My Personal Welcome to the New Generation of Librarians

Be forewarned that further down in this post I am likely to get at least a little maudlin.  Late spring for academic law librarians typically features two types of events.  First, commencement ceremonies for the graduating students at our institutions, and secondly, making plans to attend one or more of the educational conferences held during the summer.  Among the regular conferences are the CALI Conference for Law School Computing and the Annual Meeting and Conference of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL).  An additional opportunity this year, and one I expect to be a treat, is the one-day conference being hosted by John Palfrey and his colleagues at the Harvard Law Library, “The Future of Law Libraries: The Future is Now?” I am looking forward to this event in particular because the schedule features well-known luminaries of law librarianship, such as Robert Berring of Boalt Hall and Richard Danner of Duke, and newer law librarians who are already making an impact on our profession, such as Sarah Glassmeyer and Meg Kribble.  (Meg is not on the program, but is a key player in organizing the conference.)  The other provocateurs and respondents are equally impressive, though I do not list them all.  My point here is that librarians of many years and of not so many years have excellent points to make and the conference organizers clearly appreciate this fact.

At many prior conferences, and on other fora, more experienced law librarians are wont to bemoan the fact that the source of our next generation of law librarians was unclear.  Well, having been following some of the younger members of our profession for the past few years, I have no such worries.  While the challenges to be discussed at the Harvard conference are real, serious, and will have substantial impact, there is no doubt that the next generation of law librarians will be as capable of facing those challenges as the previous generations were at facing theirs.  I am extremely pleased to count many of them as my friends.

This last sentence brings me to an even more personal reflection. In two weeks my elder daughter and her husband both will be awarded their master’s degrees by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science.  Kimberly, who also has a master’s of teaching and taught high school Latin for several years, is looking to be a secondary school librarian.  Her husband Will, who counts a J.D. also from UNC among his degrees, already is one of the pioneers in the burgeoning field of scholarly communications at academic institutions, though he does not yet have the position to match.  To me both are shining examples of the talent, skill, and dedication that the next generation of librarians is bringing to the profession and the world at large.

[Update:  On June 1, Will began his service as Director of Copyright and Digital Scholarship for the North Carolina State University Libraries.]

This coming August will mark 22 years since I received my M.S. in library and information studies at Florida State University.  During my time there Kimberly and her younger sister became the darlings of the library school community.  After all, who can resist precocious seven- and three-year-old girls?  My feelings then, and through my career as a librarian, are very well stated by Kimberly in a recent Facebook post, which I quote here: “You guys, I love library students and librarians. I’ve never felt so totally comfortable with a class of people before. Members of this profession are delightful.” Amen to that.

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