SLA, Part 2: You Don't Look Like a Librarian


Monday morning began with a 7 AM SLA Legal Division Business Meeting generously sponsored by BNA. I learned that BNA employs 150 reporters to cover the Supreme Court and was informed of its "economic stimulus package", which includes additional tools for SLA members. Contance Ard, formerly of Greenebaum Doll & McDonald, announced a great slate of programs for the 2010 conference. While there, I also networked with other law librarians from Toronto, NYC, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Indiana and was asked to a be a contributor to the legal division's wiki.

Following the breakfast meeting, I attended both a session by Jay Liebowitz, a faculty member at Johns Hopkins, about the use of mapping tools to analyze the relationships within an organization and the latter portion of the Radical Reference session where I learned about a volunteer army of social activists who lend their research skills to providing answers to those who question authority.

The next item on the busy agenda was a networking luncheon where I joined a table of LIS students and hipsters with tatoos and pink hair from around the country. I chatted with a fellow genXer and art librarian about Mac Tools and our local roller derby chapters. After that, I toured the vendor expo where I tested my global business knowledge at The Economist's booth, gathered maps at NOAA and schwag from other vendors to share with my colleagues in the law library. The highlight was a book signing with my friend, Ruth Kneale, a systems librarian who just published You Don't Look Like a Librarian.

Later that afternoon, I delivered a projector to the "Librarian 1.0 to 2.0: The Future of Managing Content" session. Upon arrival, I noticed that the presenter's Macbook had a USB connection rather than a serial port connection and offered several alternate options for connectivity, to which her co-presenter declared me "brilliant". I reflected on his comment later that evening and delighted in the fact that amid fellow librarians and information professionals, my gender is not perceived as a handicap as it sometimes is among the male-dominated field of information technology.

I observed that the conference attendance was distributed equally among the genders and comprised of roughly 50% baby boomers, 25% genX/genY, and 25% from the silent generation. It is this diversity that continues to inspire and attract me to the profession.

The night concluded with a fabulous seafood dinner at Johnny's Half Shell followed by the IT Division's Sci-Fi Night, where I met two local science fiction authors and picked up a couple of copies from Jack Campbell's "Lost Fleet" series.

Ruth Kneale
Expo Vendor
President Obama