As you know, IALL offers a professional development bursary every year to law librarians from around the world in an effort to assist with the cost of attending the annual course. (A list of the 2014 recipients, which included local as well as international recipients, is available here.) Similarly, the FCIL Schaffer Grant for Foreign Law Librarians provides financial assistance to ensure the presence and participation of a foreign librarian at the American Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting. Foreign attendees enrich AALL events and programming by providing a global perspective that benefits all participants and the AALL membership more broadly.
Attendees at this year’s IALL Annual Course in Buenos Aires heard from AALL President Holly Riccio, who highlighted the upcoming conference, which will return to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia is famous for its vibrant art scene, diversity, and rich history (see Gabriela Femenia’s 2011 article in AALL Spectrum for more details here). The AALL annual meeting is easily the biggest law library conference in the world, and offers unparalleled opportunities for learning from colleagues, networking, and the opportunity to attend programs considering a wide range of topics relevant to law libraries and law librarianship. Anyone who may be interested in applying for the Grant is encouraged to review the relevant application information available online here. Please note, that the deadline for applications of November 30, 2014 is quickly approaching.
Selection for the Grant is based on the foreign law librarian’s ability to add to the knowledge of law, legal information, and law librarianship from a foreign perspective for AALL attendees. Preference may be given to an applicant from an under-represented country or region, to someone who demonstrates financial need, or to an applicant who has never attended an AALL Annual Meeting. In order to ensure diversity, the Grant Committee avoids selecting recipients from the same country as recipients of the previous three years.
Many other law library associations provide similar opportunities (see e.g., BIALL, CALL). The purpose of these grants, particularly those that encourage foreign law librarians to attend, is not only to provide a valuable professional development experience for the recipient, but also to enrich the conference events for local attendees. Opportunities to share perspectives and ideas across cultures, languages, and legal systems are especially valuable in an increasingly globalized world. Though our backgrounds and resources are often varied, the challenges we face are frequently the same and necessarily benefit from exchange and dialogue.