal to him.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING OUTSIDE OF WORK?
I am a real puzzle addict. I just finished an annual challenge called the Almaniac—it sharpens the thinking skills used that are used in providing reference and is fun besides. I also spend a lot of time planning my husband’s and my travels. If I hadn’t become a law librarian, I think I would have done well as a travel agent.
WHAT BOOK(S) ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
I am a murder mystery fan. Right now I am reading the Donna Andrews’ series that have a bird in the title (starting with Murder with Peacocks).
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE TRAVEL/VACATION DESTINATION?
My husband and I are real Disney fans, so we like to go to Walt Disney World or Disneyland on a regular basis. We also decided early on that we would take trips that required stamina while we were young enough to enjoy them, so we have been to a number of exotic places—China, India, and South Africa to name a few. I would go back to a game reserve, be it in South Africa or some other African nation, in a heartbeat.