Benjamin Keele, reference librarian at the College of William & Mary Wolf Law Library in Williamsburg, Virginia, joined AALL in April 2009. Previously went to law school and library science school at Indiana University-Bloomington.
Why did you join AALL?
I joined AALL as an MLS student for two reasons. First, once I had decided I wanted to be a law librarian, I wanted to be connected in some way to as many other law librarians as possible. AALL seemed to be the main embodiment of the law librarian profession, so that fit the bill. Second, I needed a job to start my career when I graduated, and I saw that AALL's jobs board and ALL-SIS list had many job postings I was interested in. That is how I found the job posting for the position at William & Mary I now enjoy.
Why do you stay a member?
AALL resources are a major way I keep current on law librarian issues and news. If Law Library Journal, AALL Spectrum, and special interest section lists disappeared, I would have to do some serious work to fill the information vacuum. I've attend two AALL Annual Meetings now, and both have been great opportunities to stuff my brain with as much information as I can, especially about how other libraries run their operations. I stay a member because aside from on-the-job experience and advice from my WM colleagues, AALL is my main source of law librarian knowledge.
What one membership benefit is most valuable to you?
The educational content. LLJ, Spectrum, the Washington Bulletin, email lists, and conference presentations have all been valuable to me. Many of my interactions with non-WM librarians have been due to AALL events or committees, so AALL's role as a space for interaction and collaboration with other law librarians is very important to me.
What about being a member makes you most proud?
First, librarians are great at sharing their knowledge and experience, and AALL facilitates that by providing great venues for spreading that knowledge around. Second, I'm proud of the Washington Office's work to keep legislators aware of important issues like government transparency, copyright reform, and public access to legal materials. These aren't issues that are going to make or break an election, but I'm glad law librarians advocate for them.
What is your favorite memory associated with AALL?
I'm sure my favorite memory will be eclipsed by another later in my career, but I felt a great deal of satisfaction when my article in Law Library Journal was published. I wrote it while I was an MLS student, but when it was accepted, I began to identify myself more as a law librarian. This was a big shift for me since I had thought of myself as a lawyer-in-training for the prior three years when I was in law school, and I found that I was really excited about the change, confirming that I had made the right choice to become a law librarian. Knowing that I could find a small way to contribute to law librarianship was a great feeling.