You know what makes the end of a summer semester even more insane and difficult to manage? Attending a professional conference! Even though I knew it was a decision that would perhaps cause friends of mine to question my sanity, I went for it anyway and attended the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Annual meeting a week and a half ago.
This was not my first professional conference since joining the wonderful world of professional librarianship, but this was my first national conference and mildly nerve-wracking in a number of new ways. At the New England Archivists meeting I attended in the spring, I felt very much at home because, well, I was with archivists. I could more or less assume that the majority of the people at the conference with me had receive/were receiving similar training, viewed the world of information in similar ways, and cared about many of the same issues that I do.
Among law librarians, I was not so comfortable. Hanging over my head the whole time was this worry that I didn’t belong there because I merely “fell into” this field by accident. I was self-conscious of my lack of knowledge of law librarianship “issues.” I realize now that this was a silly worry–there’s no rule that says you have to be a diehard _____ to go to a _____ conference. And it’s the fact that I haphazardly found myself in a library that inspired me to go to AALL in the first place. I was using this opportunity to gauge my own level of interest in the field to determine whether I could or would want to forge a place in it for myself.
The good news is, I achieved that goal. There were specific questions I was hoping to answer for myself, the perhaps craziest of which was “Should I go to law school after Simmons?” I’m relieved to report that I’ve decided that I will not be doing such a thing. A JD is important for anyone who wants to work as a reference librarian in a law library, but for the “behind-the-scenes” work that I’m interested in doing, it’s not necessary.
As far as everything else goes, I’ve decided that I certainly won’t shove law library job announcements into the “do not ever apply to this” box. I think I could be happy and successful in the field if I found the right kind of position. Who knows…maybe a law archivist (“lawrchivist”) position will open up at just the right moment, and everything that I’m doing as a library student will marry together perfectly. One can dream, right?