As deputy law librarian at the Wisconsin State Law Library, Amy Crowder regularly contemplates ways to keep the library’s 135,000 physical items and nearly five miles of bookshelves useful in an increasingly digital world.
Crowder started working at the Wisconsin State Library as a part-time cataloger in 1994. She has been promoted twice since then — most recently in 2012, when she accepted the role of deputy law librarian.
Over the past 25 years, she’s organized the library’s Judicial Council collection of more than 6,400 items, cataloged more than 1,000 items in its rare-book collection and started the library’s website. Now, she spends a great deal of her time analyzing how people use the library’s print and electronic collections.
“Being able to understand a user’s needs and level of legal knowledge — whether they be a judge, attorney or pro se litigant — helps me best respond, as a reference librarian, to their questions but also helps me, as deputy law librarian, develop a library collection in the necessary subject areas and formats to provide equal access to the law,” Crowder said.
Julie Tessmer Robinson, state law librarian at the Wisconsin State Library, said the importance Crowder places on dealing with library users allows her to recommend meaningful additions to the library’s print and online collections.
“People say, ‘Why do you need libraries? Isn’t everything on the internet?’” Tessmer Robinson said. “Amy is leading the charge to say, ‘No, come use the books in our library!’”
Crowder said she’s proud to help ensure people have equal access to legal information.
“I am lucky to be in a position that works with the various people involved with the Wisconsin court system, while trying to make the law accessible to all,” Crowder said.