This week Taylor Fitchett retires – or “graduates,” as she calls it – from twenty years at the Arthur J. Morris Law Library. Taylor leaves behind a legacy of excellence in expanding the library’s research capabilities to include empirical research experts, building a Digital Collections department and a Legal Data Lab, digitizing significant historical materials from our Special Collections, and publishing books about the Law School’s history and architecture.
Taylor’s influence will long be visible throughout the library. She reclassified all of the books, spearheaded the building of myLab and the Collaborative Classroom, renovated the reference area, and diversified study spaces by adding standing desks, carrels, and group study rooms. We expect that she’ll turn that creative design impulse toward her garden now. We can’t wait to see the results!
The library staff will remember Taylor for all of these accomplishments, but also for so much more. Here are some of our reflections —
I treasure Taylor’s heartfelt dedication to students, and to our staff. She has taken good care of us in so many ways – from enhanced study spaces to taking time to chat. She leaves a great legacy of warmth, and always good humor.
– Kristin Glover
Taylor started me walking for exercise. When she started here, she let everyone know that she liked to walk and hoped to get a group to join her. It took a while before I joined her and one other co-worker, but that started our almost daily walking. The other co-worker only lasted a few times, but she and I continued for years. Most of our walks were also chat times, usually personal stuff but sometimes work issues. She conned me into more extra chores because she had me cornered. She would ask me for ideas and then tell me to go ahead and do it (grrrrr).
– Diane Huntley
When I was out sick with pneumonia, Taylor would call just to see how I was doing and to make sure I was taking care of myself. She cares about everybody here like family.
– Carol Sue Wood
I am definitely going to miss how Taylor makes fun of how “ugly” my dog is…..she’s done it with each of my three bulldogs, including this stunning girl, Olive.
– Cathy Palombi
Taylor always listened and was always open and encouraging of new ideas. Many of the major accomplishments within the law library during her tenure were because she trusted and encouraged the people around her to be creative, try things out, and be successful.
Taylor also always had a wonderful sense of humor. She took her job seriously, but never took herself too seriously. Unfortunate encounters with carpet glue, slips on the stairs, getting in costume for presentations at professional conferences, accidentally being popped in the nose by one of her employees: she was able to laugh with us no matter what happened. That was central to her leadership. She taught us that we were important and our work was valuable, but that nothing we encountered in the library was ever so serious that we could not be forgiving of ourselves and see the humor in our own mistakes or the mistakes of others. She would sometimes say, when she saw someone smiling at work, “Obviously you have no comprehension of the seriousness of the situation. . . .” Then she would smile herself.
– Ben Doherty
Wait, who? The library director?? Taking me to lunch??? Gulp.
I had applied for a position here at the Law Library and was taken aback that Director Fitchett wanted to meet me as part of the interview process. After all, it wasn’t a faculty position. Why would she—the library director—make time in her schedule for me, a Circulation Assistant candidate? As I was to learn, starting with that delightful lunch and in the eleven years since, that’s just Taylor. She cares. Really cares. And the library, the people it serves, and the staff who run it, are all better thanks to her.
– Tim Breeden
I’ve admired Taylor’s ability to delegate and trust us, and let us to figure out by ourselves how to do something that we wanted to do or thought should be done. I’ve admired her generosity. I’ve liked and enjoyed her sense of humor, our long talks and her making fun of me when looking for my glasses and the keys. She will be missed.
– Cecilia Brown
Before Taylor, we were often daunted by the immensity of changes that would make us a better library. We needed to convert from an archaic classification system to the widely used Library of Congress system, but it was too big a job. We needed to reorganize our book stacks, but there were too many books to move. Taylor saw possibilities, not obstacles, and she convinced us that we could do these things. And we did.
– Kent Olson
I’m deeply grateful for the excellent leadership that Taylor has provided over the past ten years. She’s spearheaded many remarkable achievements, all with a sense of humility, humor, compassion, and grace. As Maya Angelou observed, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I doubt any of us will soon forget what Taylor has done, nor many of the things she’s said! But I know for a fact that I’ll never forget how she’s made me feel from the day I first walked through the Law Library door — like family.
– Amy Wharton
Even though she was only going to give me a B for my library snowman [Editor’s note: the snowman was a true work of art!], Taylor definitely deserves an A+ from me. She has taught me what it means to work in a library, which goes beyond just the books on the shelves. This little pipsqueak is forever grateful!
– Rebecca Hawes
Whenever a staff member completed a project, Taylor was likely to assign them a grade. She was a notoriously difficult grader and a B+ was considered high praise. Taylor has earned so many A+’s from the members of her staff that she now “graduates” summa cum laude. We wish her all the best as she turns the page to a wonderful the next exciting chapter in her life.