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Meet New Law Library Associate Director Susan Boland

Earlier this year, the College of Law welcomed Susan Boland to the ranks of its library staff.  Boland is the new Associate Director for Public and Research Services for the Robert S. Marx Law Library. 

Originally from Western Illinois, she grew up in an area known as the “Quad Cities.” A small community, its population today is less than 400,000. She later attended Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois, majoring in English and minoring in classics.  Right after college, Boland matriculated to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she earned a master of Library and Information Science degree.  She explained, “I have always been interested in research and writing, and that is what led me to library sciences.  I was an English major,” she commented. “I liked literature, and I liked writing about literature.” 

After working in Iowa at the library of a community college and at a public library, Boland decided to return to school, this time for a law degree.  “I was always interested in law. I just wasn’t sure right out of college that that was what I wanted go into as a career.” Boland attended and graduated from Northern Illinois University College of Law.  Despite her master’s degree in library science, however, becoming a law librarian wasn’t a given. She took – and passed – the Illinois bar exam after law school, and worked as a law clerk for a judge in Des Moines, Iowa for a time. 

Susan Boland

Becoming A Legal Librarian

Shortly afterward, however, a position opened up at the law library at Northern Illinois University (NIU), and Boland decided she did want to work in a law library. She seized the opportunity and joined the NIU staff. She remained at the university for nearly 11 years, teaching legal research in addition to holding down her position in the library.  Following that experience, she headed to the Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis to work in the library. Boland was the head of Information Services, coordinating legal research instruction and managing  reference, circulation, and interlibrary loans.  “There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into making a law library run smoothly that students and other customers don’t see,” she said.

In January of this year, Boland accepted the position in the UC College of Law library.  Her job responsibilities are very similar to those she had in Indiana.  In addition, she has the opportunity to teach advanced legal research courses.  Boland chose to make the move from Indianapolis to Cincinnati because the UC Law had many qualities she was looking for.  “The smaller size of the school was appealing,” she commented, “because I really want to be able to connect with students and faculty, and be able to build close relationships with them.”

Boland also explained that the College of Law appealed to her because there are many opportunities at our library.  She hopes to put into place programs to help students conduct better legal research.  In addition, she hopes to expand the reference librarians’ availability, and expand the library’s technology use.  Specifically, she wants to find ways to use technology more and in better ways, such as offering podcasts and video tutorials which students and faculty can access 24-hours hours a day/ 7 days a week.  She would also like to see the librarians get more involved in the teaching of legal research, whether that involves holding workshops or getting more involved with research-based courses.

Since she has only been in Cincinnati for a few months and has been focusing on her new job, Boland hasn’t had the chance to get to know the city of Cincinnati very well yet.  She wants to get to know the city better, and she hopes to become involved in the community when she is more settled.  “I love animals,” she said, “so I would love to volunteer with animal-related organizations.”  (Boland herself has a Siamese cat, who is blind, and is thinking about getting a dog at some point in the future.)  She also asked for recommendations for activities to do in the city!   Overall, however, Boland emphasized that she is most looking forward to getting to know everyone—particularly the UC law students and faculty—better.

To contact Susan Boland: email her at: Susan.boland@uc.edu   or call her at 513/556-4407.