While I was home for Thanksgiving, my mom shared a notebook she found from when I was in the first grade. The book was cutely titled “Everything you always wanted to know about me and my first-grade friends but were afraid to ask.” As people are often unclear as to what law librarians do and who we are, I thought this blog would be a great way to add to the literature on who we are. I will go first and then I will interview others in the future.
- What attracted you to being a law librarian?
I became a law librarian because when I was a law student, the law librarian at my law school was a kind, interesting and knowledgeable person, and the library was a place that always felt welcome and warm. I was naïve in my understanding of what practicing law involved, and I realized I wanted a workplace that allowed me to use my degree but also gave me that welcome and warm feeling I enjoyed in law school. Therefore, I went to the law library to inquire about books discussing other avenues for a J.D. Upon hearing my request, the law librarian asked me if I’d thought about law librarianship. Upon inquiring further, I learned he was using his J.D. while also doing the work he loves. I quickly shifted gears. I knew that after law school I was headed to get my M.L.S, and then onto the job my young self at the time did not realize it’ll turn out to be my dream. Working in a law library allows me to engage with students and faculty, plan fun and educational events, and do work that makes me feel whole. A student asked me last year if I’d ever regretted not going into practice, and I realized in that moment, not only did I not regret it, but the thought of regret also never even once crossed my mind. Although I did not know when starting out in law school that this was the job for me, I am forever grateful I found my way to it.
2. How do you positively impact your community as a law librarian?
In my student services role, I positively impact my community by showing up. To me, showing up means actively engaging with my community, being available to my community, and partnering with my community. I try my best to meet students where they are, to create a space that feels safe, welcome, and warm, much like my law library did for me, and to see each one of them as the individuals they are. We get around 250 new law students each year, and I do my best to meet as many of them as possible, and to learn enough about them that I can then direct them to the services and support they need. I want to know that each day I leave my workplace making it better than it was the day before. This is not easy, and it takes a lot from me. However, it’s incredibly rewarding to actively be part of our students’ success.
3. What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?
Outside of work, I enjoy traveling, puzzling, anything “Real Housewives” on Bravo, and going to the movies. Although traveling and going to the movies took a backseat when the pandemic started, I’m so grateful I have indoor activities I enjoy as it helped me pass the time while we were doing our best to stay home.
4. What have you learned from your law librarian peers?
I’ve learned a lot from other librarians. I’ve learned how to be a better researcher, teacher, and event planner. I’ve learned there is no one typical librarian, and our differences make us the coolest. I’ve learned I can turn to my law librarian peers for support, which makes me grateful I chose this profession. I’ve learned how to be a better communicator and how to navigate office politics. I’ve learned librarians are so much more than the entertainment industry gives us credit for, and thus the U.S. at large. I’ve learned librarians are not only brilliant at what they do, they are brilliant in general. When your position requires you to be able to find information on any topic at any given point, you tend to know a lot (in a good way!).
5. Who is your library hero?
I have many library heroes, but I want to highlight my supervisor, Stefanie Weigmann, as my library hero. Stefanie selflessly commits herself to her work and the success of those around her. She is gracious, patient, kind, and brilliant, and I am constantly learning from her. She is the best researcher I’ve had the honor of working with, and I am better for knowing her.
6. If you could create the law library of your dreams, how would it look?
I think about the law library of my dreams often. When I dream about my ideal space, I do not dream about how the place looks, but rather the people I will have there with me. The library of my dreams includes people like Patricia Morgan and Ed Hart, librarians at my first job who gave me the confidence to be myself in all I do. It includes great thinkers, great hearts, and great minds, like Cas Laskowski, Zanada Joyner, Patrick Parsons, Eve Ross, Jordan Jefferson, and Clanitra Nejdl, whom I learn from daily. It includes people who make showing-up fun, like Marcelo Rodriguez, Avery Le, Ron Wheeler, and Amanda Runyon. When I think about the library of my dreams, I think about the people who I look up to, and who just by being themselves exude such excellence it requires me to show up my best self every day (This list is far from complete!).
7. Where can people usually find you at the AALL Annual Meeting?
People can usually find me in the exhibit hall during the AALL Annual Meeting. We host a fall welcome back event for students called LibraryFest, and I am usually meeting with vendors to discuss the event. Also, networking is invaluable, and I know there will always be someone in the exhibit hall to catch-up with or me who I will inevitably learn something from. That is why I love being a law librarian.
Notes Between Us (NBU) is a blog about conversations and topics of interest to the writers. The writers are expressing their personal opinions solely. The essays represent their personal beliefs and not that of their workplaces or any organization they are associated with.