Upcoming RIPS Election: Meet the Candidates

The RIPS Election, to select the next group of leaders for our Executive Board, will run from March 1st to March 30th.  Three positions open up this year: Vice Chair; Secretary-Treasurer; and Member-at-Large. The RIPS Nominations Committee has put forth a fantastic slate of nominees for the Executive Board. Meet them below!

Vice Chair

Matt Timko:  Matt currently serves, since 2017, as the Academic Technologies and Outreach Services Librarian at Northern Illinois University’s College of Law. He’s been a member of AALL since 2016, and a member of RIPS-SIS since the very beginning. He has served on several committees and currently chairs the Online Training Committee. Additionally, he contributes to the RIPS-SIS Law Librarians Blog, serves on the Membership Taskforce, and has helped coordinate scholarship efforts between RIPS, ALL-SIS, and PEGA-SIS, including setting up a weekly writing group for several members.

Matt’s Statement:  RIPS-SIS is one of the most vibrant and dynamic organizations I’ve been a part of and I have learned so much from all of the members through presentations, roundtables, and conversations. I have endeavored to help RIPS in any way I can, and to support the SIS as a way to both contribute for the benefit of the membership, but also to gain from the tremendous amount of knowledge and experience within the SIS. I would love to serve as Vice-Chair and feel that I would help contribute to and enhance this amazing SIS.

Mark Williams:  Mark is the Head of Collection Services and Lecturer in Law for Vanderbilt Law School’s Massey Law Library. Along with overseeing the law library’s collections services department, Mark teaches courses in Advanced Legal Research in Business and Securities, Legal Practice Technology, and the research portion of the Legal Writing and Research Program.

Prior to joining Vanderbilt in 2017, Mark spent four years at Cornell Law Library, where he served as Digital Resources and Outreach Librarian and taught first-year legal research. Mark also taught courses in Law Practice Technology, Advanced Legal Research in Intellectual Property, and Advanced Legal Research in Administrative Law. From January 2010 to January 2011, he was a regional director in charge of outreach and constituent services for Rep. Walt Minnick of Idaho’s first congressional district. After earning his law degree in 2008, he worked for two years a reporter at the Moscow-Pullman Daily newspaper in Moscow, Idaho.  Williams has been a member of the American Association of Law Libraries since 2013 and recently served as the chair of the Research Instruction & Patron Services Special Interest Section’s Teach-In Kit Committee.

Mark’s Statement: Like many in our profession I did not come to law librarianship through a linear path. There is no singular roadmap for how to embark on this journey and that diversity of backgrounds and perspectives is part of what makes this career choice so rewarding. RIP-SIS has been foundational for my professional development in connecting me to the rich spectrum of perspectives for guidance on how to become a better law librarian.

I have been a member in some capacity since starting as an outreach and instruction librarian at Cornell in 2013 through my current role as Head of Collections Services at Vanderbilt today.  Of particular importance to me has been the National Legal Research Teach-In Kit. Prior to becoming a law librarian, I had no teaching experience of any kind. I was both excited and terrified at the prospect of diving into instruction for the first time. The resources provided on the teach-in kit undoubtedly served as a reliable security blanket as I worked to develop functional and practical assessments in and out of the classroom while also developing my own style. I would have found my way without it, but it would have been exponentially more difficult. It was an honor to serve as the Teach-In chair last year and guide the committee through its 28th pandemic-infused edition. Hopefully, others will find the resources collected there as valuable as I have. Although my time as chair on that committee has ended, it would be an absolute privilege to serve as a Vice Chair on the Executive Board and continue to contribute as much assistance as I have received while being a part of the RIP-SIS community.


Sandra (Sandy) Dunbar: Before Sandy became a librarian (or worked in a library), she worked 12 years in the printing industry as a proofreader and typesetter for a regional printing company working on trade publications from a variety of industries. Even then she was given opportunity in the form of additional responsibilities including mailroom, some ad markup, and running the phototypesetting machines. We were using punched paper tape, 8 inch floppy disks and primitive computers. Her next big adventure, and the first step in a library career started when she put in an application at the local public library, just for fun. A couple years later Sandy received a call asking, “Was she still interested in working at the library?” She believes that she got the job because she had done licensed daycare out of her home during the interim, and the librarian wanted to hire someone with experience managing children for the children’s department. She was also the first person to suggest that Sandy pursue a Library Science degree. Later, while completing a teaching degree, she would organize and run the summer reading program for three years, and prior to student teaching, the preschool story hour programs.

A couple of life changes later, she began working at the Library of Health Sciences at the University of Illinois, College of Medicine, Peoria. She began in circulation and completed her tenure there in the serials department. During this time, she started the master of library science program at University of Illinois, completing an MLIS degree through a cohort partnership with Dominican University and the Alliance Library System. After graduation, Sandy had the opportunity to take on her first and only professional position, as Firm Librarian at Heyl, Royster, Voelker and Allen. Like many people, that winding path to library science had unexpected benefits. As a solo librarian, she does whatever needs done. She proofreads and cite checks briefs, materials authored for publication, and firm website content. She performs all of the technical service tasks required to manage our print collection, across the firm, eight offices in three states. Reference, research, and litigation support, are critical elements of the position. There is always something new to learn. And, she teaches – basic technology, research skills, and use of the firm’s tools – digital and print.

Sandy’s Statement: I joined RIPS a few years after joining AALL. I’ve regularly attended business meeting and breakfast meetings. In 2017, I received an annual meeting grant from RIPS. This grant enabled me to attend the 2017 AALL Conference in Austin, Texas. The following year I served on a committee. Although my service has been limited, I’ve been an engaged member, attending conference events and programs. Why serve RIPS? The position of secretary/treasurer is an opportunity to give back to an organization that has provided support to myself and many others. I know that I have the skill sets and abilities to perform the necessary tasks of the position – I’ve been secretary to other organizations, and manage the library budget and other financial aspects of library and the firm’s facilities. Most of all, though, this office represents an opportunity for deeper engagement and involvement with a group of people that I have enjoyed meeting and look forward to working with.

Jenna Pontious: Jenna Pontious has worked in libraries for over a decade, and has supervisory and project management experience from public law libraries, traditional public libraries, and even a law firm office.  Before her current supervisory role as the Public Services Librarian with the Riverside County Law Library, she worked as a Legal Reference and Instruction Librarian with RCLL. She also served as the supervisor of the Main library for the City of Riverside Public Library, where she managed multiple divisions and developed large scale policy and programmatic initiatives.

Jenna’s Statement: I bring ten years of experience as a supervisor and project manager in libraries, where I’ve managed complex budgets and was responsible for numerous administrative roles.  I also have a passion for fostering partnerships to advance strategic initiatives, which is particularly helpful when the library’s budget is tight! As Secretary/Treasurer of the RIPS Executive Board, I would ensure that the treasurer’s report and meeting minutes are detailed and accurate. Due to my time in a law firm, I type 60 WPM, and I take quick and detailed notes!


Matt Cooper: Matt is currently the Assistant Director for Public Services at the Moritz Law Library of the Ohio State University’s College of Law, overseeing a team of reference and circulation librarians. Matt helps ensure that our library provides high quality research support to faculty, staff, students, and members of the public. Since starting his career as a reference librarian, he has also had the opportunity to teach a variety of courses including Legal Analysis & Writing and several Advanced Legal Research Courses: Ohio Legal Research, Business & Tax Legal Research, Foreign & International Legal Research, and most recently a multi-credit general advanced legal research course.

Matt has been involved in RIPS for the last several years, serving as a member of the Patron Services Committee followed by service as Vice-Chair last year and Chair this year. He has also served multiple times on the Grants Committee. In addition to his involvement in RIPS, he is active in the Ohio Regional Association of Law Libraries as well as the Columbus Bar Association’s Legal Research Committee.

Prior to becoming a law librarian, Matt worked as a staff attorney at a state appellate court, drafting court opinions and doing the necessary underlying research. He also served as an assistant public defender for a couple of years, representing indigent clients in felony and misdemeanor criminal matters at both the adult and juvenile court levels. Matt has a B.A. in History from the University of Notre Dame, a J.D. from Ohio State, and an M.L.I.S. from Kent State University.

Matt’s Statement: I am honored to be considered for a position on the RIPS Executive Board. I have enjoyed my committee work over the last several years, which has ranged from organizing and facilitating online discussions, putting together a webinar, and helping to determine the most worthy candidates for awards and grants. It has allowed me to work with a variety of conscientious librarians from around the country who are committed to improving our ability to do our important work. It has also led to other opportunities such as collaborating on an annual meeting program. I know that I have grown professionally in these years due to my participation in RIPS.

I would welcome the chance to serve on the Executive Board and would strive to continue the great work I have observed from those who have served previously. Legal research and legal research instruction are at the heart of what I do in my day-to-day work. I have been impressed by the resources, programs, and events that RIPS and its members have created or maintained in these areas in recent years. If I were elected to the board, I would diligently work with other board members to help ensure that RIPS committees and members have the resources and support they need for continued success. I would also offer input as to any changes RIPS might want to explore to better serve its members and the profession.

Malikah Hall: Malikah Hall is a Law Librarian and Instructional Assistant Professor at Texas A&M School of Law Dee J. Kelly Law Library. Prior to her current position, Malikah was the Cornell University Law Library Diversity Fellow, Research Services Librarian, and Lecturer-in-Law. She has taught courses in lawyering, legal research, and legal analysis. Professor Malikah earned her Juris Doctor degree from the North Carolina Central University School of Law and her Master of Library Science degree (summa cum laude) from the North Carolina Central University School of Library and Information Sciences. Malikah has been a member of RIPS-SIS since 2015. She is currently the RIPS Law Librarian Blog Editor and has previously served as a blogger for the RIPS Law Librarian Blog (2018-2019), Vice-Chair of the RIPS-SIS Programming Committee (2018 – 2019), and as a member of the RIPS-SIS Online Training Committee (2017 – 2018).

Malikah’s Statement: I am excited for the opportunity to serve as the RIPS-SIS Member-at-Large. I’ve been a RIPS-SIS member for six years and have served in several capacities, including my current position as the RIPS Law Librarian Blog Editor. I want to further contribute to one of AALL’s preeminent SISs. If elected, I plan to be a member at large who will act with care for our members and regard for RIPS-SIS’s mission. I would be honored to serve as RIPS-SIS Member-at-Large and hope you will cast your vote for me. Thank you!

According to the RIPS-SIS bylaws, further nominations may be made upon written petition of five members of the SIS.  Such petititions, accompanied by written acceptance of the nominee, must be filed with the Chairperson not later than one week before the election is scheduled to open.

About malikahhalllibrarian

Malikah Hall is a Reference Librarian and Instructional Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University. She was previously the Diversity Fellow, Research Services Librarian, and Lecturer in Law at Cornell University. Malikah is very active in AALL where she is the current RIPS Law Librarian Blog editor, Immediate Past Chair of PEGA-SIS, a member of the AALL Diversity & Inclusion Committee, and a member of the AALL Legal Research Competencies Review Special Committee. Malikah graduated from North Carolina Central University with a J.D./M.L.S. joint degree. In her spare time, she enjoys playing with her sweet dog and anything true crime related.
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