I write today to share some highlights and extend my gratitude to everyone who attended and participated in the planning of the recent SWALL Annual Meeting held April 14-16, 2019 at the Little Rock Marriott and hosted by the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law Library. Although last-minute logistics and weather-related travel complications led to some adjustments at the start of the gathering, we are so glad to have pulled off a well-attended and well-received program for our members and hope you all enjoyed your time reconnecting with colleagues and learning from our wonderful array of speakers and vendors while here in Arkansas.
The theme for this year’s event was Rockin’ Roles for Legal Info Pros, and programming revolved around new trends in law librarianship and responses to challenges involving racial justice and implicit bias issues. Without question, the Annual Meeting really began rockin’ with the Keynote remarks from the charming and engaging Honorable Bernice Donald, 6th Circuit Federal Judge, and a great time was had by those attending the Opening Night Reception at the newly-opened UA Little Rock Downtown Center. The second day of programs started off much more smoothly without all the flight worries to account for, as members recounted the past year of chapter business, the torch was passed to new SWALL President Stacy Fowler, and members enjoyed themselves at the Dine-Around locales (and some impromptu piano bar fun) that evening. Finally, we concluded with a breakfast program from the Clinton Foundation and National Archives at the Clinton Presidential Center, followed by a lively group Library tour on the final day of the meeting.
In total, we had 55 registrants for the Annual Meeting, including our student volunteers and participating vendor representatives. In the end, weather caused 8 cancellations, leaving us with 47 total attendees present for the event. The Legal Information Services to the Public Committee (“LISP”), chaired by our incoming Vice-President/President-Elect Katy Badeaux of the University of Houston Law Center, partnered with the Arkansas Supreme Court Library staff to put on a fun and informative three-hour Pre-Conference Workshop at the Bowen School of Law on April 13 entitled “Legal Research for All Librarians”, attended by 10 registered local public librarians.
We were once again lucky to be supported by some of our generous tried-and-true participating vendors. Thank you to all of our sponsors and exhibitors: Thomson Reuters, LexisNexis, Legal Information Preservation Alliance, Bloomberg Law, HeinOnline, ProQuest, West Academic, and the local law firm of Wright Lindsey Jennings PLLC.
The biggest reason this conference was a success was because of how my library colleagues here at the Bowen School of Law stepped up in the clutch to pull things together in the lead up to the event and how our faculty and staff showed support, from Dean Theresa Beiner taking part in our opening events to Professors Anastasia Boles and Josh Silverstein delivering presentations, Dean Wanda Hoover working on our behalf to ensure a wonderful Opening Reception, and our Director of Communications, Tina Medlock, who worked tirelessly on our behalf in creating attractive and informational print and online content to promote the event. On a personal note, I also want to extend thanks to our Treasurer, Jamie Baker, who poured in many hours helping us with registration, and my longtime mentors and Local Arrangements Co-Chairs, Melissa Serfass and Law Library Director Jessie Burchfield, for all of the work they put into this, the support they always showed, and their innate ability to be such calming influences amid the chaos.
I am proud to have served alongside such fantastic professionals and dear friends—both as your Chapter President over the past year and as a member of Bowen. Thank you all!
Jeff B. Woodmansee