Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Who’s Running the Library?

A large library like the Gallagher Law Library needs a lot of different people with different training and skills to make everything go.

You probably interact most often with people at the Circulation Desk (full-time and part-time staff members, student workers, and law librarianship interns), in Interlibrary Loan (full-time librarian Judy Davis and her student assistant), and in the Reference Office (full-time librarians, part-time librarians, and law librarianship interns).

Less obvious to library users – but absolutely necessary – are the librarians, staff, student workers, and interns who choose the books we buy, decide what databases to subscribe to, deal with the publishers and vendors, catalog the materials, maintain the computer systems, file the updates, and prepare materials for binding. Imagine a reference librarian trying to help you find useful information without any books or databases!

The whole operation is overseen by Penny Hazelton, Associate Dean for Library and Computing Services.

What’s the difference between a “librarian” and any other person who works in a library? Librarians have a professional degree: a master’s in library science (or master’s in library and information science). The law librarianship interns have J.D.s and are currently working on their master’s degrees in the UW Information School.

For more about the law librarianship program, which is directed by Penny Hazelton, see this page. For more about law librarianship as a career, see my article, Choosing Law Librarianship: Thoughts for People Contemplating a Career Move, LLRX, April 4, 2008, and the American Association of Law Libraries pages, Careers in Law Librarianship.

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