West Virginia Record

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Two librarians join WVU law library


By Kyla Asbury | Sep 6, 2018

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CHARLESTON — Two librarians have joined West Virginia University (WVU) College of Law's George R. Farmer Jr. Law Library.

Caroline Osborne has joined the law library as the director and associate professor of law and Stephanie Miller has joined as the head of outreach, attorney services and digital initiatives.

Osborne said being selected as an associate professor of law and director of the law library is an outstanding opportunity to be part of a large university community with gifted students and faculty at the College of Law.

"The opportunities to engage in programming regarding legal information and access to justice are extensive and exciting," Osborne said in an interview with The West Virginia Record. "It is an unparalleled opportunity. Similarly, the chance to work with the bench and bar in this state to promote access to legal information and education is exceptional."

As director of the law library, Osborne is responsible for building a collection of information that supports the teaching and scholarship needs of the faculty and students at the College of Law and is sufficient to meet the needs of the citizens of West Virginia.

"Additionally, I am responsible for designing and rolling out services that support access to information and education for all our patrons regarding the discovery and use of legal information," Osborne said.

Osborne said the library is a service-oriented institution with a mandate to provide access to legal information as a part of an institution with a public service mandate.

"Access to information is fundamental to making informed choices," Osborne said. "Technology has been, is and will continue to change libraries. The volume of information that is available to an individual at their fingertips is astounding."

Osborne said that does not mean that books are consigned to a past era.

"We leverage information in many different formats to meet the needs of our constituents and provide the service and education needed to evaluate online information," Osborne said. "Part of the law library's mission will be to preserve and archive born-digital information for future researchers. Educating consumers to manage their information online and privacy is central to today's library and librarian."

Osborne was born and raised in North Carolina. She received her bachelor's degree and master's degree in library science from the University of North Carolina.

Osborne received her law degree and master's of law from Richmond Law and Emory Law. She also practiced law for a decade in the areas of leveraged finance and real estate.

"In the back of my mind as far back as law school, I always contemplated a move to academia," Osborne said. "Librarianship may be in my blood. As a child I was a voracious reader—and still am—and created my own card catalog for my books."

Osborne said becoming an academic law librarian was the perfect marriage of all the things she loves to do.

"I get to engage in scholarship, write, employ the skills I used in my law practice—licensing, contracts, negotiation—engage with students in the classroom, work with issues regarding information, and engage with the amazing faculty here at WVU," Osborne said.

Miller said she is excited to be part of an institution that holds service to the community and state so highly in its mission.

"I am passionate about access to legal information and leveraging our resources, tools, and skills to reach the widest possible audience," Miller said in an interview with The West Virginia Record.

Miller said as head of outreach, attorney services and digital initiatives, her goal is to implement an outreach program that uses technology to provide services and resources to the faculty and students at the College of Law and West Virginia's greater legal community.

"Technology is also expanding the library's reach," Miller said. "We are able to use technology to bring information to people outside the four walls of the library, often in their own living room or office."

Miller said researchers should consider the utility of a video available via a library YouTube channel that demonstrates how to use Fastcase or Lexis to locate information on a specific topic.

"The law library is also developing collections for the university's institutional repository including the archives of the West Virginia Law Review and the published scholarship of the faculty at the College of Law," Miller said. "Instructional services provided in person and online help consumers use legal information. Building out instructional services to reach the broadest possible constituency is key. These are the types of services and opportunities planned for the College of Law Library."

Miller is originally from Pittsburgh and has been working in or connected to libraries since childhood.

"I was the 2nd grader asking her parents to go to school early in the mornings to help the librarian re-shelve books in the school library," Miller said. "The mission of a library to provide access to information for anyone and everyone speaks to me deeply. When I pursued a law degree and then practiced law, the fundamental need for access to legal information specifically, was clear. This interest created a path to law librarianship for me."

Both Osborne and Miller came to WVU from Washington & Lee University's law library. 

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West Virginia University College of Law