April 10, 2006
A View From the Stacks: What about the photo contest?
An open letter to AALL:
National Library Week was just not the same this year.
I’ll be honest, I am a little hurt right now. National Library Week came and went, and there was no hint of having another photo contest for “Day in the Life of a Law Library.” After last year, the Public Relations Committee called the contest a “success”, as well as other applicable synonyms. In December’s issue of Spectrum, the intro to the photo winners highlighted the fact that photos from all over the country came in, showcasing the profession in all its fun, serious, busy and fashionable glory. Even Elvis made a cameo in one of the photos!
Now, understand that I am not upset because I wanted to replicate the photo I was in last year, only with different shoes. And no, I did not buy that new pair of stilettos just for the photo. They went nicely with a bag I am eyeing. And even though I considered lobbying the library to fly Tina Ching up to Seattle from Phoenix to take award-winning pictures, I figured that this would seem excessive in the eyes of some. No, the real reason I am upset about no photo contest is because taking photos gave us law library folk something fun to do during National Library Week.
I think it is a bit difficult for a law library to plan events during NLW. Not because a law library staff lacks creativity or desire (OK, this may be true in some cases), but because it is pretty difficult to offer a read-along hour in the courthouse featuring Moore’s Federal Practice Volume 2. And offering cookies and bookmarks is a nice way to draw attention to the fact that a National Library Week even exists, but the week is for patrons and library staff alike. A photo contest is just the thing that engages staff and patrons together. Plus, it provides AALL with a lot of photos to use in future Spectrum articles.
So why not make this photo contest an annual event? Allowing law libraries to submit photos that we believe most accurately display our libraries is one part showing off and another part sharing input about how we fit into the community. And while there is the incentive of winning, there is also the fact that each year we could look for new things in our libraries to highlight. For example, I have always believed that the sport of book-cart racing is not just for the local public library anymore. And what better way to show the world law library athletic prowess then taking photos of it during National Library Week?
I ask that you please take this idea into serious consideration.
Stina McClintock, Library Technician, King County Law Library (Seattle)
Editor's Note: Book-cart racing, a Gen Y sport. I raced book carts some 30 years ago but now I favor law library pitch and putt golf tournaments.
|"I think one of the funniest parts of the [photo] controversy is this outrage over sexy stiletto shoes. Who knew that I am so sexy because of my shoes?" - Stina|
|Quoted by Tina Ching in Images from a Library: Reflections on a photo and a profession, AALL Spectrum (March 2006) at 21.|
Award winning photographer, Tina S. Ching (Arizona State), writes about taking the historic "Shelving in Silhouette" photo with Stina and offers her thoughts about smashing pumpkins and passing the torch to a new generation in her March 2206 AALL Spectrum article Images from a Library: Reflections on a photo and a profession:
Perhaps the most significant issue that can be derived from the photo is the entrance of a new generation of law librarians. In the photo, the person shelving is looking forward, not back at the camera as is most common in photos. What is she looking at? Being Seattle, she was most likely looking at the fog or rain, but it can be interpreted as her looking to the future. According to the AALL Gen X Gen Y Task Force Members’ Briefing from December 2004, both McClintock and I are members of the generation known as Gen Y (born after 1977). I will not go into a discussion of generation issues here (best tackled in its own article); I will simply say that believe it or not, Gen Y has already entered the profession.
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