At its May 2013 Business Meeting, the Chicago Association of Law Libraries awarded its Lifetime Achievement Award to Judith M. Wright. This professional recognition was but the first of several bestowed on Ms. Wright upon her retirement after forty years of service as a librarian at the University of Chicago, including thirty-three years as law library director.
Ms. Wright’s legacy as a peer and mentor is known to many in our profession nationally and locally in the CALL community. Judith cared deeply about her colleagues and about the future re-generation of law librarianship. As a befitting tribute to her career, the University of Chicago Law School established the Judith M. Wright Fellowship.
The Fellowship develops promising new professionals in academic law librarianship by providing a stipend to support a law school or library science student or recent graduate to work at the D’Angelo Law Library for six-weeks over the summer. Fellows learn about the overall functions, policies and practices in both technical services and user services departments. In addition to participating in the daily activities at the Library, Fellows undertake and complete a project based on the needs of D’Angelo and the interests and prior experience of the Fellow.
Interest in the Wright Fellowship has surpassed expectations. The D’Angelo Law Library has received applications from many outstanding and qualified candidates across the country. Through a competitive process, two Fellowship candidates were selected in each of the past two years.
The first Judith M. Wright Fellow, Taryn Marks, worked at the D’Angelo Law Library in summer 2014. Taryn Marks is a graduate of the library school, and the law librarianship certificate program, at the University of Washington, and holds a J.D. from Duke Law School.
During her six weeks at D’Angelo, Ms. Marks worked on a variety of library tasks. But most notably, she created the publication site for uploading a digital version of The University of Chicago Law School Record (alumni publication) into the Law School’s Digital Commons site, Chicago Unbound, including table of contents, descriptive metadata and full-text in PDF for all content.
Following the Wright Fellowship, Ms. Marks began a position as Reference Librarian at the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
This summer D’Angelo will host its second Wright Fellow, Ms. Kara Dunn. Ms. Dunn is a graduate of the University of Washington School of Law, where she received her J.D. with honors and was Managing Editor of the Washington Law Review. She is currently completing her Master of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has worked as a Reference Associate at Northwestern University’s Pritzker Legal Research Center.
The D’Angelo Law Library reference librarians create and maintain a wide range of online research guides on various legal topics, using the LibGuides platform. Ms. Dunn’s project will update a number of these LibGuides, both as to appropriate content and currency, create new research guides, and assist with changes necessitated by the Library’s migration to LibGuides 2.0.
The original purpose of the Fellowship was to honor Ms. Wright’s legacy and to continue her mentorship philosophy. However, the program has benefitted the D’Angelo Law Library in many ways. It has enabled library staff to learn from a new generation of law librarians, to benefit from the skills and knowledge of the Fellows, and to collaborate and achieve success on new initiatives. The Wright Fellowship indeed has furthered our profession and we are grateful to Judith for inspiring it.