Monday, 23 January 2012
The View from Scotland
I was asked why I attended my first BIALL conference and I am ashamed to say that the answer that sprung to mind was "I was made to go". This isn't entirely true and looking back I know it should really be "I was given the amazing opportunity to attend", although my flight phobia did not approve. I had just started a new job and was in their head office getting induction training when the head of department said she was booking me in for BIALL conference in Cork. I had heard of management level colleagues at my previous job going and knew they were always talking about the conferences so knew it was a great opportunity, and it turned out to be just that. I've been most years since then and it has helped with my professional development and just as importantly with networking. My career path has really shown that "its not what you know its who you know". So get there and get talking would be my advice! The first time is a little un-nerving but it soon becomes obvious that Law Librarians are lovely people (obviously!) and its worth making that first step and saying hello, soon you will be enveloped into the BIALL family. Listening at sessions is also important obviously and even if you only come back to the library with one or two action points that are applicable to your working environment it was worth the time it took to attend.
Keeping in touch
My current job is not a truly Law Librarian post, although there is a library I'm in charge of I do a lot more general administration tasks. So I thought maybe it wouldn't be so necessary to continue my attendance at the BIALL conference every year. However a few years on, I am now convinced that my attendance is even more crucial: to keep in touch with what's going on for other librarians; to get ideas of how to develop our very old fashioned library; to see what new tools our solicitor members may have access to; and, to meet and talk to new and old friends. Straying from the path of true librarianship is not as scary if you keep a foot on the original path and stay true to what you are. As with any role it is important to keep your finger on the pulse and know what's going on, not just for your own corner but across the profession - who knows where you could end up in the future, or what enquiry you may be given tomorrow.
Contributed by Maria Robertson