Meet the ALLA (WA) Committee 2017-2018: Stephen Griffiths

With a new Committee working hard, we thought it was time to share a little bit about who the Committee is behind the scenes. Over the next few weeks each committee member will answer a few questions so you can get to know them better. Don't forget you can meet them in real life at our events

Stephen Griffiths, ALLA (WA) Vice President 2017-2018

Jonesy, Stephen's cat, with a fidget spinner

Who is a hero who has inspired you in your career?

I’m a big fan of the public service librarians mentioned in the NSW library pay equity case ([2002] NSWIRComm 55) – their actions set a precedent that improved the lot of librarians across the country. And also James Procell, the library director of the Dwight Anderson Memorial Music Library in Rupa Marya v. Warner Chappell Music Inc who unearthed the Mildred and Patty Hill manuscript for “Good morning to all” (aka “Happy Birthday to You”) which helped the court determine that the iconic song was out of copyright and kicked Larrikin Music Publishing Pty Ltd v EMI Songs Australia Pty Limited (No 2) [2010] FCA 698 up to its deserved spot of second-most ridiculous example of current copyright enforcement at large in the world today.

What is the proudest moment in your professional life?
Probably being part of the team overseeing the move of the Department of the Attorney General Library in Westralia Square to its new home at The Law Library, David Malcolm Justice Centre and its merger with the Law Library at the Supreme Court. Those collections merging and the combined resources being made available is a great step forward for the principle of equity of access to legal resources for the profession.

Career advice – what’s your top tip?
For aspiring librarians I always recommend that they volunteer early and volunteer often and keep active within their professional associations. If volunteering doesn’t directly lead to a job at least you are practicing and expanding your skillset and your network. 

What’s your favourite legal research tool?
As a public servant I’m sworn to neutrality in the great CCH|LexisNexis|ThomsonReuters War For All Our Money…
But Legify is free and faster than hitting up AustLII for authoritative legislation.
[By the way, what the heck is up with Google’s lack of a dedicated legislation search engine‽
They used to be cool!
At this rate Pintrest will have something more usable than Google!]

If you had to work on only one project for the next year, what would it be?
A program of targeted weeding of local government library stock for legal texts that are out of date and dangerous for use by unwary self-representing litigants/litigants-in-person – those texts are the other asbestos of the public library industry and something needs to be done about them.

Library cliché: What is your favourite book? (Or one of your favourite books?)
Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut.

If you were reincarnated as an animal, what would it be?
Those honey badgers seem to have the right attitude, unfortunately I’m pretty sure I’ll have to give greater…care to get my karmic balance to that point.

Why did you join the ALLA (WA) Committee?
I vaguely recall being plied with liquor and delicious cheese served on crackers with the promise of more of the same…also to work on events and projects that benefit the legal information services profession.


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