A Librarian’s Librarian: Remembering Paul Gatz

Paul Gatz passed away on Saturday, January 18, after a year-long battle with cancer. The Moritz Law Library has put together a memorial for Paul with information regarding services and memorial contributions for his wife Marley and their young son Theo.

Everyone should take the time to read Paul’s insightful contributions to the RIPS Law Librarian Blog.

Below are just a few memories of Paul.

From Sara Sampson, Assistant Dean for Information Services & Communications, Director of the Law Library, The Ohio State Moritz Law Library: “Paul’s passing, especially at such an early stage of his law library career, is a real loss to not only the Moritz community, but also the law librarian profession. Paul was a librarian’s librarian. He was incredibly smart, curious and helpful. Paul had this ability to think deeply, including grappling with the existential issues facing the profession of law librarianship. In his piece “What Time Does the Library Close? Avoiding an Answer” he confronted the question of what a library really does and why they should exist. He concluded that ‘It is the presence of the human in the library – in the systems we create, the collections we curate, and the relationships we build – that facilitate the transformation of the torrent of information into the clear skies of understanding. … It is the caring that is the work of librarianship – that is what it means ‘to library.’ And that is what makes the library necessary.'”

From Ingrid Mattson, Assistant Director for Instructional Services, Cardozo School of Law, Chutick Law Library: “Paul loved learning, and that love extended to his interactions with colleagues and students. He was always willing to lend an ear to bounce ideas around about how to best teach a topic. But he also sought input to determine the best way to help his students learn. Those who had a chance to work with him and learn from him are very lucky.”

From Jamie Baker, Associate Dean & Law Library Director, The Texas Tech University School of Law Library: “From the memories shared of Paul, it’s clear that he deeply affected those in and outside of the law librarianship profession. Paul could see things in a way that felt both realistic and optimistic. And when he found the time to articulate his thoughts in writing, we all benefited from his brilliant worldview. I remember one conversation, in particular, when we were discussing the vulnerability that comes with considering law librarianship as a calling. Some time later, he wrote a piece called, “How to Be a Law Librarian” that saw the beauty in the vocation, as well as the immense value in all types of law librarians.

Paul ended that post with words that I return to often: ‘As a closing note, we should be especially thankful for those law librarians who treat this work as a vocation. Because of their devotion to the values and ideals of the law library, they are willing to express unpopular opinions, critique and challenge powerful interests, and design programs that risk failure. Unpopular opinions, risky ideas, and criticism of the powerful are the fuel that will ensure that law libraries will continue to exist and thrive well into the future. We should all resolve to support their efforts.’

Let’s honor Paul, his wife Marley, and their son Theo, by continuing to be the law librarians that Paul saw in all of us.”

Please feel free to share your own memories of Paul in the comments section.

About Jamie Baker

Jamie Baker is the Associate Dean & Director of the Law Library at Texas Tech University School of Law. She teaches Intro to the Study of Law, Civil Trial Research, & Academic Legal Writing, as well as sessions in the Legal Practice program and Excellence in Legal Research program. She blogs at www.gingerlawlibrarian.com.
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1 Response to A Librarian’s Librarian: Remembering Paul Gatz

  1. Melissa Bernstein says:

    I did not know Paul, but deepest condolences on his passing. He sounds like a wonderful person and law librarian.

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