You could say that California Western’s chief librarian Phyllis Marion has had a hall of fame career.
Marion, the Associate Dean for Library and Information Resources, has been named to the American Association of Law Librarians Hall of Fame, right at the time she is announcing her retirement after 20 years at the law school.
“It’s nice to be honored by your peers,” says Marion.
It’s even nicer to find out that you’ve been nominated by a fellow librarian you mentored early in her career—Margaret Maes—who is now Executive Director of the Legal Information Preservation Alliance.
Marion the Librarian
Marion has been a librarian since 1968 when she landed her first job at the University of Chicago’s new library. Her next position was at the University of Minnesota, where she began as the head of cataloging and rose to associate director. Marion accepted an assistant library director position at William Mitchell School of Law because she was able to get her Juris Doctor degree at Mitchell concurrently. Since her ambition was to be a law school library director, she knew she needed a J.D.
Then along came California Western.
The fact that the law school was committed to building a new library helped bring her to San Diego 20 years ago.
Every time Marion walks into the library, she feels a sense of pride and accomplishment over the structure she played an important role in building 15 years ago—one that was dedicated by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
It still looks and feels brand-new.
“I still think it’s a great building,” she says. “I wanted a functional building that was bright and light and where students would feel comfortable during long hours of study.”
Now, as the saying goes, her work here is done.
“All of a sudden other things were calling to me that I wanted to do,” Marion says of her decision to retire now. “I want to travel a bit. I want to play some bridge. I want to take a cruise. When you think of things that you’re not able to do, then you think ‘maybe it’s time.’”
Accolades for Marion
Since Marion's retirement was announced, accolades from her colleagues have been pouring in.
“For those of us who worked or went to school here before our new library was built, it's impossible to overstate how adding the library has enhanced the student, faculty, and staff experience at California Western,” says Vice Dean Barbara J. Cox. “We could not have built the building or created the same environment supporting our scholarly pursuits without Phyllis' leadership.”
“Phyllis was instrumental in helping us build the law library, and she has worked tirelessly to maintain the quality of our library materials,” says President and Dean Niels B. Schaumann. "Thanks to Phyllis, our library serves a vital role in the intellectual life of our community."
Another way that Marion has excelled is in being on top of technology that keeps the law library on the cutting-edge of innovations that make research and learning more efficient for students.
Marion says she is personally very satisfied with her career.
“When I look back and people are saying things like ‘you made a difference,’ I think that’s all you can really say. That people will remember something,” says Marion.
People will always remember Phyllis Marion fondly, along with her major contributions to California Western.
After all, she’s a hall of famer.