August 22, 2006
Spotlight on Law Librarians: Ron Wheeler
In all honesty, I stumbled upon law librarianship accidentally.
After completing a degree in accounting at the University of Michigan-Dearborn (I can’t believe I majored in accounting either?), I decided to attend law school at the University of Michigan. While in law school, I met several students that were in library school. I remember thinking how interesting their program of study sounded. Nevertheless, I forged ahead with my legal studies, and after graduation moved to Seattle, WA intent on saving the world.
While in Seattle I did a number of different things. I worked briefly as a public defender, I did program coordination for an AIDS services organization, and I coordinated a project for the Seattle/King County Bar Association called the Volunteer Attorneys for Persons with AIDS Project. But, something was missing from my life.
Finally after almost nine years in Seattle, I moved back to Michigan to attend the Library and Information Science Program at Wayne State University in Detroit. I loved library school from the very first day. While in library school, I worked full time as a library paraprofessional at a small Catholic college in Detroit called Marygrove. That was a great experience. Working for a small college library, I got to do everything from managing circulation, taking reference desk shifts, and work in acquisitions, to doing interlibrary loans. Although I had contemplated becoming a general academic librarian, because of my J.D. degree, my teachers and mentors all pushed me toward law librarianship. I did an internship at Wayne State University’s Neef Law Library working under Georgia Clark, and I really feel in love with law libraries.
My first job after library school was as a reference librarian at the University of New Mexico School of Law Library in Albuquerque. Over my five year tenure at New Mexico, I worked under two different directors, and held various positions including head of public services, assistant director for faculty, research, and instructional services, and co-interim library director. I taught advanced legal research classes, supervised staff, participated in collection development, managed faculty services, coordinated outreach programs, and had input on library budgeting issues.
During this time I also became very active in the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL). I’ve held various special interest section (SIS) offices including secretary/treasurer and vice-chair of the Social Responsibilities SIS, and member-at-large of the Research, Instruction, and Patron Services SIS. I’ve served on both the Placement Committee and the Diversity Committee. I currently serve as the listserv moderator for the Black Caucus of AALL, and I’m an active member of the SR-SIS’s Standing Committee on Lesbian and Gay Issues. In 2005, I was honored to receive the AALL Minority Leadership Development Award.
I recently began a new chapter in my career by moving to Atlanta, GA and taking on the position of Associate Director for Public Services at the Georgia State University College of Law Library. I look forward to both the challenges and the rewards of this exciting position. My favorite part of this position is teaching 1L students. I love the excitement of classroom interaction, and teaching inquisitive students really inspires me.
When I’m not at work I enjoy reading fiction, listing to classical music (The Mexican tenor Rolando Villazon is my current favorite.), seeing movies, and attending symphony and opera performances with my partner Harry who is a classical singer and K-12 music teacher.
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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Way to go, Ron!!!
Good for you.
I hope you're doing well.
Posted by: Jamie Ballew | Nov 15, 2006 12:42:52 AM