Two Georgia State College of Law librarians Nancy Johnson and Meg Butler were honored at the American Association of Law Libraries annual conference in July.
Johnson, veteran librarian and retiring associate dean for library and information services received the Miriam Gallagher Lifetime Achievement Award, while Butler, associate director of public services, received an Emerging Leader award.
Johnson is credited with founding the Georgia State Law Library. She has been an AALL member for nearly 40 years, serving on and chairing numerous committees, and making presentations of her research at workshops and conferences nationwide.
"I've gotten a lot from the association, and I hope that I was able to give something back to the members through my efforts," Johnson says. "I owe the award to all the librarians, because without them I wouldn't have been able to accomplish everything that I have."
More than anything, Johnson's main goal has been to "give [librarians] the confidence and credentials to go on to be directors and department heads at some really fantastic libraries." Encouraging colleagues to make the most of their careers and watching them grow into their leadership positions is "what I'm most proud of," she says.
Ron Wheeler, a former Georgia State Law librarian and director of the Dorraine Zief Law Library at the University of San Francisco, agrees that her exceptional commitment to mentorship is what sets Johnson apart from other library directors. Johnson not only stressed the importance of scholarly writing and leadership, but encouraged everyone to find a good work-life balance.
"The work is never done. You just have to get out there and have a full life outside of work also, and that will help you be a better librarian," Wheeler said. "Even now, as a director, I try to demonstrate these good self-care behaviors to our librarians."
During her work as a librarian, mentor, professor and author of numerous articles and books, Johnson has received awards for excellence in service from the Southeastern Law Library Association and the Center for Computer-Aided Legal Instruction, as well as AALL's Frederick Charles Hicks Award for Outstanding Contributions to Academic Libraries and the AALL Hall of Fame Award.
"It has truly been a privilege to work with Nancy during her tenure at the College, and I'm delighted that AALL has chosen to honor her in this way," says Dean Steven Kaminshine. "Her achievements have been consistently outstanding, and her service to librarianship and to the College has been unmatched."
Butler, the AALL Emerging Leader Award winner, is one of many librarians and administrators who wrote a letter of support for her colleague's Gallagher award nomination. "Nancy is why I wanted to come to GSU Law," she says.
Johnson, meanwhile, was impressed with Butler's contributions to AALL and to GSU Law in her short time on the library faculty and nominated her for the AALL Emerging Leader award. Butler always has been "eager to do the work, and take on a lot of tasks for the association. It's not glamorous, but if you're willing to be a volunteer, people will recognize that they can count on you," Johnson says.
Dean Kaminshine noted her good work as well, saying, "We are thrilled to see Meg commended for her growing service to the field, and hope to see our library faculty and staff continue to demonstrate their leadership in this vein."
Butler says AALL and other professional associations are integral to improving and encouraging forward momentum in librarianship. "It's an important professional responsibility–to be involved and serve our community into the future–and I want to do my part to help librarians maintain relevance as information and its delivery changes," Butler says. "It was an honor to be recognized for my particular service and potential."
Wheeler, who works with Butler in AALL, praised her as "rising star" in the community and noted that what distinguishes her as a librarian is her dedication to scholarship. "She hasn't been in the profession that long, but she always has a writing project in the works," Wheeler says. "It just seems to come naturally to her… I learn from her all the time."
Emily C. B. Diffenderfer
College of Law