April 4, 2006
Spotlight on Law Librarians: Cheryl Rae Nyberg
Cheryl Rae Nyberg
Reference Librarian & Website Content Manager
Gallagher Law Library
University of Washington
As a freshman at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I needed a job. The nice lady at Student Services sifted through her 3x5 card descriptions of student job opportunities and gave me two choices: wash test tubes and other equipment in the Chemistry lab or play office assistant for a man at the Law Library. What was an English major to do?
At the Law Library, I met a goofy guy with wild hair and a wicked sense of humor: Bob Berring. I didn’t do much “library” work for Bob. Instead, I made racketball reservations, picked up hardback bestsellers, and cut out legal stories from newspapers (I loved those long newspaper scissors!). Oh, and I took his resume to the printer.
Bob made quite an impression on me (if you’ve met him or heard him speak at AALL meetings, you understand why!). But I was cajoled, trained, and motivated into law librarianship by three other U of I law librarians: Carol Boast, Nancy Johnson, and Lynn Foster.
Carol, Nancy, and Lynn were excellent role models. At the time, none of them had law degrees (later, Nancy and Lynn obtained JDs). Carol, in particular, became my mentor. I aspired to follow in their footsteps by becoming a “triple-threat” librarian. My goal was to provide great reference service, to share what I had learned by publishing and speaking, and to promote and contribute to my profession.
I’ve enjoyed my quarter-century of service as a law librarian. I learn something new everyday and everyday I have opportunities to share what I’ve learned. I have written many articles and have recently published the 20th volume in the Subject Compilations of State Laws bibliography series. I have traveled to Australia, California, Florida, Illinois, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Texas, and other spots to address groups of librarians, judges, court administrators, and legislators. And I’ve met many bright, creative, dedicated law librarians who share this passion.
Was it Freud who said that there are no such things as accidents? What started as a serendipitous referral to a student job has evolved into a successful career. May all your accidents resolve so happily.
Editor's Note: 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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Cheryl Nyberg forgot to mention that as an undergrad she also cleaned my family's home for extra income. On the day she cleaned we would rush home from work to find these wonderfully funny notes throughout the house. That's how I learned what a creative and hilarious individual Cheryl is and knew I wanted to work with her as much as possible. She's enriched my life (and my bank account)a great deal - can't think of anyone I'd rather go through thick and thin with!
Posted by: Carol Boast | Apr 4, 2006 3:50:49 PM