Wharton Takes Over as Law Library Director

Amy Wharton

Amy Wharton joined the Arthur J. Morris Law Library staff in 2008.

February 1, 2018

A new chapter is being written at the University of Virginia School of Law, with UVA Law librarian Amy Wharton taking over as the fourth full-time director of the Arthur J. Morris Law Library.

Wharton, who earned a bachelor’s degree from UVA in 1987, had been a research and web services librarian who joined the Law Library in 2008.

“This appointment has added personal significance for me as an alumna of the University,” she said. “My UVA education has served me well throughout my career, so it’s gratifying to be able to give back to my alma mater through this important leadership role. I can’t imagine serving as library director at a better law school or library.”

Taylor Fitchett, who had served as director since 2000, announced her retirement in December but remained in the role through the hiring interim. An internal six-member committee chaired by professor George Rutherglen conducted the search for a new director.

Wharton holds a master’s in library and information studies from the University of Oklahoma and a J.D. from George Mason University.

Wharton has practiced law in Virginia and the District of Columbia, and is an associate member of the Virginia State Bar. She is also a past president of the Virginia Association of Law Libraries.

Wharton’s duties in her most recent position included providing research support to faculty, training and assistance on using databases and software, and evaluating research databases for acquisition.

Wharton has provided research and reference assistance and serves as a library liaison to first-year law students and summer research assistants. She has also taught legal research.

“Through its services, collections and space, the Law Library contributes to the key things that make this a great law school: research, education and community,” she said. “I have a great deal of pride in who we are and what we do.”

Wharton said getting to direct library operations will be a meaningful experience and that she looks forward to continuing to foster the library’s relationship with faculty and students.

“The Law School has long succeeded in promoting an exceptionally strong sense of community,” she said. “When alumni visit, it’s clear from the interest they show in our library that it was an important part of their experience.”

She said UVA Law’s leadership under Dean Risa Goluboff and Fitchett, as well as the faculty’s support as a whole, have set up both her and the library for continued success.

“That Amy is one of our own is a testament to both Taylor and Amy,” Goluboff said. “I am confident that Amy’s vision, experience and diligence will make the library’s future as bright as its past.”

Her predecessor leaves a legacy of being a model manager, Wharton said, and has recruited and retained a talented team.

“She’s been a strong advocate for making sure that the library has what it needs to succeed in fulfilling its mission to the Law School,” Wharton said of Fitchett. “Taylor genuinely cares for each member of the staff and everyone here with whom she’s worked, and she’ll be greatly missed.”

Managing the Law Library’s growth and transition into the digital age has been a top accomplishment, Wharton said. “We’ve come a long way.”

“The one thing that can always be counted on is change,” she said. “The Law Library is interdependent with a number of rapidly evolving ecosystems involving higher education, legal services, publishing and technology. We’ll adapt to change where we must and lead where we can and should.”

Moving forward, Wharton said, staff are taking a close look at library support for education and scholarship around emerging technologies that affect law and society, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.

“We’ll have a lot of conversations in the coming months with stakeholders at the Law School and experts beyond our walls,” she said. “I expect that we’ll see new library initiatives emerging from these conversations.”

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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