SLIS Mover & Shaker: Kyle Courtney

June 26, 2015

Kyle Courtney

Named a "Change Agent" by Library Journal, Courtney '06LS shares his copyright expertise

Kyle Courtney may have been an attorney before earning his MS from Simmons College in 2006, but the savvy, sartorially gifted lawyer is equal part librarian, offering his fervor for all things copyright in a digestible—even fun—package for LIS professionals via his work at Harvard University’s Office of Scholarly Communication. Courtney was integral in developing the Copyright First Responders (CFRs), a cohort of 14 volunteer librarians assembled to be the first line of defense in fielding library-related copyright questions. Courtney was named a 2015 Mover & Shaker by Library Journal. His work with the CFRs, Fair Use Week, the Orphan Works working group, and myriad copyright advisory panels and legal think tanks has identified him as a “Change Agent” in the library and information sciences.

Infolink caught up with Courtney to chat about his many hats, and why library professionals shouldn’t be afraid to get comfy with copyright.

What does it mean to be a mover and a shaker?

It does not, as several of my colleagues have inquired, have to do with my skills on the dance floor. I have read the bios of many Movers & Shakers in the past, and it is a testament to a few folks in the library community who have started to make a difference in their field. Personally, it is an award from all of my peers, which makes it truly special. People I have worked with over the years have appreciated the copyright knowledge and training I have been able to share with them. I am not a Mover and Shaker without the support from the community that nominated me. I owe my colleagues everything for this award.

You are a self-described lawyer-librarian (or librarian-lawyer)—does that title come with a cape?

Actually, I was given a cape this year for wining an award here at Harvard and the award cited my Mover & Shaker status, so it was a great help to earn the cape.

You use your legal expertise to advise libraries and archives. What from your LIS training and education informs your legal opinions and work?

I was trained as a law librarian at Simmons, and walking the line between sharing advice, information, and research is a close one for every librarian who has a law degree. We do not want to be giving legal advice, but we are information professionals, so we need to give as much information and as many examples as possible to let the patrons make their own informed decisions. In my LIS classes in reference, management, and legal bibliography we talked, analyzed, and discussed these types of scenarios, which helped immeasurably.

Read the full interview at the InfoLink