Celebrating National Library Week with a Spotlight on Law Librarian Brandi Osborne

It's National Library Week, an annual initiative in April that recognizes the importance of libraries and librarians.

Their vast resources make these spaces a necessity for cities, towns, schools, and even law firms.

In honor of this week-long celebration, Ward and Smith is highlighting the value they bring to the legal community with this Q&A spotlight on our law librarian: Brandi Osborne.

Getting to know Brandi.

I am a native of New Bern, and raise my two boys, Will and Harry, here with my husband, Kevin. I attended Hollins University in Roanoke, VA as an undergraduate and was a double major in Political Science and Religious Studies.

I worked as an elementary and middle school librarian for three years. I enjoy reading, cooking, and the performing arts. I am especially fond of Harry Potter, Hamilton, and cats.

Do you need a master's degree to be a librarian?

It depends on where you work, but most librarians do have a master's. I earned mine in Library Science with a concentration in law librarianship from NC Central University in 2012, and a separate concentration in school librarianship from East Carolina University in 2018.

Why did you become a librarian? 

Librarianship appealed to me as a profession because I am fascinated with information and the research process, and I particularly enjoy helping people find the answers to questions. 

What's one misconception about people have about librarians? 

That our jobs are only about books, and that's not the case. Most law librarians have an in-depth understanding of resources available to the legal teams and can devote more time to research than any other person in the law firm.

Additionally, due to technological advancements, we are always on the lookout for new research solutions and implementing technology that can be both cost-efficient and a time-saver for attorneys.

Most recently, we expanded our access to Thomson Reuters' Westlaw and Practical Law content. This has allowed our attorneys to have access to a wealth of legal information at any time from anywhere. And given the COVID-19 global pandemic, access to verifiable and timely information is more important than ever. 

Information concerning the far-reaching effects of this pandemic changes daily, and often hourly. Library professionals are uniquely suited to accessing and evaluating information, and to working with patrons to use technology to the greatest advantage.

Why are libraries important to law firms?

In-house law libraries have materials and resources that sometimes cannot be found at your traditional public library. It contains not only legal books but documents and publications for specific practice areas. 

The added benefit is that there's also someone on your staff who can employ sophisticated tech tools to perform more substantive legal and technical research. 

The integration of technology as a tool to access and share information has been critical to business continuity.  

We can also work with other departments in the firm that need access to our resources and expertise.

For more information about National Library Week, visit the American Library Association.

Subscribe to Ward and Smith