Saturday, 3 September 2011

Thing 15: Attending, presenting at and organising seminars, conferences and other events

Over the years as a law librarian, I have attended a number of different events, although until recently, they were predominantly focused at people working in the legal information domain. Since beginning Chartership, I have begun to understood the benefits in terms of networking, among other things, of going to more general library/information events.

The events I have got the most out of are probably ones which have taught me a new skill, or been a kind of refresher on a particular area of law or legal research. CLIG have run a number of evening seminars over the years on things like researching company financial information, employment law and other areas of relevance to the law firms I have worked in. BIALL, our main legal professional association, also run similar sessions, and, of course, the annual two day Conference. The BIALL Conference is one of the main events in the legal information world, and is definitely one I would like to keep in mind for the future. Unfortunately in the last few years, the credit crunch has meant that spending on such things has been curtailed, therefore getting along to the more expensive events is a bit more problematic than it was when I first started out...

I definitely think there is a lot to be said though, to NOT limiting yourself to events that relate only to your specific profession. One of the best networking opportunities I have had was when I went to one of CILIP's Chartership events - it was a real pleasure to get the chance to talk to people who work in the library/information world, but have a completely different take on it compared to you. I am looking forward to attending a time management session later in the month.

I have a lot of admiration for people who present at conferences/seminars etc. In all honesty it's not something I have considered at this stage of my career. I really enjoyed reading Katie's CPD23 post this week though, because she gave some really excellent  tips on how to go about getting prepared for such an event - but right now, I am not sure it's something I would go for - probably because I don't feel I know enough about one thing to merit being up on a stage lecturing others! Maybe that feeling will change in time. It is certainly encouraging to read what Katie said, about just being a professional means that you may have more to talk about than you think! I would like to think that maybe some day I could do it, as I am sure the feeling of achievement after undertaking such a task would be very satisfying.

If I were to choose an area to talk about, I think it would probably be related to some kind of examination of the role of the Information Professional in law firms - just unsure as to what specifically! I would definitely want to stick to what I know best, and I think experience does count for a lot, so having worked in a few different law libraries/law firms, perhaps I do have more to share than I think!

Conferences/events I would like to attend
As mentioned above, I think attending the whole BIALL Conference would be a very enriching experience, as in years gone by I have looked at the programme of events and there are always some sessions that sound like they would be very interesting. Another one I have developed an interest in the more I hear about it, is the SLA Conference, but unfortunately I think that is definitely out of the budget at present!

This has been a really thought provoking Thing this week - simply because reading Katie's post is the first time that I have ever even considered the idea that I might be 'qualified' enough to present at an event of any kind. This is one of the things I love about the CPD23 programme in general - that it's making me think about things that otherwise would never even have been on my radar, most likely!

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