It’s Going to be Hard to Say Goodbye to Janet Camillo

By Joan M. Bellistri
Anne Arundel County Public Law Library

Janet Camillo, the Director of the Montgomery County Circuit Court Law Library and active member of LLAM, will be retiring at the end of this year.

Janet’s library experience began in high school and continued through college and law school.  Her first job after law school was as a research librarian at her law school law library.  Janet pursued a legal career as a public interest attorney working for Neighborhood Legal Services and Legal Aid, but took a break from lawyering with the birth of her two sons.  She decided that it would be a good time to go to library school and pursue a career that might fit better with her new role as a mother.  While in library school, Janet was able to work part-time for the law firm Linowes and Blocher, and became the head librarian there after graduation.  After 11 years, she moved to the court library sector as head of the Arlington Circuit Court library.  Janet later moved to the Montgomery County Circuit Court Law Library as assistant librarian and eventually became the director.

It will be hard to say goodbye to someone who has done so much for LLAM.  Janet has served as Secretary, Vice President, and President.  She has chaired and served on many LLAM committees as well, most recently Archives, Nominations, and Awards.  She is responsible for getting the LLAM Procedure Manual together; she served on the 25th Anniversary Committee; and she worked on the bylaws revisions and researching LLAM’s tax status.  Janet was also part of LLAM’s planning committee for the Northeast Regional Conference held in Toronto in 2007.

It will be hard to day goodbye to someone who has contributed so much on the national level as well.  As the photo attests, Janet worked as a function coordinator at the AALL Annual Meeting held in Baltimore.  You can find Janet’s name on the roster of various AALL SIS committees: Nominations for SCCLL, Awards and the Ad Hoc Professional Development Committee for TS-SIS, and the Patron Services Committee for RIPS.  She co-authored the LISP Public Librarian’s toolkit it for Maryland.  Janet is now a member of the AALL Maryland Working Group and is contributing to the National Inventory of Primary Legal Materials.

It will be hard to say goodbye to someone who has taken such an active role in the formation of the official Conference of Maryland Court Law Library Directors.  Janet was instrumental in getting this conference going.  We will miss her as the current chair of the conference.

It will be hard to say goodbye to someone who always had an idea for a program, whether local, regional, or national.  Janet shared her expertise on preservation with LLAM, and joined me at Jessup to teach legal research to the women there. Janet got the Conference of Court Library Directors to present at MACCM and coordinated a program for the SEAALL annual meeting.

It will be hard to say goodbye to our social coordinator at AALL.  Janet was always able to organize the LLAM Dine Around and get the LLAM runners together for the Hein Fun Run.

Looking at all of Janet’s accomplishments, we might easily see why she would want to retire.  Still, I had to ask her what she will do with her new found time.  Janet will be jumping right into a big home renovation project.  She looks forward to travel with her husband, Larry, taking classes, and continuing her volunteer work with therapeutic riding.  Janet will be careful that she doesn’t end up with too many commitments at the start of her retirement.  She will be available to help with the transition of the new library director in Montgomery County.

When asked what she will miss most, Janet was quick to say that she will miss more than anything the people she has worked with over the years: her staff and colleagues in Montgomery County, and all of the members of LLAM she has worked with and gotten to know.  When asked what she will miss the least, Janet answered that she is not sorry that she will no longer have to negotiate contracts with vendors.

I asked Janet if she had a “best” memory of her years as a law librarian.  She could not boil it all down to just one memory, but helping people is what made it all meaningful.  Janet remembers an Asian couple who returned to the library to thank her for all of the help she was able to provide in the library.  They insisted on a gift of a small Vietnamese bowl which serves as a lovely reminder of what Janet loved most about her career.

It will be hard to say goodbye to someone who is such good friend.  I know we will all miss her and hope that Janet keeps in touch as she begins this new and exciting phase of her life.