Michele on why she loves the body of knowledge, how she promotes a strong community, and the connections AALL gives her
Michele A. L. Villagran is an Assistant Professor at the School of Information, San José State University in San José, California.
WHY DID YOU JOIN AALL?
I was a new law library assistant moving from public librarianship into law librarianship. I wanted to gain skills and network with peers in order to learn more about the profession. I joined as a student because I felt it was an important part of my ongoing professional development. Initially it was about taking advantage of career resources and learning about the profession, and now it is so much more. AALL was, and still is seen as, the premier association to join for legal information professionals.
WHY DO YOU STAY A MEMBER?
I strongly believe in the mission and values of AALL, and love the AALL Body of Knowledge! I am vested in our professional; in helping others, in grooming future information professionals coming into the profession, and stay a member to have a voice and contribute to our profession. Staying a member offers the opportunity for me to give back and share my knowledge with other professionals to help promote a strong community. I enjoy the camaraderie and the opportunity to enhance my network by broadening that knowledge and staying informed about areas impacting our profession.
WHAT ONE MEMBERSHIP BENEFIT IS MOST VALUABLE TO YOU?
Of most value to me is the community; the connection with members of diverse backgrounds and segments. It goes beyond networking, but to the long-lasting relationships and friendships that AALL fosters. The community that AALL fosters has been a family to me.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY ASSOCIATED WITH AALL?
I remember my first AALL conference in the hot and humid San Antonio, Texas in 2005. I was a year out of library school and was venturing into this new world of law librarianship. A fond memory I have is of the law librarians that took me under their wing to help me grow and flourish. With the support of my then manager, Elizabeth Black Berry, and my mentor, Dr. Yvonne Chandler, I had the opportunity to dive into law librarianship and become a vested member of a wonderful association, AALL.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING OUTSIDE OF WORK?
My husband says I am always working. However, in reality, I am passionate about what I do and enjoy every minute of it, so I don’t see it as work. Outside of my tenure-track position at SJSU, I have a consulting firm, CulturalCo, in which I work with organizations to address their pain points around areas of diversity & inclusion, and am continually sought after for speaking engagements. I do make time to enjoy traveling with my husband, Rodolfo, whether it is a two-day local getaway or an international excursion. Any place with a beach and/or wine tasting is a plus!
WHAT BOOK(S) ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
I am currently reading: The Writer’s Book of Hope: Getting from Frustration to Publication by Ralph Keyes. Since I am in a tenure-track position, publishing is a must. This book was recommended by an academic librarian and it gives me hope! 🙂
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE TRAVEL/VACATION DESTINATION?
Mexico is #1 for travel/vacation and to live! Followed by Lisbon, Portugal… or even Tuscany, Italy!