“Librarianship is the last truly service-oriented profession — and I have never found a better gig.” – Robert C. Berring
Robert C. Berring briefly but memorably served as Director of the University of Washington Law Library from 1981 to 1982. He has been described as “a renaissance man and the epitome of the academic law librarian.”
He succeeded Marian Gould Gallagher as director of the Law Library and quickly made his own mark on the library through a variety of initiatives designed to reach out to staff and patrons alike. For instance, he instituted Brown Bag Lunches with library employees; organized the first complete count of all library books in the library (which helped to increase the library’s ABA collection size ranking); and improved patron access to the library through measures such as loosening restrictions on who could check out certain materials and for how long. He also reached out beyond the library through a new weekly library newsletter to the law school community, which lives on in The Crier, the UW School of Law’s weekly newsletter; and taught a popular course in legal bibliography.
Professor Berring left Seattle in 1982 to accept a position as law professor and director of the law library at the UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall). Yet as he wrote in a 1987 letter, “I have very fond memories of Seattle and the great folks up there. I don’t think I’ll ever get over my love affair with the great Northwest.”
He served as Dean of the School of Library and Information Studies at UC Berkeley from 1986 to 1989 and as interim dean of the law school from 2003 to 2004. He stepped down as director of the UC Berkeley Law Library in 2005, but continues to teach at Boalt, where he is now the Walter Perry Johnson Professor of Law. His course topics include contracts, advanced legal research, and Chinese law.
Thanks to Alyssa Thurston (Law Librarianship grad, 2011) and Mariah Ford (Law Librarianship grad, 2012).