History of the Spirit of Law Librarianship Award
In 1990, Professor Roy M Mersky and Richard Leiter considered the idea of producing a reader in law librarianship that collected the classic articles of our profession. After a conversation about the fact that titles of law books are seldom colorful or creative, it was decided to call the book, “The Spirit of Law Librarianship.” Working with Dick Spinelli, the book was pubished by the Fred B Rothman & Co, Inc. in 1991. The second edition was published in the spring of 2004 by Alert Publications Inc.
While visiting Littleton, Colorado, headquarters of Rothman, the two decided that all royalties would be donated to fund an award to honor law librarians who engage in activities that serve society, meet a community need or participate in charitable activities.
The award recipient is chosen by the award committee which, until this year, was comprised of Professors Mersky and Leiter, their publisher and the previous year’s award winner. After the tragic passing in 2008 of Professor Mersky, Dick Spinelli, the founding publisher of the book, was selected to join the committee in Mersky’s place.
The committee now consists of Spinelli, Sara Sonet, Research Librarian at the Supreme Court of the United States, Barbara Bintliff, Director of Tarlton Law Library at The University of Texas School of Law, and Richard Leiter, Director of the Law Library at the University of Nebraska College of Law.
The award is presented each year at a reception at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Law Libraries.