Welcome to Part One of the AALL 2017 Conference Edition of Ask PEGA, an advice column for all PEGA-SIS members. Just a reminder all questions can be submitted here and will be answered on a rolling basis by our anonymous pool of upper and middle managers from law libraries of all types and sizes.
- Have a Plan But Stay Flexible: Look at the conference schedule before you go, and identify priorities. If your employer requires you to do certain things (or if, you know, you’re presenting!) make sure you mark your “MUST DO” items, then keep a list of your “WANTS.” But overall, stay flexible. There are often overlapping programs or meetings that appeal to the same theme and sometimes you end up making a decision based on who you’re spending time with or how far you feel like walking, or whether you want to grab coffee or refill a water bottle on the way. That’s valid.
- Don’t Forget to Plan for the Exhibit Hall: You will have chosen your ‘must attend’ programs and events, but don’t forget to include time for the exhibit hall! Plan ahead for which booths to visit, posters to attend, and what questions you want to ask with Vendors.
- You Don’t Have to Stay: If you’re trying to decide between two programs in the same time slot, it’s okay to leave halfway through to go to the other. Just sit/stand somewhere in back. Make notes of programs that will be providing handouts or slides. Don’t try to write everything down ― just absorb!
- Ask Questions: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you’re wondering something, I guarantee others are wondering the same thing. If you’re not comfortable asking a question in front of the room, go up to the speakers afterward or get their email addresses or phone numbers and contact them later. This happens all the time and most speakers are more than happy to follow up!
- Branch Out: The obvious answer is that you should attend programs that are related to your job responsibilities. However, I find it useful to also choose a few programs to attend on topics that are outside your responsibilities and/or outside your library type. This approach can help you think creatively and keep you up-to-date about issues facing law librarianship and the legal profession.