Early Career Conference Awards – Interview with Josie Crone

This is the first in a series of interviews with each of our Early Career Conference Award (ECCA) winners for 2022. In these blog posts our winners will tell us more about why they applied for the award, and what they are looking forward to at the conference, being held in Charlotte, North Carolina this summer.

Josie Crone

Our first interview is with Josie Crone, Research Librarian at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP. Josie’s award is co-sponsored by the Legal Community.

Why did you pursue a LIS career?

I started my career in LIS after completing my undergraduate degree at the University of Manchester, opting to study a Masters in Library and Information Management in the same city. I have always been an enthusiastic reader, studying English Literature at College, and performing, watching and reading plays, as well as novels, in my spare time, informed my decision to pursue a career in LIS. I also credit my parents, both previously librarians at an accountancy firm, who were very supportive of my interest in knowledge and reading. Alongside my interest in books, I was attracted to the people facing element of the role of librarian, as I consider myself to be a person who enjoys helping others, whether that be through recommending a title or delivering training. The concept of using IT to improve both librarian and library user’s experience also appealed to me, particularly in light of developing new processes, such as new technologies to streamline administrative tasks. My other personality traits – such as a keen eye for detail and organisation were also reasons for choosing LIS.

Can you tell us about your career so far?

While studying my Library and Information Management course, I was fortunate enough to gain a work placement at Manchester Art Gallery, sorting through a series of art books that had been lost in storage for decades. This enabled me to organise my own cataloguing system, a valuable experience from which I learnt skills still useful today, such as data entry. I then worked at a Higher Education College, which gave me the experience working in a busy library environment, engaging with print collections and improving my IT skills. Following this, I was employed at a publisher as a Content Management Archivist, digitising print books, and refining my research and IT knowledge. During this period, I finished my Masters and started looking for legal librarian roles.   I have worked at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) for a little over one year, and prior to this I was at another city law firm, Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW). I first heard about law libraries from a fellow Masters student, and thought it sounded interesting, especially the research element of the post, as research was an element of my undergraduate dissertation I had particularly enjoyed. I liked the idea of complex, legal investigative tasks, working in a bustling and corporate office environment. Luckily I have not been disappointed so far!

Why did you decide to apply for an ECCA with the academic/legal community?

I first heard about the ECCA when I first joined HFW as a librarian at the firm had attended previously. I decided to apply this year on the encouragement of my manager at BCLP, who is a previous winner of the ECCA legal division award. Hearing about the experience second hand and how rewarding others found it was certainly an incentive to apply!  I anticipate that I will gain a great deal from the experience of meeting a range of library professionals from different firms, divisions and jurisdictions, and this will spark conversation and allow me to consider the profession from different perspectives. Alongside meeting fellow librarians, I will enjoy attending the conference sessions, which I understand will be incredibly useful for my professional development. I anticipate that the conference will focus on LIS post-COVID-19, the rapid employment of emerging technologies as a result of the pandemic, ways to engage lawyers, and hearing advice from international librarians on various hot topics such as these, will be highly rewarding both personally and professionally.

What are you most looking forward to about SLA 2022?

I am looking forward to meeting new people who have similar interests to me. I imagine that these connections will be beneficial for my development and I am excited to feedback what I have learnt back to my BCLP colleagues both in the US and UK. I am keen to listen to the range of talks, from high profile speakers and think that the talks on offer are varied and interesting. I will also enjoy learning about the variety of new products and services from the exhibition stands at the INFO-EXPO. Having looked at the exhibitors due to attend, there are several that I am familiar with and I am keen to see what products they are introducing to the legal market. There are also other exhibitors I am unfamiliar with, but am interested to learn about.

I am also excited to explore Charlotte as I have not been to the city before. While there, I am planning on visiting BCLP colleagues in the Charlotte office, which is not an opportunity I would have had otherwise!

Which sessions/speakers on the programme are excited most about?

There is a huge range of sessions and speakers on offer at the SLA! I think that the talk on “Becoming a Key Player: Librarians as Partners in the Research Process” is particularly important to me, as a large part of my role is research based and I am keen to develop my research processes with our lawyers. The talk on “The Legal Landscape: A Post-Pandemic Review” will also be hugely valuable, as I recognise that COVID-19 has altered lawyer’s expectations for their library services and hints and tips from this session will be really useful. Other sessions that caught my eye are “Ongoing Legal Issues For The LGBTQ Community” and “Media Bias: A Better Understanding Beyond Fake News” as these are topics of particular personal interest to me.