October 18, 2005
Spotlight on Law Librarians: Bonnie Shucha
Reference & Electronic Services Library
University of Wisconsin Law Library
I didn’t set out to become a law librarian, but I’m glad it worked out that way. I attended graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee because they had a dual master’s program in History and Library Science. Just what I needed to be an archivist, or so I thought. Too bad no one told me that archivist jobs were few and far between.
As a recent graduate with mortgage payments looming, I applied for anything and everything. One such job happened to be as the solo librarian at the law firm of Weiss, Berzowski, Brady,and Donahue, LLP in Milwaukee. To my surprise, they hired me with absolutely no legal experience. Not unless you can count high school civics -- which, by the way, you can’t.
So a trial by fire it was. After two years of learning "what is that and where can I find it?," I finally began to feel comfortable in my accidental profession. I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge the huge debt of gratitude which I owe to the members of the Private Downtown Law Librarians of Milwaukee, once my mentors and now my peers.
Six years ago, my husband and I decided that it was time to come home. High school sweethearts, we’d both been longing to return to the Madison area. Luckily for me, this coincided with an opening at the University of Wisconsin Law Library. In my position as Reference and Electronic Services Librarian, I’m able to focus on the aspects of law librarianship that I most enjoy: helping people find answers to their research questions and playing with cool techie stuff.
I love being a law librarian. Corny, but true. I get paid to be an information detective. I particularly like the challenging questions - the ones that require me to dig into those information crevices that only we librarians know. Teaching law students is rewarding, too. It's neat to see those light bulbs go on. I also get to design our Web site, chat with law students via virtual reference, and share research tips on the Law Library's blog, WisBlawg.
When I'm not at work, I'm "Mama." My 4 year old son and 1 year old daughter keep me jumping.These are a few of my favorite things. . . Rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens -- No, wait,that's Julie Andrews. Mine are:
• Dancing around the kitchen with my son to "Mama music," a.k.a. James Taylor
• Playing the "I'm gonna get you" game with my daughter as she squeals and runs away
• Stargate: SG-1- my new favorite show since they canceled Star Trek: Enterprise
• Chatting with my husband by the campfire with the dog sacked out at our feet
• Spiderman movies - geek turned super hero - you’ve gotta like that
• Almond Joy ice cream from the Chocolate Shoppe
The Spotlight on Law Librarians feature is edited by Lee Peoples, Law Librarian Blog Contributing Editor and Associate Director for Faculty, Research and Instructional Services, Oklahoma City University Law Library. Please feel free to recommend a colleague for this feature to Lee at email@example.com
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