Unsung: Anita Anderson
Posted: 6:05 pm Fri, September 14, 2012
By Tony Anderson
Law Library Director, Minnesota Office of Attorney General
When Anita Anderson became the law librarian for the Minnesota Office of Attorney General, the legal staff was spread throughout 14 state offices. Attorneys were located with the state agencies they represented.
When those attorneys were brought together into a central office, Anderson was responsible for consolidating all of the legal materials. The consolidation was a slow process that took place over the course of 20 years.
“For a period of time, I was either moving or consolidating one library collection a year,” Anderson said. “Back then, I was in the book-selling business, consolidating collections, making several research libraries in two or three locations in St. Paul. Now the majority of staff is in one building with a central library.”
Today, Anderson and research librarian Karla Gedell serve the needs of 120 state attorneys. In her nomination of Anderson, Gedell emphasized the steps the law library director has taken to provide valuable resources for the legal staff and the way she has helped the agency transition from print to electronic resources.
“The researcher behind the lawsuits brought on behalf of Minnesota citizens is rarely identified: her name is Anita Anderson,” Gedell said.
With the transition from print to electronic resources, Anderson acknowledged that a large part of her work is reviewing resources to find the ones that will best meet the agency’s needs and negotiating the best agreements with vendors.
“It’s more complicated than just buying subscriptions to books,” Anderson said.
Another important element is educating the attorneys and their staff about the breadth of information available through those resources.
“It’s sometimes hard to make the staff aware of everything that is available,” she said. “That is a top priority for my staff. We provide weekly updates through our intranet.”
In addition to her efforts to support the attorney general staff, Anderson has also given a lot back to her own profession through her involvement in the Minnesota Association of Law Libraries (MALL) and the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL). She is a past president of MALL and currently serves as co-editor of the group’s newsletter.