Sally Wiant to Retire as Law Library Director

Lexington, VA Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Prof. Sally Wiant
Prof. Sarah K. (Sally) Wiant will retire as director of the Washington and Lee Law School Library at the end of June to assume full-time duties as a teacher and scholar on the Washington and Lee Faculty of Law.

Prof. Wiant has served as director of the Law Library for 31 years, during which time she has been a national and international leader in the arena of law libraries, a mentor to many fellow librarians throughout the country, and a dedicated administrator.

"Professor Wiant's service to the Law School has been extraordinary," said Dean Rodney A. Smolla. "We are fortunate that she will continue to serve as a valued member of the Faculty of Law."

Prof. Wiant began her career as a librarian at Texas Tech University after earning her M.L.S. degree in 1970 from the University of North Texas, which honored her as a distinguished alumna in 1998. She matriculated to W&L in 1972 with the first class of women admitted to the School of Law. While working on her J.D. degree, Professor Wiant also served as assistant librarian, and took over directorship of the library upon her graduation in 1978. She is only the tenth person to hold this position in the history of the School.

Prof. Wiant helped oversee in 1976 the move of the Law Library's holdings from Tucker Hall to Sidney Lewis Hall, which offered greatly expanded library space and additional services, including an audio-visual media center and a rare-book room. During her 31 years as director, she guided the dramatic expansion of the library's collection, which stands at well over 400,000 volumes today, and the introduction of computer terminals and electronic research resources.

During her career, Prof. Wiant has served a variety of professional organizations, including the Association of American Law Schools, the Special Libraries Association, and the American Association of Law Libraries, from which she received the Presidential Certificate of Merit in 2001. She participated on eighteen site evaluation teams for the American Bar Association's reaccreditation process. In addition, she served on advisory boards for West Publishing Company and the National Legal Ethics Reporter, among others.

"I've had the opportunity to build collections, develop services to support the faculty and students, introduce new technologies and participate in designing additions to the building," reflected Wiant. "Now I have the opportunity to develop and teach in our new third year program. These are exciting times."

An active scholar in the areas of copyright, patents and trademark with numerous publications and presentations to her credit, Prof. Wiant was granted tenure in 1984 and attained the rank of full professor of law in 1993. In 2005, she was named an honorary member of the W&L Chapter of Order of the Coif.

This fall, Prof. Wiant will teach a practicum course on intellectual property in the Law School's new third-year curriculum. The course will focus on private enforcement of rights in the areas of trademark and copyright and require students to conduct interviews, perform research, draft documents, and engage in exercises relating to registration and licensing.

In July, Caroline Osborne, research and instructional services librarian, will assume the duties of Acting Director of the Law Library. The School will form a committee to conduct a national search for a new library director in August.

Email This Page