Wheat Law librarians ‘are like lawyers squared’

I suppose the Wheat Law Library’s first blog should be a bit of a “how do you do.” You know…get to know the library and the librarians. But all of that information can be found on our Web page http://www.law.ku.edu/library/. Instead, I would like to share with you what a law librarian is and what we do.

Just looking at the phrase “law librarian,” you can see that there are two aspects: the law and the librarian. Let’s look at each of these individually and then see what it means when combined.

First, allow me to explain to you what a librarian is. There’s a good chance that you have a picture in your head of a mild-mannered individual who will begrudgingly help you locate a book but only after giving you the almighty “SHOOSH!” Although a librarian will help you find a book, and perhaps even recommend you keep it down, it’s not really all we do.

Librarians are information specialists.  This means we process, catalog, retrieve and use information in every form. Sure we do books. But we are also versed in research, cataloging, electronic media, digital editing — anything dealing with information, it’s processing and manipulation, we do it. Of course not each and every one of us does it all.  But collectively, we get it done.

So what about the “law” part of “law librarian”? This is not simply a reference to the type of library we work in, but a reference to our educational background. Many of us have our J.D.s, and some of us have even practiced law. So not only do we work in a law library, but we also understand the law both in theory and in practice. Combined with our abilities in information management, we are quite the force.

There is no request beneath us. Why just the other day, one of our students conversationally mentioned that she had heard about some store that sells reclaimed building supplies in Lawrence. Before she could even log on to her computer, I located and printed a map giving directions to HFH ReStore off of Seventh and Connecticut.

The ability to access, process and use information is what being a librarian is about. The ability to access, process and use the law is what being a lawyer is all about. So really, we are like lawyers squared!

Blake Wilson
Instructional & Research Services Librarian

Think you might be interested in law librarianship?  Or maybe you just want a little extra scratch?  The Wheat Law Library is seeking to hire a Research Assistant to assist with legal and interdisciplinary research in support of faculty scholarship.  You have to have passed Lawyering I & II.  Additional experience with legal research and technology is a definite plus.

For more information, contact Chris Steadham, Office 200E, csteadham@ku.edu.