For The Record

Joyce Janto can recall the moment she knew she wanted to be a librarian. She was 12 years old, watching The Name of the Game, a late-1960s TV show about a magazine publishing company. Susan St. James, as editorial assistant Peggy Maxwell, caught Janto’s eye.

“She was the researcher back at the office,” Janto says. “They would have to call her for information. I thought, ‘That is the coolest job in the world, being a librarian and finding out stuff for people.’”

These days, as deputy director of the William Taylor Muse Law Library, Janto isn’t just looking up information. Her work is often about training law students in the research process — a process that’s seen dramatic changes over the years.

The Internet is one obvious shift. It’s been a “godsend,” she says, for people trying to access government information, particularly since the E-Government Act of 2002, which requires government information to be shared online.

Still, Janto is a stickler for learning to use the books — a skill that many graduates are grateful to have when they hit the workforce.

“A small firm of five to 10 lawyers is probably going to have the Virginia Code in print,” Janto says. “And some things are easier to do in the books. Print still has a place.”

The constantly evolving nature of the field helps keep Janto’s job fresh (she’s worked in Richmond Law’s library for 35 years), as does her involvement in professional organizations like the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL). She was president of the organization in 2010–11 and was recently given the Hall of Fame award for “significant, substantial, and long-standing contributions to the profession of legal information management.”

The recognition was flattering, she says, but the valuable parts of the job are the relationships with colleagues, both near and far, and the opportunities to expand her work.

“It’s kept me from getting stale,” she says. “I’ve been able to do things that I would not do here at Richmond. And I would not have been able to accomplish any of it without the support of the people here.”