July 26, 2007

Douglas Lind is new director of law library

by Pete Rosenbery


Caption follows story

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Aside from his professional duties as the new director of the Southern Illinois University School of Law Library, Douglas W. Lind says an important part of the job is having a positive impact on students' lives.

The chance to do that, along with returning to his Midwestern roots, were key considerations in Lind's decision to come to SIUC as an associate professor of law and law library director. Lind started July 1; his appointment is subject to ratification by the SIU Board of Trustees.

Lind spent the past 13 years at Georgetown University Law Center's Edward Bennett Williams Law Library, including the last six years as head of the library's Collections Department. He replaces Frank G. Houdek, who is the law school's associate dean for academic affairs.

"We are real pleased to have him on board," Dean Peter C. Alexander said. "Doug comes to us from the Georgetown University Law Center, which has an outstanding library. His references all commented that he brings superior skills and knowledge to the job, and is an individual who can hit the ground running.

"We know the library will continue to serve the needs of the academic community and the public under Doug's leadership," he said.

Lind notes the SIU School of Law's 12.1-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio is similar to his own experience at Valparaiso University School of Law, where he earned his law degree in 1992.

"That's what I loved about my law school experience — that I could walk into a faculty member's office and just sit down and chat, and I felt they had a vested interest in me learning the law and being successful," Lind said.

By contrast, there is not much opportunity to directly impact a student's career at larger law schools, he said. Georgetown University's law school enrolls more than 3,000 students and has more than 100 full-time and 300 adjunct faculty.

"I wanted to teach, I wanted to be able to write, and be in charge of collections," he said. "But really I wanted to be part of the community, the fabric of the law school, and have an impact on students' lives. This is clearly what I see being able to do here."

Lind doesn't see a need for many changes with the law library, which is a credit to his predecessors.

"They have laid the foundations of having a great library that provides first-class services and an outstanding collection," he said.

Roger F. Jacobs was founding director of the law library from 1973 to 1978, followed by Elizabeth Slusser Kelly from 1978 to 1984. Houdek directed the law library since January 1985.

One of Lind's strengths is the experience he gained in overseeing collection development at Georgetown, Houdek said.

"Libraries today are both blessed by the opportunities presented by their widespread availability of sophisticated electronic and online resources and challenged by their costs," Houdek said. "Doug has walked this tightrope at Georgetown for many years and he will help us find and maintain the appropriate balance as SIU's law library director."

Any changes in the library will be in response to the changing nature of legal research, which is becoming more diverse, along with the need to include more non-legal information, Lind said. It is also important to respond to technological changes while balancing whether materials are available electronically or in print, he said.

"There are still many things that should be in print. A lot of our patrons don't have easy access to electronic information. We still always want to be a place for people to come to do research to get legal assistance," he said.

A native of Merrillville, Ind., Lind earned his bachelor's degree in political science from Purdue University in 1989. After earning his law degree, Lind earned his master's degree in Information and Library Studies from the University of Michigan in 1994.

Lind worked in the law library while in law school. He realized he was attracted to the law through doing research about the law. In talking with other law librarians, Lind said he realized he could write and teach, and that it isn't "just sitting behind a desk and helping people find books."

Lind will teach a Lawyering Skills course for first-year legal students. His 2006 book, "Bibliography of American Law Casebooks, 1870-2004," grew from his research into the development and growth of legal education based upon studying representative case law.

Lind and his wife, Kim, live in Carbondale. The couple has two sons.