Re-CALLing Halifax

Now that I've more or less settled back into the daily grind, I wanted to take some time to reflect on my experience at the 2018 Canadian Association of Law Libraries/l'Association canadienne des bibliothèques de droit (CALL/ACBD) Annual Conference. CALL/ACBD attracts law librarians and other legal information specialists from across Canada. From May 27-30, 2018, 197 delegates convened in beautiful Halifax, Nova Scotia.

 I highly recommend visiting Peggy's Cove to watch the sunset.

I highly recommend visiting Peggy's Cove to watch the sunset.

This year was different for me. I first joined CALL/ACBD in 2015, when I was working in a private law library. At the time, I didn't do a whole lot other than participate in the Mentorship Program. This year, I went to my third CALL/ACBD conference and I am far more involved with the Association now. The biggest role I currently play is being Co-Chair of the 2019 Conference Planning Committee (CPC) alongside my beloved mentor, Josette McEachern (Library Manager at Field Law, Edmonton) for when the party comes to my city. Our amazing Edmonton team arranged an exhibit table complete with 72-hour city guides, a business card draw for a locally-curated basket of goodies, an interactive "question of the day" flip chart, and "save the date" chocolates hand-wrapped by members of the 2019 CPC. Josette and I also presented the 2019 logo and theme on the final day of this year's conference, which featured the "Fun Funicular" music video you may have seen on Facebook. I am beyond excited about CALL/ACBD coming to Edmonton and I can't wait to see many of you there!

 Josette and I were ready to promote the heck out of Edmonton!

Josette and I were ready to promote the heck out of Edmonton!

 Our prize basket included locally-roasted coffee beans from  Rogue Wave , notepads and pens from  Alberta Law Libraries , triple chocolate chip cookies from  Duchess Bake Shop ,  Edmonton Cooks:   Signature Recipes from the City's Best Chefs  from  Audreys Books , and mittens, a water bottle, and bag from  Edmonton Public Library .

Our prize basket included locally-roasted coffee beans from Rogue Wave, notepads and pens from Alberta Law Libraries, triple chocolate chip cookies from Duchess Bake Shop, Edmonton Cooks: Signature Recipes from the City's Best Chefs from Audreys Books, and mittens, a water bottle, and bag from Edmonton Public Library.

 Our theme for the 2019 CALL/ACBD Annual Conference is,  Get Informed. Be Inspired. Innovate .

Our theme for the 2019 CALL/ACBD Annual Conference is, Get Informed. Be Inspired. Innovate.

In addition to the CPC, I am also a member of the Membership Development Committee, Webinar Planning Sub-Committee, and the New Professionals Special Interest Group. Speaking of the New Professionals SIG, we presented our first SIG-sponsored conference session! I was delighted to be on a panel with Alan Kilpatrick (Reference Librarian at the Law Society of Saskatchewan Library) and Veronika Kollbrand (Reference Librarian at the University of British Columbia, Peter A. Allard School of Law). Our session was moderated by Bronwyn Guiton (Senior Librarian at the British Columbia Ministry of the Attorney General, Legal Services). There was a good number of people in the room from varying points in their careers. Alan, Veronika, Bronwyn, and I are within our first 5 years of law librarianship. We each spoke about different aspects of networking based on our own personal experiences. I spoke about how you can build a strong professional network even if you're introverted and socially awkward. Alan talked about the importance of taking the initiative to start networking and embracing new opportunities. Veronika talked about different ways to network both inside and outside of the workplace. For the second half of our session, Bronwyn facilitated a Q&A portion, soliciting responses from the 3 of us while adding her own anecdotes. It was a lot of fun and I hope to see more breakout sessions presented by new professionals in the future!

 "Taking the 'Work' Out of Networking: Build Relationships, Not a Stack of Business Cards" brought to you by the New Professionals SIG. Photo courtesy of  Matthew Renaud  (Acting Liaison Librarian at the University of Manitoba, E.K. Williams Law Library)

"Taking the 'Work' Out of Networking: Build Relationships, Not a Stack of Business Cards" brought to you by the New Professionals SIG. Photo courtesy of Matthew Renaud (Acting Liaison Librarian at the University of Manitoba, E.K. Williams Law Library)

CALL/ACBD offers support to its members through several channels. You can become a part of a niche community that suits you by joining various committees and special interest groups. You can share your knowledge with colleagues through workshops, conference sessions, and publication in the Canadian Law Library Review. You can also apply for financial assistance through Association-specific scholarships and awards. I am honoured to be the 2018 recipient of the CALL/ACBD Research Grant. The grant will fund my project entitled, "Accessing Legal Information as a Self-Represented Litigant in Rural Alberta". I've been thinking about this project since my first day at the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta (CPLEA) about 2 years ago. CPLEA is doing some great work in making legal information and education accessible for Albertans, but more needs to be done for those living in communities that are isolated from essential services and resources. That is what I hope to tackle or at least start to. This summer, I will be working on the initial phase of my research project - the environmental scan! Many thanks to the Committee to Promote Research and Executive Board for presenting me with this incredible opportunity.

Now that I've been to this conference a few times, there are some familiar faces at CALL/ACBD and things don't feel as foreign as they did initially. I have some wonderful mentors and colleagues that I truly enjoy connecting and reconnecting with. I'm doing a job I love, in a field that I continue to grow very fond of, and I'm feeling more in my element than I've ever felt before. This year was different, but a good kind of different.

#NEWLIBSYMP17

Whether you are a new professional in the LIS field or one well-established in the profession, #NEWLIBSYMP17 is a hashtag on Twitter you should look up and read through.

Just last week, I had the privilege of attending the second running of the New Librarians Symposium organized by Ali Versluis (@aliversluis) and Juliene McLaughlin. The symposium is free-of-charge to attendees, comprised solely of new grads or new professionals to library science.

This year's theme was "Overcoming Obstacles", which encouraged attendees to think critically about the challenges they face as those within the early years of their careers in librarianship, while engaging in meaningful networking and collaboration.

The program consisted of several lightning talks, fast chats, a Real Talk panel, and a workshop. The lightning talks very much followed the theme, as each speaker discussed an obstacle they faced, ranging from the treacherous job hunt to "whiteness" in archives to strategies for self-care. It was all information that needed to be heard by the eager group of individuals seated before them. The fast chats were structured conversations with new professionals who weren't familiar with one another, in an attempt to exercise problem solving and active listening skills. Some problems were resolved more quickly than others and some remained unchanged, reflecting the realities of the workplace. The Real Talk panel was very... real. Some slightly less new new professionals answered some big questions floating around in the minds of many new professionals and offered honest, uncensored advice. Lastly, the workshop, facilitated by Melanie Parlette-Stewart and Sajni Lacey, addressed how to confront the all-too-familiar "imposter syndrome".

In addition to the full day of programming, flip chart paper was placed along a wall in the room with questions for attendees to answer via post-it. Many wrote their own post-its, while some added a +1 or checkmark to indicate their agreement with what was said. These were the results:

Photos generously provided by Mari V (@marvellings)

Re-CALLing Vancouver

For the past 2 years, SLA has been my choice conference to attend, but this year, I opted for a new experience, and attended the CALL/ACBD Annual Conference for the first time, held in Vancouver, BC from May 15-18, 2016. While I missed out on the 2016 SLA IT Dance Party in Philly, CALL/ACBD was absolutely incredible. There is something so gratifying about being surrounded by professionals in your field, but even more so when they are all from your niche within the field. There isn't really a need to explain yourself from square one, because everyone there faces the same challenges and obstacles that you do in your everyday work.

I feel honoured to have received a bursary from the Eunice Beeson Memorial Travel Fund, to support my attendance at the CALL/ACBD AGM. Thank you very much to CALL/ACBD for your generosity!

To contrast slightly with my previous conference recaps, I wanted to include something a little different. Upon my return to the office, I was asked to produce a report summarizing my conference experience for my supervisor. This sort of thing actually isn't that uncommon. While reports may seem daunting and time-consuming, they are well worth the effort. A strong report on the conference/seminar/workshop/etc. you attended could serve as evidence to support your attendance at another one. 

While I was working to put my report together, I couldn't find a template or example that seemed to encompass all that I wished to, so I made my own. Please click on the link below to view my submitted report. My hope is that it might help you with your professional development requests in the future.

Report on Conference Attended (re CALL/ACBD 2016)

Of course, what would a conference recap be without a fun infographic? Here are some of the highlights of my CALL/ACBD 2016 experience (created via Piktochart):

re-calling-2016.png

For a more comprehensive look into what transpired at the conference, be sure to read the report by Judy Harvie, winner of the 2016 Calgary Law Library Group (CLLG) Education Grant.

All in all, CALL/ACBD was a very worthwhile experience and I am going to try my best to be able to attend again next year in Ottawa, when the city celebrates its 150th birthday!