Tips on impacting the college campus for law and political science librarians

Marta Lange 2During the 2015 ALA annual conference last week, SAGE/CQ Press, and the American Association of College and Research Libraries, Law and Political Science Section (LPSS) celebrated their anniversaries and 20 years of collaboration at a reception located in the heart of San Francisco. Honored guests included recent and past recipients of the Marta Lange/SAGE-CQ Press Award, established in the name of past LPSS chair Marta Lang.

Together representing outstanding achievement and leadership in law and political librarianship, the award winners beheld the venue’s sweeping city views, mingled with one another, and discussed best practices for impacting the college campus.

In this spirit, we recently got in touch with some past Marta Lange Award winners and asked them the following question:

This award honors a librarian who has made distinguished contributions to bibliography and information service in law or political science. What advice would you give to an LPSS librarian trying to make an impact on their campus?

Marta Lange“Friends of Marta Lange at NC State would recall that she believed in high quality reference service, innovative teaching which engaged students, involvement in institutional governance, active participation in professional organizations, and creative research. These are goals we can all aspire to fulfill.”

  • Brian Coutts, 2014 Marta Lange Recipient

“Be engaged with faculty and students! Attend department meetings, have coffee, and otherwise get to know the folks in the department. Librarians who are deeply connected to their faculty will have the best opportunities to reach students in meaningful ways.”

  • Kathi Carlisle Fountain, 2013 Marta Lange Award Recipient

“Be engaged, approachable, and never miss an opportunity to meet with your faculty. I would perhaps add, when you do meet with teaching faculty, go armed with a great understanding of the individual scholar’s writing and interests.”

  • Lynne Rudasill, 2009 Marta Lange Award Recipient

“To quote Dante Alighieri, ‘The secret of getting things done is to act.’ Be actively engaged and true partners in the academic enterprise. Don’t wait for somebody to tell you what they need or what you should do. Take the initiative and seize the opportunity to get involved.”

  • Lisa Norberg, 2008 Marta Lange Award Recipient

Marta Lange 1“Think outside the box. Whether it’s a new service or the tweaking of an existing service, don’t be afraid to go for it. Push your ideas until someone listens. Don’t be intimidated by colleagues who may say ‘We tried that once and it didn’t work.’ You didn’t try it and maybe it will work this time. All explorers take chances… what’s the worst that can happen? The road leads to a dead end and you have to start over.”

  • Merle Slyhoff, 2005 Marta Lange Award Recipient


“I would recommend that LPSS members integrate themselves with the students in curriculums closest to their areas of responsibility and expertise (i.e. I did another degree in political science and really learned to understand what the students were expected to learn), to communicate with them as much as possible (as well as with their faculty), and to be passionate about bringing information to them. Don’t wait for them to come to you!”

  • Mary Fetzer, 2002 Marta Lange Award Recipient

“I would advise an LPSS librarian to first of all be very good at his or her job, engage in continually updating and upgrading skills, and be active in campus activities that involve faculty, such as the faculty senate, various committees, etc.”

  • Laura Gasaway, 1998 Marta Lange Award Recipient

Marta Lange 3We’d like to congratulate all of the Marta Lange award winners on their contributions to the field and positive change they instigate and develop on the college campus. Thank you all!

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