Kris on how important continuing education is and how AALL provides opportunities for profession growth
Kris Turner is the Assistant Director of Public Services at the University of Wisconsin Law Library in Madison, Wisconsin.
Why did you join AALL?
I joined AALL in 2013 as soon as I was hired as the Reference and Technology Librarian. My director and my co-workers were all active in AALL and had plenty of great things to say about the conferences and the connections they had made with other legal information professionals. I am a “Libyer”, having my MLS before returning to law school to get my JD, so I wanted to better understand the legal aspect of law librarianship and networking with others seemed like a great way to do that. Fortunately, I was right! AALL was the first national organization I ever joined and Seattle 2013 was the first national conference I ever attended, so the organization holds a special place in my heart.
Why do you stay a member?
I believe that continuing education is one of the most important and overlooked aspects of any professional career. It is very easy to get into a groove once you have finished your schooling and not continue to challenge yourself and develop as a librarian. AALL gives me the opportunity to grow as a legal researcher and challenge myself by thinking about new ways to engage with our patrons and with information management. After being a member for the past seven years, it is now also a great chance to stay connected with friends and colleagues from across the US (and beyond). It’s always great to catch up with everyone each, see what they have been up to, and trade “war stories” each July.
What one membership benefit is most valuable to you?
It is tough to choose, but the SIS discussions have been an incredible help to me. To have a chance to review how others are solving problems, hear about innovative programming or teaching or to simply learn about a cool new webinar is truly invaluable. AALL does a great job facilitating community and the relatively recent addition of the KnowItAALL digest has been just another feather in the cap. To have an aggregated feed about member achievements and developments is really great. I wish more organizations had a similar communication tool.
What is your favorite memory associated with AALL?
While I was the CS-SIS education chair, I helped organize two webinars that were part of the monthly AALL webinar series. Both of them took quite a bit of work to organize and plan but I remember sitting in my office while we were live and listening to the great speakers and being amazed at how helpful and creative their sessions were. I was also a bit relieved since the planning was finished! Of course, I have plenty of fond memories associated with the Annual Conference as well, ranging from having my picture taken with Texas Longhorns in San Antonio to touring the Georgetown Law Library in DC. Library tourism is the best, and AALL always allows me to visit some wonderful libraries.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Like pretty much any librarian, I love to read as much as I can. But I also enjoy bar trivia, going to concerts (the louder the better), and playing with my daughter. She is still too young to get into too much trouble and she still thinks I’m funny and not embarrassing, so I have to enjoy that for now.
What book[s] are you currently reading?
I just finished A Little Hatred, a dark fantasy novel by Joe Abercrombie. If you like Game of Thrones, then Abercrombie may be the next author to check out. Earlier this year I read The Overstory, a sprawling novel that revolves around the effect that trees and plant life have on human lives and in turn the effect that humans have on the environment. I was not sure about it at first, but it has stuck with me. Finally, I had to read the recent collection of the revamped Nancy comics. I was shocked at how funny three panel comic strips can be.
What’s your favorite travel/vacation destination?
They saved the toughest question for last! My wife and I rarely go back to the same place. That’s my fault – I am always revising my travel bucket list with new places. However, some places I’ve visited seem to be calling to me to return. The California coast around Monterey and Big Sur was one of my favorites with an amazing coastline and fun local culture. Internationally, I was able to visit Edinburgh in college and loved it. Finally, my wife and I both enjoy camping and her childhood campground is located near Minocqua, Wisconsin. It is very serene, relaxing and pretty – and the one location we have been back to multiple times.