Sarah on why she treasures libraries
Sarah Montgomery is the Knowledge Management Analyst in the Corporate Legal Department at Liberty Mutual Insurance Company in Boston, MA. Sarah received her JD from the University of New Hampshire School of Law in 2005 & her MLIS from the University of Washington in 2009.
Why did you decide to enter the field of law librarianship?
Throughout my life, libraries have been treasured places to me. From when I was young going to the Providence Athenaeum to high school when I studied in a beautiful library that had once been a mansion to law school when I spent most of my days and nights studying in the UNH School of Law Library. I love libraries because they always remind me, no matter how much I think I know – there is always so much more to learn and new perspectives to be gained.
My decision to pursue law librarianship was heavily influenced by my first year legal research professor, Barry Shanks, a fellow UW iSchool graduate. Barry always promoted librarianship as an alternative career choice to practicing law. After graduating from law school, I was still struggling with whether I wanted to practice so I took a position as a law clerk in the New Hampshire Superior Court system. After three years of researching and writing about matters ranging from class action environmental tort litigation, to the constitutionality of civil commitment statutes, to the applicability of zoning ordinances to particular parcels of land, I decided to pick the librarian route over practice.
In looking back over my seven years as a librarian, I don’t regret my choice. I have been fortunate to work in several different kinds of law libraries from public, to court, to large law firm, and now in-house. In each position, I worked with some incredible librarians who were in equal parts committed to advancing the profession and mentoring me as I progressed in my career. Even as my career continues to evolve into knowledge management role over research, I still think of myself as a law librarian and a proud member of the extended law librarian community through my membership in AALL.
Why did you join AALL?
I joined AALL in 2008 when I was in library school at UW. I joined because it was (and remains) the best professional networking and development organization for law librarians. I stay a member to keep up on what is going on in the profession and for continuing education opportunities afforded to members through regular webinars, membership in special interest sections, and attendance at the annual conference.
What one membership benefit is most valuable to you?
The most valuable resource I continue to receive through my membership is my expanding professional network.
What is your favorite memory associated with AALL?
I don’t have a specific favorite memory associated with AALL but I enjoy attending the annual meetings, the PLL Summits, and meeting up with friends from library school and colleagues I have met over the years.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Over the past several years, I have been working towards my CPCU (Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter) designation so that has taken up a great deal of my time outside of work. I work in Boston but live in central New Hampshire so the bulk of my work week is either spent at work or traveling to/from work.
What’s your favorite travel/vacation destination?
In the summers, I spend as much time as I can in Cape Cod in a small town called Wellfleet. While Wellfleet is my favorite beach destination, I will never turn down the opportunity to travel someplace new. This past summer I spent a week in Sicily and several days in Rome. Since 12 days wasn’t nearly enough time in Italy, I will be planning additional trips to Florence and Venice in the next few years.
What book(s) are you currently reading?
This trip also prompted me to read more about Italy so you will find The Falcon of Palermo by Maria Bordihn on my bedside table. The book is a fictional account of the life of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II. It is a very good, light read for anyone interested in reading more about life in Sicily and Italy during the Middle Ages.