Tammy on rejoining AALL and why she loves AALL Spectrum and LLJ
Tammy R. P. Oltz is the Law Library Director at University of North Dakota School of Law Thormodsgard Law Library in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
WHY DID YOU JOIN AALL?
I actually joined AALL twice. The first time, I joined as a student member when I was still earning my MSI. At that time, I joined to learn more about law librarianship, take advantage of scholarship and publishing opportunities, and begin networking in the profession. After working as reference librarian for two years, I left law librarianship for a while—first for a career services position and then for a law faculty position. Eventually, I found my way back to law librarianship as a director, and the first thing I did was rejoin AALL. This time, I joined to catch up with what I had missed during my years out of law librarianship. The person in the position before me had retired and wasn’t around to give advice, and I had been out of the field for a few years, so it was a pretty big learning curve when I started as a Director. AALL was essential to helping me succeed on the job.
WHY DO YOU STAY A MEMBER?
To me, being a member of AALL is vital for keeping up with new trends and best practices in law librarianship. The resources—from the journals to the Association publications to the special interest sections, etc.—allow me to stay current in the field. Some AALL resources, such as the AALL Salary Survey, also help me to advocate for my employees and the law library as a whole. Although I have now been a director for five years, I still find gaps in my knowledge that AALL helps me fill; however, I’m also at a point in my career where I feel like I have something to give back to the profession, and AALL is a great place to do that.
WHAT ONE MEMBER BENEFIT IS MOST VALUABLE TO YOU?
I am a huge fan of AALL Spectrum and Law Library Journal. The amount of amazing work that law librarians are doing is thrilling, and I love reading about it and learning from them.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY ASSOCIATED WITH AALL?
I got my first law librarianship job through AALL! I attended the 2006 AALL Annual Meeting in St. Louis when I was still a student, and I met so many amazing people there. While I ultimately opted to take a position at UCLA Law Library (which was, by the way, a wonderful place to work!), I am really lucky that in the course of my job search, I had the opportunity to interview at Vermont Law School when Carl Yirka was director. Carl was such a force and such a fascinating, funny, and all-around good person. During my campus interview, we stopped at a local event where someone invited me to churn butter. I was in my interview suit, and I guess that made a funny picture, because I made the front page of the local paper. Someone from the law school sent me a copy of it afterward.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING OUTSIDE OF WORK?
My husband and I have three boys under the age of four as well as a puppy and two cats, so that keeps me pretty busy! Right now, based strictly on how my time is allotted, it looks like my favorite things to do outside of work are blowing bubbles, playing with matchbox cars, and singing “Wheels on the Bus” 10 times in a row. But I do manage to squeeze in some reading, a few favorite TV shows, and a lot of podcasts, especially on true crime and home organizing.
WHAT BOOK(S) ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
In print: The Celebration of Insignificance, by Milan Kundera
On audible: Essentialism, by Greg McKeown and Decluttering at the Speed of Life, by Dana K. White
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE TRAVEL/VACATION DESTINATION?
I’m a nomad at heart; my ideal vacation would be jumping in the car and driving wherever the mood takes me. This quote from an Edna St. Vincent Millay poem pretty much sums it up: “My heart is warm with the friends I make, And better friends I’ll not be knowing; Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take, No matter where it’s going.”