Seattle: getting down to business

Seattle, where marijuana is legal but there is zero tolerance for jay walking. Seattle, where there is a Starbucks on every corner but I can’t find a 7-11.

View from Kerry Park

View from Kerry Park

Seattle, the Emerald City and home of the AALL 2013 annual conference. Today, we got down to business with CONELL: the conference for newer law librarians.

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CONELL is organised as a pre-conference conference for delegates who are new to the profession or who have not attended the conference before. It’s a newbie fest that gives everyone the chance to meet new people in a more intimate setting than the conference proper. Think speed-networking, lunch and some get to know you activities. The day is also a marketing drive to recruit newbies into volunteering for various committees and activities for AALL. Motivating talks, inspiring tales of law librarianship and free food. These American law librarians know how to run the show.

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I enjoyed talking to a wide range of librarians from across the country working in a whole variety of roles and organisations. Some of us met the night before at ‘Dutch Treat Dinners’, where groups of 10 of us got together at a local restaurant for a casual dinner. Our group ate at Wild Ginger, a pan Asian restaurant with delicious curries and noodle dishes and fresh local seafood. The CONELL and dinner was a great introduction to what looks to be a pretty overwhelming program of events. It will be much easier to navigate with a bunch of new comrades for moral support.

After the CONELL session the group of about 100 of us were packed up into buses for a two hour tour of Seattle neighbourhoods, including Ballard, Queen Anne, Belltown and Magnolia. Each neighbourhood with its own character and stories.

One of the more memorable stops was the Ballard Locks, where Lake Washington is connected through to Elliott Bay by a series of locks.

Ballard Locks

Ballard Locks

The lake is freshwater and the bay is salt water and they are at different levels, so the locks are set up to transport boats from one body of water to the other.

Boats in the lock

Boats in the lock

Salmon also have to move between the lake and bay to spawn, so there is a whole elaborate system called a ‘fish ladder’ to help them through.

Hey guys, let me on that fish ladder!

Hey guys, let me on that fish ladder!

Name the four varieties of salmon

Name the four varieties of salmon

All that fish talk made me hungry. When we returned from the tour it was the official conference opening where my fish dreams were answered with smoked salmon nibbles.

Tomorrow it’s less fish and more conference. I’m planning on going to sessions on social media, libraries as platforms, cool tools cafe and releasing your inner writer.

Geeking out in Seattle!

And in other news, I bought some new shoes.

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Seattle photo diary

I am visiting Seattle for a week because I was fortunate enough to be awarded the 2013 Australian Law Librarians’ Association 2013 international conference fellowship. The Law Library of Victoria project is also helping to sponsor my trip. I chose to come to the American Association of Law Libraries conference. The program looks great and I have always wanted to visit Seattle.

After 20 hours in transit, I arrived yesterday and decided to do some sight seeing and try to stay awake so I could adjust my body clock. I spent some more time looking around today ahead of official conference business starting tomorrow.

Here are some of my Seattle highlights so far, in photos…

The Pike Place Market. This is foodie heaven. The seafood was a sight to behold and the stalls teeming with fresh berries were irresistible. I bought a punnet of raspberries and sat in the sun in a park overlooking Puget Sound.

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The Seattle Art Museum. This downtown gallery has an impressive collection of indigenous art from North America as well as a small Australian collection. The special exhibit showing at the moment is a retrospective of 30 years of Japanese fashion.

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Food trucks. Yes, we have food trucks in Melbourne but they are an institution in Seattle.

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