Introducing…Anne Burnett as the May 2018 FCIL Librarian of the Month


1. Where did you grow up?

Reno, Nevada, which is in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

2. Why did you select law librarianship as a career?

I started working in the law library as a 2L and was officious and probably inappropriate in my zeal to answer reference questions from behind the circulation counter. I got to know the law librarians well, especially a brand new librarian named Carol Watson (yes, that Carol Watson) who encouraged me to consider law librarianship as a career. I enjoy helping members of our law school community with their research, and I am especially happy to be able to teach our wonderful students.

3. When did you develop an interest in foreign, comparative, and international law?

Before I started law school, I worked as a paralegal in a big law firm in San Francisco and had vague notions of “doing good” with a future law degree. A colleague invited me to an Amnesty International meeting, which spurred an interest in international human rights, leading me to look for law schools with strong international law programs. I was happy to discover that the University of Georgia had such a program in one of the coolest music towns in the world, and I took advantage of many of the school’s FCIL offerings, including a summer clerkship with a London law firm, a course in Brussels on European Union law and editorship of the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law.

4. Who is your current employer? How long have you worked there?

I have been at the Alexander Campbell King Law Library at the University of Georgia School of Law for almost 22 years. Before returning to Athens for this job, I worked as a judicial law clerk and a legislative attorney in Nevada, followed by my first job as a law librarian at the University of Arkansas.

5. Do you speak any foreign languages?

I have some reading ability in German and Spanish but do not claim to speak either. I am working on Spanish somewhat diligently but wish I could immerse in a Spanish-speaking country for a year or two!

6. What is your most significant professional achievement?

I have had the honor of working closely with Mary Alice Baish and Emily Feltren in AALL’s Government Relations Office, first as chair of the Government Relations Committee and then the Digital Access to Legal Information Committee.  I am also honored to be one of the early recipients of the Spirit of the FCIL SIS awards a million years ago, when I was the newsletter editor and created the first web site for the SIS.  If you want see the site as it first existed in 1997, you must put on your Spice Girls or Hanson and then plug (does that win for the ugliest URL ever?) into the Wayback Machine  and discover what the most basic of html skills can build.

7. What is your biggest food weakness?

Really good pastry.

8. What song makes you want to get up and sing/dance?

Any early REM. Oh, I also cannot sit still if I hear “You Dropped a Bomb on Me” by the Gap Band.

9. What ability or skill do you most wish you had (that you don’t have already)?

Fluency in several foreign languages. I also wish I played a musical instrument with some competence. I have no excuse. My husband is a musician and I have access to all kinds of instruments but have yet to achieve the ability to play any of them.

10. Aside from the basic necessities, what is one thing you can’t go a day without?

I’m a hopeless caffeine addict.

11. Anything else you would like to share with us?

Through my advocacy work in AALL I have become involved in the Law Libraries Section of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). Our section, which includes several AALL FCIL SIS and Gov Docs SIS members as well as wonderful law librarian colleagues from around the world, works on global access to legal information issues. For example, former AALL President and current IFLA Libraries Section Standing Committee member Sally Holterhoff recently shepherded the Statement on Government Provision of Public Legal Information in the Digital Age through approval by IFLA’s Governing Board, and several members of the Section have conducted workshops on free access to legal information (including the power of networking with other law librarians) in Uganda and Cote d’Ivoire with plans for a third African workshop in the works. We’d love to have more law librarians join us in this work and at IFLA’s World Legal Information Congress in Kuala Lumpur this year, and in Athens, Greece in 2019!