The Agnes and Harvey Reid Award for Outstanding Contribution to Law Librarianship is presented annually to librarians who have provided outstanding service to the chapter during the previous year or for contribution to law librarianship.
The 2022 Winner is Joseph Mitzenmacher. Please learn more about Joe and help us wish her a well deserved congratulations!
My law librarian origin story began after I had been practicing law for a couple of years and realized that it wasn’t for me and I wanted to do something different. I had a conversation with my wife (we weren’t married at the time, but she’s my wife now) about career options and during that conversation I remembered that I enjoyed working in my local public library when I was in high school. That led me to investigate law librarianship as a career, and then I decided to change course and pursue an MLIS degree at Dominican.
Since graduating, I first worked at Chicago-Kent and then at Loyola, where I have now been for 17 years. In my current position at Loyola I provide reference services, manage our electronic resources collection, and teach legal research and legal technology courses (among many other duties). Of course, I also have found time to serve in a variety of roles as a member and as a leader in CALL.
How has CALL helped you in your Career?
CALL has been invaluable to my career by providing both a way to build a professional network and a way to build leadership skills. By being an active CALL member, I have been able to meet and collaborate with professionals from other libraries and from different types of law libraries.
It’s easy to fall into a habit of only thinking about law librarianship from your own perspective, but listening to other librarians share their perspectives about their workplaces and the issues they face broadens your thinking, which makes you a better librarian. As an example, for several years I have been inviting fellow CALL member Lindsey Carpino to speak to my Advanced Legal Research students to share her perspective on “Life in a Law Firm”.
Lindsey can provide insights that I can’t on the ins and outs doing legal research in the law firm world. Her guest lectures have directly benefitted my students, but as someone who’s been out of the law firm world for quite a long time, thanks to Lindsey I’ve also gotten a window into that world, and I’ve found the information I’ve learned from her to be helpful in my interactions with law students.
CALL has also been enormously beneficial in helping me develop professional leadership skills. Volunteering to work on CALL committees eventually led me to committee chair positions, and then to the CALL executive board.
What is one of your outstanding contributions that you are most proud of?
I’m supposed to limit this to one contribution, but I’m going to do two and I’ll forgive myself by sharing one collaboration example and one leadership example.
For collaboration, a few years ago I was a co-presenter on an ABA Tech Show panel (that included CALL member Debbie Ginsberg) on teaching legal technology to law students. This program was well received and popular, so much so that we were later asked to record it as a CLE presentation for ABA members. I am proud of this because it’s an example of how others outside our profession see our work and our value as law librarians.
For leadership, during my time at Loyola, we’ve had several law students (including some CALL members!) who chose to become law librarians and who have since gone on to become leaders in the profession. I feel like I have led by example in showing what it means to be a law librarian and in encouraging others to join and fully participate in the profession.
What does this award mean/would you like to thank anyone?
I was floored when I saw the announcement that I would be receiving this award. It’s a great honor to know that my colleagues in CALL appreciate what I’ve done for the organization and the profession, and it inspires me to want to continue contributing so I can do my best to live up to the award.
I’ve mentioned some names already but I would like to say that I appreciate all the support and help I’ve received from my co-workers and CALL colleagues throughout my career. I mean it when I say I couldn’t have done this without you. Thanks!