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July 6, 2006

Press Contact: Jodi Bart, UT Law,, (512) 232-1408.

Professor Roy Mersky Receives University of Wisconsin Alumnus of the Year Award

Photo of Professor Roy Mersky

Roy M. Mersky
Photo Credit: Rick Patrick

AUSTIN, Texas— Professor Roy M. Mersky, a member of The University of Texas School of Law faculty and the director of its Jamail Center for Legal Research, Tarlton Law Library, since 1965, is a recipient of the Centennial Celebration Alumnus of the Year Awards in the Special Libraries category. This award is given by the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Library and Information Studies Alumni Association.

"Roy has been an invaluable leader of our law school community during his more than thirty years at Texas. Under his leadership, the Tarlton Law Library has become one of the preeminent libraries in the country," said UT President Bill Powers.

Mersky, who holds the Harry M. Reasoner Regents Chair in Law, will be honored formally on Saturday, Sept. 30, during the centennial celebration weekend on the UW-Madison campus. Mersky received his B.S. ('48), J.D. ('52), and M.A.L.S. ('53), from UW-Madison. The university will be awarding eight Centennial Celebration Alumnus of the Year Awards in a variety of categories. These include academic libraries and information agencies, archives and special collections, public libraries and information agencies, school library media centers, and special libraries and information agencies.

"We chose Professor Mersky because of his tremendous impact in the field of law librarianship. He is a triple-alumnus of UW-Madison, his curriculum vitae is beyond impressive, and he has left an indelible mark on the international field of law librarianship," said Laura E. Olsen Dugan, UW-Madison SLIS Alumni Association Special Events Committee.

Under Mersky’s leadership, the Jamail Center for Legal Research has become one of the most important legal research institutes in the United States. He is known for his pioneering approaches to library management and services, as well as his strong commitment to improving library resources, services, and facilities. Mersky was one of the first law librarians to recognize electronic information’s potential to transform library services and to disseminate information to library patrons. He teaches law librarianship courses and works to elevate the eminence of the profession. A number of current law library directors trained under him.

Mersky publishes widely and lectures frequently in the areas of legal research, law librarianship, language and the law, law library architecture and the history of the U.S. Supreme Court. He is co-author of Fundamentals of Legal Research, now in its 8th edition, the leading legal research textbook in the United States. He recently co-authored The First One Hundred Eight Justices, and he co-edits a multi-volumes series, The Supreme Court of the United States: Hearings and Reports on Successful and Unsuccessful Justices by the Senate Judicial Committee. Further, he collaborates on The Documentary History of the Legal Aspects of Abortion in the United States.

Mersky has made significant contributions to the field of law librarianship. He chaired or served on numerous AALL committees, among them the National Resources Committee (1986-88) and the Special Committee to Study the Need for a National Law Library (1982-85). He was a founder of the Contemporary Social Problems Special Interest Section and established the Spirit of Law Librarianship Award, which honors law librarians who make meaningful contributions to social concerns. He was a member of the Special Committee on the Renaissance of Law Librarianship in the Information Age (1994-96), which culminated with the Committee’s 1997 publication, Toward a Renaissance in Law Librarianship. In 2003 he was named a “Mover and Shaker” by the American Library Association in its annual article naming the most influential librarians in the country. Mersky is currently a member of the American Bar Association’s Law Library of Congress Standing Committee.

Related Links:

Roy M. Mersky:
Roy M. Mersky Receives American Association of Law Libraries Award:
"Roy Mersky and the Future of Libraries," UTLAW alumni magazine, Winter 2006, p. 30 of PDF:

The Tarlton Law Library:
University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Library and Information Studies Centennial Celebration: