AALL 2016: Evolving with Efficiency

By Alison Hancock
Even though I have only been employed as a law librarian for two years, the theme of the AALL 2016 Annual Meeting, “Making It New Creating the Future,” strongly resonates with me.  The legal market, technology, and access to information are all rapidly and constantly changing.  It is a challenge, to say the least, to find a way to evolve with these changes without breaking our backs or the bank.  The programs that I attended and conversations that I had with other librarians at the AALL 2016 Annual Meeting gave me some great ideas about how to make quick and efficient changes that will be valuable to the users of my library.
The keynote speaker, Will Evans, discussed the using Lean Startup principles when designing new programs or services for our users.  Lean Startup emphasizes the importance involving users in the process of creating programs and tools that we design for them.  The Chicago Pubic Library presented later in the conference on how they have applied Lean Startup principles to their programming.  They explained that while at first the idea of getting users involved in the process of creating new programs may seem like it is slowing the process down, it actually speeds things up because programs that are not effective are cut before they are fully developed.  I am excited to apply some of these Learn Startup principles to projects that I am working on in my library.
Additional sessions gave me ideas about tools that my library could utilize or create.  I especially enjoyed the Cool Tools Café because its informal setup allowed for more interaction between the attendees.  I was able to learn not just about the tools that the presenters were using but also about the comparable tools or different applications that my fellow attendees are using in their libraries. I also attended a session about quickly creating video tutorials and a session about creating dashboards which gave some great ideas about how I can facilitate access to training and to personalized content in my organization.
Overall, I was very impressed with the creativity and helpfulness of the librarians who presented and who I interacted with at AALL.  I left the conference excited and hopeful about the future of our profession.  I am extremely thankful to VALL and to my employer for making it possible for me to attend the AALL 2016 Annual Meeting in Chicago.


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The Virginia Association of Law Libraries (VALL) supports and serves its members’ professional pursuits by fostering a spirit of leadership and cooperation, providing educational and leadership opportunities, and promoting and enhancing the value of law libraries.

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