October 13, 2010
Visitors to the Georgia State University College of Law Library undoubtedly have noticed a few new faces behind the counter this fall.
Meg Butler, Deborah Schander and Austin Williams are the college’s three new librarians. They were drawn to Georgia State Law by the law library’s reputation as one of the best in the nation, and they’re making themselves at home in positions that center on innovation, research and public service. With each of them holding master’s and law degrees, the trio embodies a wealth of expertise and professionalism.
Williams (picured left), the newest reference and student services librarian at the College of Law, said his friends found his tenacity quizzical, at best. They asked and wondered, "what are you doing, what are you thinking, and why do you want to do all this just to books on the shelf," Williams said.
The North Carolina native is quick to point out, though, that librarians are everywhere, even the CIA and the FBI.
In Butler’s experience, which most recently included a stint as a reference librarian and professor of legal research at New York Law School, librarianship is evolving into a trendier and hipper profession. It may be difficult for some people to believe, but she wanted to be librarian before she wanted to be a lawyer.
"A lot of the cool kids are librarians now, I think," said Butler (pictured right). "And, I think that’s what’s exploded some of the old myths about law librarians."
Schander (pictured center), previously a librarian at the University of La Verne College of Law and a law library intern here at Georgia State, believes that the evolution of the internet and the depth of available resources have largely contributed to the change in perspectives.
"We don’t just deal with books anymore," she said. "The resources that we are teaching people about are more well-known, as well, and people are more likely to use them in their everyday lives."
Making those connections with the public at-large, a diverse student body and esteemed faculty is key for the new law librarians. Each is hoping to contribute to the body of knowledge on legal research and the law school’s continued excellence in education.
"This is what we want to be doing," said Schander, who is from Pennsylvania.
Students need not apologize for needing assistance. That is their purpose, said Butler, Schander and Williams. Students can talk to them in the classroom, call the library with questions, or catch them walking down halls or library aisles. Virtually, anytime is a good time to ask for help.
"I don’t want to say that I would ever be too busy to answer student’s questions," Williams said.
At Georgia State’s Law Library that panache for public service and professional excellence is led by Nancy P. Johnson, Associate Dean for Library and Information Services. The new law librarians agree that with her leadership they will continue to ensure the library is the best it can be.
"I had a very wonderful job, and I would not have left for just anybody," Butler said. "In the law library world, she’s a luminary."
By Joy Woodson