ALLA Conference 2016

The biennial Australian Law Librarians Association (ALLA) Conference ran over 3 days in late August, in my hometown of Melbourne.

It was exciting to be able to attend my first multiple day conference as a Law Librarian, and be able to get involved as well.

I ran a workshop on ‘Using Infographics for Engaging Visual Communication’ over 2 hours with about 13 participants. It was a great success (despite some technical difficulties) and I received a lot of positive feedback from the attendees. Many planned to use the two programs we worked with (Piktochart and Canva) for their upcoming projects.

The next day, my colleagues and I presented our conference poster on ‘Building statutory research skills for students’ which also gathered a positive response from the crowd. It was enjoyable to discuss all our hard work, successes and challenges with other professionals in the same field.

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Two Interesting Stories: Harvard Law & Pesky Stains

Here are two very interesting and LARGE projects being undertaking by two different libraries.

First, Harvard Law Library is digitising around 40 million pages to create a searchable and FREE database of American case law! Usually you have to pay a lot of money for subscriptions to databases that supply this information, so this is an exciting step in providing knowledge to the public as well as increasing access to justice. Entitled the ‘Free the Law’ project, I hope to see other institutions follow suit, as well as the incorporation of other legal information in addition to case law. As a law graduate and a librarian, it is worrisome to see how little the layman understands and can source information on their own rights within our society.  This leads to a lack of autonomy and power over ones life and choices, as well as fear due to lack of knowledge, which in the end means large corporations and governments have the ability to take advantage of the general public.

Of course, the thought of all those books spines being ‘chopped off’ to enable scanning is a little unsettling, but such is the price of progress! They do say all the spines are re-attached though thankfully. You can read about the project, due to be completed in 2017, in the New York Times article here.

Second, The National Library of Australia’s preservation team has managed to very cleverly remove stains from old adhesive/sticky-tape on many of their items in the display for their William Strutt exhibition, Heroes and Villains: Strutt’s Australia. Seeing the comparison photo’s makes it look like the team has waved a magic wand – I hadn’t realised it would be possible to so perfectly remove such stains without affecting the works in any way!

Reading the process is fascinating, the library must have had a team of scientists helping – I can barely even pronounce the chemical names let alone fully understand how it worked! You can read their blog post about how they achieved this feat and see some pictures.

These projects show the amount of care and patience librarians have for their collections and their work. We are a fabulous bunch aren’t we? 😉

Until next time,

Michelle De Aizpurua

First Days at a New Job!

I just recently started at a new job. Due to short contracts and part-time work being a large factor in getting employment as a graduate, this is the 3rd ‘first day’ in the last year! (I’m now working two part-time jobs, one of which is causal and the other a one year contract)

In any case, I’m really excited about the opportunities this new workplace will provide. I’ll be expanding from high school libraries to a specialist university (law) library. Learning new programs, taking research classes with university students, developing their e-learning modules, there’s a lot to learn and do!

So I thought I would share my experience (there was a really amazing art exhibit involved!), and provide some tips for that sometimes stressful ‘first day’.Read More »