Significant honors that recognized members of the D’Angelo Law Library staff this year were the latest in a string of accolades for the University of Chicago’s law librarians, whose dedication to their field has long been marked by service to local and national library groups.
This spring, Lorna Tang, who retired in June as the Associate Law Librarian for Technical Services after 38 years at the D’Angelo, was given the Chicago Association of Law Libraries (CALL) Outstanding Lifetime Achievement in Law Librarianship Award, and Foreign and International Law Librarian Lyonette Louis-Jacques was given the Global Legal Skills Award for Outstanding Contributions to International Legal Skills Education, as well as a top marketing award from the American Association of Law Libraries, the profession’s national association. Todd Ito, the D’Angelo’s Coordinator of Instruction and Outreach, was also elected Vice President/President-elect of Chicago Association of Law Libraries, becoming the most recent D’Angelo librarian to hold a top leadership position with the organization.
“The D’Angelo librarians have always had a strong commitment to service in professional law library associations,” said Sheri Lewis, Director of the D’Angelo Law Library. “This commitment is reflected not only in the awards bestowed on University of Chicago law librarians but in the ongoing respect from colleagues who actively seek and rely upon D’Angelo leadership in the professional community.”
Tang—who managed her staff through two major renovations of the library building, each time reorganizing work spaces and revising workflows—was the third librarian associated with the D’Angelo to win CALL’s lifetime achievement award. The award, also given in 2013 to retired D’Angelo Law Library Director Judith M. Wright and in 2012 to former D’Angelo librarian Judith Gaskell, recognizes an “outstanding contribution to the Chicago law library community” and “consistently high levels of noteworthy professional contribution.” Tang became a member of CALL in 1977 and served on numerous committees.
Louis-Jacques received her award at the Global Legal Skills Conference, which is a leading international gathering for global skills education. She was honored for her 2013 book, International Law Legal Research, which was designed to show how to research sources of international law and help schools create stand-alone courses in international law legal research. She also won the 2015 Excellence in Marketing Award, Best Newsletter from AALL. It recognized the Chicago Association of Law Libraries’ CALL Bulletin, which Louis-Jacques co-edited.
Ito, who has been involved with CALL since he moved to Chicago in 2006 to work at the D’Angelo, also became the organization’s incoming Vice President and President-elect this spring.
“CALL has enabled me to connect with so many colleagues at other law school libraries, as well as at law firm, court, government, and public law libraries in the area,” Ito said. “Other AALL chapters are very spread out geographically, and the close proximity is a real benefit. We see each other at business meetings and other programs throughout the year, so we get more of a chance to get to know each other. That has made it easy for me to be able to reach out to another academic law librarians in the city to discuss what they’re doing with legal research instruction, or to talk to a law firm colleague about what legal research databases they’re using.”
The D’Angelo Law Library has a long history of high-profile accolades and appointments, for example:
- AALL’s Marian Gould Gallagher Distinguished Service Award—one of the highest awards a law librarian can receive—has been given four times to a law librarian who has worked at the D’Angelo. Former D’Angelo librarians Nancy Johnson (2012), Adolf Sprudzs (2000), Elizabeth Benyon (1992), and Leon M. Liddell (1989) all received this honor.
- Five members of the AALL Hall of Fame at one time worked for the D’Angelo: Wright, Johnson, Benyon, Liddell, and Sprudzs.
- Librarians associated with the D’Angelo have won nine major awards from the CALL, including three for lifetime achievement. Lewis also won the Agnes and Harry Reid Award for Outstanding Contribution to Law Librarianship in 2011.
- Two D’Angelo law librarians have served as president of CALL. Margaret Schilt, the Associate Law Librarian for User Services, in 2014 – 2015, and Lewis in 2008 – 2009.
- All of the D’Angelo librarians have held leadership positions in CALL at some point. Head of Cataloging Patricia Sayre-McCoy served on the Executive Board and has chaired several CALL committees and is now on the Local Arrangements Committee for the 2016 AALL Annual Meeting. Common Law Bibliographer Bill Schwesig led the CALL’s Internet Committee for several years. Catalog Librarian Michael D. Brown and Faculty Services Librarian Thomas Drueke have participated in CALL committees.
- At the national level, Louis-Jacques also has been on the AALL Executive Board and she, along with Lewis, Ito, and Sayre-McCoy, have chaired AALL special interest sections and/or committees. Interim Head of Technical Services Julie Stauffer is a co-editor of the Technical Services section bulletin.
- Reference and Virtual Access Librarian Connie Fleischer currently is serving on the Illinois Government Depository Council, an advisory group to the Illinois State Library on government information issues.
- Sprudzs, a former D’Angelo Foreign and International Law Librarian who was instrumental in building and expanding the D’Angelo’s foreign law collection, was a founding member and former president of International Association of Law Librarians in 1959.
“Librarians are born collaborators and rely on their professional networks both to keep current on new developments in legal information but also to enhance library services. We all have many stories about impressing a faculty member or student by getting a hidden gem for them,” Lewis said. “Law library associations are part of the secret to our success—it is not only what you know but who you know.”