The staff at the library are dedicated to providing the VLS community with exceptional service and research guidance, as well as a first-rate legal collection. The library employs seven librarians, four holding dual degrees in law and library science. Support staff hold, at a minimum, bachelor’s degrees. Combined, the library staff have over 162 years in library service.
The staff at the library is dedicated to providing the VLS community with exceptional service and research guidance, as well as a first-rate legal collection. Combined, the library staff have over 150 years in library service.
Carl Yirka, Director & Professor of Law, 831-1443
Carl has been the director of the Cornell Library for over twenty years. In his role as director, he oversees the day-to-day operation of the library, as well as the growth and long-term goals of the library. In addition to these duties, Carl also selects international materials for the collection. Carl serves on multiple VLS committees and also serves on the Board for Vermont Karelia Rule of Law Project. Carl’s article “The Yirka Question and Yirka’s Answer. What should law libraries stop doing in order to address higher priority initiatives?” was published in the American Association of Law Libraries Spectrum magazine and won the 2008 Spectrum Article of the Year award.
Carl graduated with a BA from Columbia University, received his MS in LS from Case Western Reserve University, and his JD from Indiana University.
Heidi Conner, Library Operations Coordinator, 831-1440
Heidi joined the Cornell Library team in the fall of 2010 as Library’s administrative assistant. Heidi drafts trustee and faculty updates and compiles reports and statistics for the ABA, as well as other accreditation agencies. She also assists with the creation of the library budget. Heidi updates the library website and manages the library blog and other outreach projects. If you have a general library question, or a problem, contact Heidi—if she can’t help you, she will find someone who can.
Heidi received her BA from Grinnell College in History and Global Development Studies. She is pursuing her MELP part-time here at VLS.
Reference and Research Services
Michele LaRose, Access Services Librarian, 831-1403
Since 2009, Michele has been the friendly face at the Cornell Library circulation desk. With over 25 years of experience in law libraries, Michele’s extensive knowledge is essential to the smooth operation of the library. Michele is responsible for managing Interlibrary Loan, hiring and managing the work-study crew, and overseeing circulation. On top of this, she also creates new patron accounts, processes materials on course reserve, and makes sure the stacks are in ship-shape—and always with a smile.
Michele received her BA from SUNY College at Buffalo and her MLS at the State University of Buffalo.
Cynthia Lewis, Lawyer Librarian & Adjunct Professor, 831-1444
Cynthia leads the library’s Public Services department with a love of libraries and deep commitment to excellent service. In addition to providing reference assistance, Cynthia also administers the Faculty Research Assistance Program (FRAP). In this role, Cynthia hires student Research Assistants and works with them to expand their research skills to complete faculty research projects. Cynthia also teaches Introduction to Legal Research every fall and Advanced Legal Research, Prepare to Practice, in the spring. She also manages the Faculty-Liaison Program.
Cynthia received her BA from Wellesley College, her MSLIS from Simmons College, and her JD from Franklin Pierce Law Center (UNH Law).
Christine Ryan, Environmental Law Librarian & Adjunct Professor, 831-1448
Christine is our resident expert on environmental resources and is available to meet about information needs and to help enhance research skills. What Christine loves most about her job, is teaching students. Every fall, she teaches Introduction to Legal Research, and in the summer, she offers Advanced Environmental Legal Research. Chris also teaches individual research sessions for a number of doctrinal classes. Christine selects print and electronic materials for the Environmental Collection, and is a Research Advisor to the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law. In addition, Christine created Environmental Law Research Sources http://environmentalresearch.vermontlaw.edu/, which is a collection, organized by topic, of nearly 500 free environmental law web sites. She is currently serving on the American Association of Law Libraries Legal Research and Sourcebook Committee.
Chris received her BA from University of Connecticut, her MSLIS from Simmons College, and her MA from Dartmouth College.
Jane Woldow, Lawyer Librarian & Adjunct Professor, 831-1449
Working in collections management and as a lawyer-librarian, Jane Woldow is a jack-of-all trades. Every fall, Jane teaches Introduction to Legal Research, and every spring, Advanced Legal Research. When not preparing for class, or answering reference questions, you can find Jane in Collections Management working with the team on materials processing issues and the materials budget. Jane also oversees the library’s collection development including book requests and donations.
Jane received her BS from Tulane University, her MLS from SUNY at Albany and her JD from VLS.
Lisa Donadio, ILS Administrator, 831-1442
As the Integrated Library System Administrator, Lisa manages many of the behind-the-scenes processes of the library. Lisa administers JULIEN, the on-line catalog of holdings. She installs JULIEN software upgrades, provides JULIEN training to the library staff, acts as the liaison with the ILS vendor, troubleshoots software issues, and works to improve and enhance services and workflows to maximize the use of the shared integrated library system. Most recently, Lisa successfully implemented a mobile version of JULIEN. Additionally, Lisa processes monographs from the point of purchase until they cataloged in JULIEN, and shelf-ready.
She holds a BA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and an MA from Lesley College.
Jane Howe, Acquisitions Assistant, 831-1447
Jane has the important job of handling materials from their arrival at the library, to when they are properly shelved in the library. To do this, Jane checks materials into the ILS system, creates barcodes and labels for materials, and then shelves them. Jane also tracks space issues in the stacks and routinely performs shifts to maximize space for materials in the library. Jane is also in charge of routing publications to faculty and staff and compiles the library’s monthly financial reports.
Jane received her BS from Castleton State College.
Rhonda Murphy, Serials Assistant, 831-1414
Rhonda joined the library team in the summer of 2011. In her position as Serials Assistant, Rhonda processes library subscription materials and checks-in serials. Rhonda also prepares materials for shelving and distributes materials throughout the library. In addition, Rhonda processes government documents and assists with special projects in the Collections Management department.
Rhonda, when not working at the Cornell Library, you can find Rhonda at the
She received her BA from SUNY at Cortland and her Public Library Director Certification from the State of Vermont.
Beth Sullivan, Serials & Access Services Supervisor, 831-1439
Beth splits her time between Collection Management and Access Services, fulfilling two distinct roles. In Collection Management, Beth manages serials subscriptions (which often includes a lot of troubleshooting) and oversees the processing of serials. As the Access Services Supervisor, Beth oversees the evening and weekend work-study crew, and manages Interlibrary Loan lending, and as well as loose-leaf filing, shelving and pocket parts.
Beth has a “collection” of many rescued animals, like geese, rabbits, dogs and cats in addition to goats, sheep, chickens, and ducks. Beth received her BS from Northeastern University, and her MS from College of St. Joseph.
Chenfang Yang, Electronic Resources & Technology Librarian, 831-1445
Chenfang joined the library team in the summer of 2011. In her role as Electronic Resources and Technology Librarian, Chenfang is responsible for the electronic resource and technology operations at the library. In this role, she oversees the library’s electronic subscriptions including monitoring, evaluating, recommending and implementing emerging library technologies. Chenfang also monitors the Electronic Resources Management and provides reference services.
Chenfang received her BA from Shandong University of Technology in Zibo China and her MLIS from Rutgers University.