Questions with Puron: Featured RIPS Member – Christine Ryan

Compiled by: Sarah Kammer

Questions with Puron is a social media series launched by the RIPS PR & Recruitment Committee to highlight the diverse views and professional strategies of the constituents of the Research Instruction and Patron Services Special Interest Section (RIPS-SIS). Twice per month, our beloved penguin mascot poses a series of questions to one of the many librarians who make up RIPS. In March, Puron talked with Christine Ryan, Environmental Law Librarian and Associate Professor of Law at Vermont Law School.

Puron: What environmental law issue would you say most concerns penguins today and what resources do you recommend for researching?

Christine: Puron, I would say that the biggest threat to penguins today is climate change. And we humans need to do more for you! There is so much relevant information available!  I’d like to focus a bit and tell you about Environmental Law Research Sources, a database of free environmental resources/websites, selected by me in consultation with Vermont Law School environmental faculty and students. Specifically two categories: Climate Change and Oceans/Marine Law seem most relevant for you. In each category you’ll find a list of carefully selected websites, brief descriptions, and, of course, links to each site.

Puron: What’s something interesting about your work that most people outside your field wouldn’t know?

Christine: There is great variety in the work law librarians do. My position, for example, includes providing reference service, collection development, faculty liaison work, and instruction through my own credit courses and one-time guest lectures – all traditional law librarian functions. I also serve on the law school’s Curriculum and Student Services Committees, and am the faculty advisor to the Animal Law Society. I’m an Academic Advisor, a faculty supervisor for environmental internships, and serve as an employment reference for numerous students.  These responsibilities have developed over the years. I guess I’d summarize by saying that the role of law librarians is continually changing with the times and is getting better all the time!

Puron: What do you love about being a law librarian?

Christine: I love playing a part in enabling young people to pursue careers that will make a difference in the world. Our alums work in a variety of settings, including environmental non-profits, state and federal environmental agencies, such as (you, Puron, will be interested in knowing) NOAA, and in other government positions such as Senior Policy Advisor for Energy and Environment for a U.S. Senator. I, like most academic law librarians, feel gratified knowing our students are leaving law school with strong research skills.

Puron: What is your dream vacation destination for when it is safe to travel again?  

Christine: Edinburgh in quiet, grey November, every November!  In what other city would someone stumble upon the University Law Library (and be graciously invited in) while searching for an art gallery?  Or be welcomed into the National Library, given a Reader’s Card, and head up to MSS and Special Collections to examine and photograph a document retrieved just for you, from 1500, signed by your favorite king? Or be allowed into the gorgeous 1632 Parliament Square buildings, now housing Civil Courts and, after expressing interest, be handed one of those intriguing horsehair wigs by an amiable barrister?  And what better way to end the day than by enjoying a pint at the Jolly Judge pub?

Puron: What’s a recent photo that makes you smile?  

Even Vermont Senators can become fashion trend-setters!
Even Vermont Senators can be fashion trend-setters!

We hope you enjoyed getting to know Christine. If you would like to hear from more members, join the conversation on our Twitter RIPS-SIS (@RIPS_SIS) or connect with us on Facebook The PR & Recruitment Committee will also be reaching out to select members for participation in this series. If you would like to be featured, or want to recommend someone, please email Emma Wood at

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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