Brent Domann, Reference Librarian
Wayne State’s program was flexible enough that I could work to gain experience while finishing my degree.
Alumnus Brent Domann is a reference librarian at Michigan State University College of Law’s John F. Schaefer Law Library and president of the Michigan Association of Law Libraries (MichALL).
Q. What was your path to librarianship? Did you always know you wanted to work in libraries, or did you find it as a second (or third) career?
A. I started working at the library as a student in law school and decided the work environment was a much better fit for my personality. I’m also curious about a lot of things and like to keep digging when I do research, so it seemed like a good fit. I stayed in law school because I figured I could use the experience to specialize in library work but went down the library path soon after I finished.
Q. Tell us about the degree(s)/certificate(s) you graduated with and why you chose the area of focus that you did.
A. I graduated with a JD and then with an MLIS. I chose my area of focus because I was already in the law pipeline when I decided to pursue librarianship, and it helped me find a niche without having to start from scratch.
Q. Why did you choose Wayne State’s School of Information Sciences? What was a highlight of your experience at SIS?
A. I was living far enough away that online and distance classes were excellent options. There are other great library schools around, but Wayne State’s program was flexible enough that I could work to gain experience while finishing my degree. I think the highlight of my experience was the faculty. I had a lot of dedicated instructors that are great at what they do.
Q. What activities did you participate in as a student (student organizations, practicum, etc.)?
A. I completed a practicum as a student, and it was a great experience. Because I was a distance student, I didn’t get to enjoy the benefits of participating in student organizations. Looking back, I would encourage students to get involved with these and with professional organizations even if they only have a passing curiosity – sometimes that’s where a person finds their way! [Editor’s note: Most SIS student organization meetings and events are now conducted online. We encourage all students to participate regardless of location. Learn more about the student orgs here.]
Q. What do you love most about your current job?
A. I love helping people whether it’s through teaching, assisting them with finding information or resources, or even just providing them with support. On top of that, I love “the hunt” for information and enjoy working on complex research projects.
Q. How has your involvement in the Michigan Association of Law Libraries impacted your professional experience?A. My experience with MichALL has given me a great opportunity to network with other librarians. Even when we have slightly different focus areas or job descriptions, we learn a lot from each other. I have worked for a long time with a single organization, so listening to a variety of perspectives can be very helpful!
Q. What advice would you give current students?
A. The advice I would give to current students is to take the opportunity to understand what makes you happy about what you do. I came from a profession where expectations for new members were pretty rigid – moving to librarianship is not a common path, but it allowed me to take advantage of the effort I had already put in and also gave me a chance to chase some of the things that give me the most satisfaction at work.
The Michigan Association of Law Libraries (MichALL) offers free student memberships and professional memberships for $20 per year.
The group offers networking events and opportunities, and hosts meetings twice per year. Although the group is focused on law librarianship, anyone with an interest in special libraries is encouraged to join.