Law Librarians Improving the Profession
|Image from AALL Twitter|
- Get proximate to injustice
- Change the narratives that sustain injustice
- Stay hopeful
- Do uncomfortable things
His message is an important one, and law librarians certainly have a role to play in improving access to justice.
Throughout his keynote, I couldn't help but connect these 4 things to the issues facing law librarianship, in general. Like improving justice, law librarians need to work to improve the state of our profession to ensure that we can continue to assist with access to justice issues, among other things, for years to come.
In that regard, we can do similar things to improve law librarianship:
1. Get proximate to the issues facing law librarianship
There is a myriad of issues facing law librarianship: budgets, staffing, librarian support, technology, public perception. We need to face each of these head on and work to create solutions.
2. Change the narratives that sustain the misunderstandings re: law librarianship
Lately, it seems that we need a wide array of elevator speeches to explain our importance. It's tough to constantly explain in a clear, meaningful way when our importance seems so obvious to us. But it's necessary. I will forever regret letting a faculty member confidently tell me that the only thing that the law library needs is a subscription to Westlaw & Lexis. Law librarians know that there are pedagogical concerns, licensing issues, and many other things wrong with that statement. On this day, I let the comment pass with no retort because I was exhausted from a long day in the office and didn't feel like engaging in the discussion. But we must engage in these discussions. We must advocate for the profession.
3. Stay hopeful
After attending AALL and talking with other law librarians about our work, it is clear that we are all very busy. And when we get too busy by being asked to do more with less, coupled with feeling underappreciated, it's easy to lose hope. I love this profession, and I, for one, need to do a better job of remembering the intrinsic value of law libraries.
4. Do uncomfortable things
We can't sit still; we must engage. And that's inherently uncomfortable given our responsibilities.
One of the best things about AALL is meeting all of the wonderful people in the profession and feeling re-energized about tackling these issues. Let's use the momentum until we meet again next summer in Baltimore (with John Waters!).