Thursday, April 14, 2011

National Library Week: The Legend of Arthur Pulling

This week is National Library Week. To observe the week, I would like to commemorate the work of a largely forgotten hero in the world of law librarians. 

Arthur Clement Pulling began his career shelving books at the Harvard Law School’s library. Despite the lack of credentials, he went on to accomplish great things. During World War I, he organized the library of the War Department. After serving as Assistant Law Library Director at Harvard, he traveled to the University of Minnesota’s law school to develop its library into a major collection. After another stint at Harvard, he moved to the new Villanova University School of Law to establish its library. Upon retirement, he traveled to Maine to organize the University of Maine’s law library. Because so much time has passed, I may have missed a few accomplishments or not set out the chronology correctly, but the story is largely accurate.

 How likely is it that today someone without credentials but lots of creativity could make a mark in the world of legal education? Has the demand for credentials shut out truly innovative people?


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