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Library Graduate Assistantship

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Former Graduate Assistants with Anne Klinefelter and Lolly Gasaway at AALL Conference 2007

The Graduate Assistantship at the Kathrine R. Everett Law Library is an exciting learning opportunity for a student interested in law librarianship and completing a graduate degree in the University of North Carolina School of Information and Library Science (UNC-CH SILS). Applicants must be students 1) with a J.D. degree and currently enrolled in a graduate degree program of the UNC School of Information and Library Science, or 2) a student in the J.D./MSLS or J.D./MSIS dual-degree program at SILS. The Graduate Assistantship (GA) is designed to prepare the student for the profession of law librarianship through immersion in practical hands-on training in the UNC law library. The holder of the GA position is able to put theory into practice and explore different aspects of law librarianship such as helping library users who ask questions at the Reference Desk, developing guides to research on a topic, preparing to teach legal research, managing print and digital materials for the collection, and maintaining computer systems for the Library.

The strong combination of programs in Law, Information and Library Science, and at the Law Library at the University of North Carolina provide an excellent context for students interested in studying law librarianship. The dual-degree programs consisting of a J.D./MSLS or J.D./MSIS were developed in recognition of the demonstrated synergy of the Law and Information and Library Science disciplines at UNC. These academic programs are further enhanced through the practical guidance of librarians at the Kathrine R. Everett Law Library who have a tradition of active engagement in programs of the UNC School of Law School and in local and national libraries, library associations, and initiatives. All of these factors support the Graduate Assistantship at the Kathrine R. Everett Law Library.

The GA position requires 20 hours of work per week during the academic year. Those twenty hours are divided among Public Services, Collection Services, and Computer Services departments. The GA participates in library meetings and online discussions and attends professional meetings such as the American Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting, as practicable.

The Kathrine R. Everett Law Library Graduate Assistantship provides a stipend in keeping with the professional level work expected of the GA. Applications for the Graduate Assistantship are normally reviewed early in the spring semester of each year for appointment in July, although the exact dates of the term of appointment may vary depending on the needs of the library and of the successful applicant. The Graduate Assistant reports to the Law Library Assistant Director for Public Services and to the Assistant Director for Collection Services.

Comments by Past Graduate Assistants:

Julie: "As graduate assistant at UNC Law Library, I gained valuable practical experience that helped me make a smooth transition to my job at the Law Library of Congress. The program gave me the opportunity to work closely with knowledgeable professional librarians in many different areas of library operations. My supervisors proved to be excellent mentors; they encouraged me to pursue independent projects and participate in professional development activities."

Ann: "I would say it was a wonderful opportunity for me as a library student to gain exposure to the real world work of law librarians (particularly reference work) and to get to know several professional librarians and develop mentoring relationships that helped me make the transition from school into a professional position. And these relationships will exist throughout my career. The position also served as a laboratory for the practical application of the theories we were learning in library school - it provided a needed balance of theory and practice."

Matt: "Overall, the GA is presented with a most unique experience to work within three distinct, yet related, operational units in the law library. Truly, the GA is considered an invaluable component of the library's daily existence, and such a role provides the GA with opportunities not afforded a graduate library science student at most other universities."

Law Librarianship is sometimes referred to as an "alternative" legal career. It is a rewarding career because of the stimulating environment, intellectual challenges and the rapidly changing technological environment.

For more information, please contact

Nick Sexton
Kathrine R. Everett Law Library
University of North Carolina
CB # 3385, 160 Ridge Road
Chapel Hill, NC 27599

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