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Ann Hemmens had just earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Illinois and was set on making a positive impact on society. So she enrolled in law school at the University of North Carolina, with a plan to focus her career on policy work.
After earning her J.D. in 1993, she spent four years supervising a free AIDS hotline for the American Social Health Association. Then she moved into medical policy work with the North Carolina Medicaid Office. Gradually, it became clear that she enjoyed connecting people with resources and the challenges of law.
With that in mind, she went back to school and, in 2000, earned a Master’s of Library Science at the University of North Carolina. In November 2009, she joined the faculty of the UNM Law Library as assistant director for public service and associate professor of law librarianship.
“I like helping professors in an intellectually interesting area and I enjoy the interaction with students and the general public,” she says. “There’s a lot of variety in a day and I especially enjoy the unpredictable.”
In addition to supervising employees, Hemmens teaches a legal research course every semester, helps out on the reference desk, makes decisions about what resources to buy and offers suggestions for how to promote those materials. She works with law library colleagues across the country on policy issues, such as prisoner access to legal materials.
Prior to joining the UNM Law Library faculty, she spent nine years at the University of Washington Gallagher Law Library, where she was where she was initially a reference librarian and later in charge of reference services. While at UW, she taught International and Foreign Law Research and provided many guest lectures on legal research.
At UNM, she enjoys a sense of community combined with an openness to new ideas. She also is impressed with the school’s commitment to legal research education.
“I was attracted to UNM because the librarians teach a lot,” she says. “This makes the UNM Law Library a leader in providing that type of skills education to students. By offering general and specific legal research classes, we are preparing students for life during law school and beyond.”
When she’s not at the Law Library, Hemmens might be seen hiking in the Sandias with Nina, her Australian shepherd, checking out Albuquerque’s restaurants or refining the “Theme from Mahogany” on her new used piano.