Tag Archives: interview

Interview with our AALS 2014 Answer Book Raffle Winner, Professor Bill MacDonald

On Monday, January 7, 2014, Practising Law Institute announced our lucky AALS 2014 Answer Book raffle winner, Professor Bill MacDonald of Whittier Law School. Read on to learn more about Professor MacDonald, his thoughts on PLI and on the AALS Annual Meeting, and how he plans on using the eighteen PLI Answer Books he won in the raffle.

Describe your role at Whittier Law School

I am Director of Academic Support.  I work mostly with our first- and second-year law students to help them develop facility and confidence in the skills they need to perform well in their classes here.  I teach workshops and classes and I meet with students one-on-one to address specific concerns.  What I love about this job is the fact that so many students at so many stages of their development as lawyers recognize the value of taking a “big picture” view of their experiences here at Whittier Law, and come to my office seeking guidance and resources not just to help them understand the substantive law, but also to help them develop as learners and students.

Do you use PLI publications? If so, which ones? What do you use them for?

When I was a tax practitioner, I used PLI books on tax planning by Louis Freeman and accessed some of PLI’s online webcasts and learning content.  I thought these were great resources.

What are your plans for the Answer Books?

This is my first year as Director of Academic Support, and while we have quite a few PLI books in our main law library, one of my goals is to enhance the holdings of our Academic Support Program library, which many students turn to, on their own or in consultation with me, to help them get a better handle on what they are studying.  Your Answer Books are a perfect fit and I am delighted to be able to share them with my students.

What did you think of this year’s AALS meeting?  Please share one takeaway from the conference.

I thought this year’s AALS meeting was quite worthwhile – stimulating, informative, and enjoyable.  My biggest takeaway was that student services, law school administration, and substantive professors seem to be increasingly interested in working together to enhance law students’ experiences and opportunities from every angle – something that was very gratifying to observe, since that is the stance I’ve taken since arriving at Whittier Law, and it is one to which my colleagues here seem equally committed.

And finally, how did the snow storm affect your travel plans?

Fortunately, I traveled to NY by train from DC, and suffered no ill effects from the storm.  In fact, as a native New Englander now living in Southern California, I considered it a blessing that I got to see a few inches of snow before I was forced to return to the endless summer of Surf City.


Interview with an MLIS Student: Natalie Pantoja

We interviewed Natalie Pantoja, a library student at Queens College, about her experiences in training, her thoughts on the future of the profession, and where technology fits into everything.

What role do you think technology is playing in your education and how will it impact your career?

Technology is the focus of all of my courses. Library education is structured around how we utilize technology to store, access, and use information. For my career, it is important that I learn to be flexible and knowledgeable about technology because certain aspects of it are always changing. The evolution of print to digital is the next frontier in the profession and I have to be prepared to be a middle woman between people and information.

Do you feel your education is adequately preparing you to enter the field?

I think the graduate program at Queens is probably like other programs in that it is what you make of it and so I’m going to try to learn everything I can about the field. Like any wide-eyed graduate student, I want to make my contribution and be innovative. So far, I have been learning how to catalog books and perform reference interviews.

The approaches librarians take to figure out what library users mean when they ask for a book/periodical/thing, is adapting to online reference tools. Google is the 21st century reference librarian, so we have to make technology better assist people in their searches. You have to instruct library users how to use reference sources and show them that there are resources beyond Google and Wikipedia.

How do you think the role of a librarian is changing and what part do you feel technology is playing in that? How is it staying the same.

I think that if you got your degree fifteen years ago you were probably learning different skills then you would be today. One thing that hasn’t changed about the profession is the importance of being able to help people access information. You have to teach people how to use technology to get what they want. This is difficult now because people are overwhelmed with information. Some of it false. Technology has also changed the way we keep bibliographic records and enhanced convenience for library users. Renewing books and ILL are easy to do online. Librarians are adapting to changes that are inevitable in the field. Google’s book digitization project has been in the news a lot lately, as has the Kindle. I think this is making librarianship more complex and it is really interesting to study what this will mean for libraries and archives.