Law Library Profiles: Brent Johnson
Harrisburg Reference & State Documents Librarian Brent Johnson’s own legal education background gives him a distinctive empathy for law students.
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The Love of Research Drives This Librarian
Edmund Sonnenberg has been a fixture at the Law Library on the Harrisburg Campus for eight years, serving as the Reference/Government Documents Librarian. “For me, it’s about the research first, not the law,” says Ed, although he is also quick to point out that being a law librarian means that “you have a more specific subject to work in, and you get to know the materials better.” Ed’s love of research manifests in his daily work. As he puts it, “I enjoy being in the trenches. I enjoy the day to day reference (service) because you never know what the person coming up to you is going to ask.”

The Harrisburg Law Library is part of the Federal Depository Library Program, and as the Government Documents Librarian, Ed serves as the custodian of the government documents collection, including deciding what documents the library receives. In addition, he also sets up and manages the faculty publications display and is invited into Legal Methods classes to teach a section on legal research. “I enjoy teaching students the thrill of the hunt, and showing them how to find the resources that will lead them to answers,” remarks Ed.

While he took the position at Widener after eight years as a librarian at a law firm because he had no idea when he might find another opportunity in the Harrisburg area, Ed appreciates where he is. “I enjoy the smaller community of the Harrisburg campus. When you’re in the classroom, you get to know the students.”

Of his work, Ed unselfishly says, “It’s not about me. It’s about making the students and faculty look good because that makes Widener look good.”