Getting to Know Alex Clay Hutchings

October 6, 2021

Alex Clay Hutchings joined the Richmond Law team in August 2021 as Research & Student Services Librarian for the Muse Law Library.

Q: Tell us about your background.
I am originally from Las Vegas. I’ve been married since 2010, so that's 11 years now. We're expecting our first baby in December.
I went to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for undergrad and majored in history. Then, I got my master's degree in history at UNLV. After that I worked in the museum field for a while – interestingly enough, at the Liberace Museum in Vegas. After that, I taught for a while in Reno at a small career college. Then I moved to Spokane, Washington and I received my law degree at Gonzaga University. After that, I joined the library program at the University of Arizona. Finally, we moved from Washington State to Richmond in August.

Q: What drew you to work in the Liberace Museum?
Liberace actually lived in Las Vegas, and he established that museum himself because he needed some place to basically put his costumes somewhere. It was his pet project. When I was doing my masters at UNLV, I curated an exhibit at the Nevada state museum that was all about costuming and clothing of Las Vegas: everything from Liberace to Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Showgirls. That was very interesting. Then, I met with the director of that museum and we became friends. So that's how I got into the Liberace side of things.

Q: How did you decide to pursue your library science degree?
When I completed my law degree, that [was] right at the beginning of the pandemic, and I didn't want to take the bar immediately. I was looking for a job that I could do that needed a law degree but didn’t require the bar. I reached out to the University of Arizona because they were hiring for a librarian and I applied for the job. The director of the law library there wrote me back and said that, in order to become a law librarian, you have to have that master's in library science. She said, “We can’t actually hire you as a law librarian. But, if you want to do the program, we'll pay for you to do it.”

Q: What does your work with students look like, and what do you enjoy most about that work?
My job is officially Research and Student Services Librarian. That “student services” part is focused on outreach and finding ways to make the students’ lives easier by trying to get them into the library with different programs. We just had a Constitution Day celebration which was a lot of fun. For the “research” part of my title, I help at the reference desk. I do research for faculty who have questions, and I also teach legal research and law students. I would say that teaching is my favorite part of the job,  because I really like to interact with the students one-on-one, and I know how difficult some of this stuff can be. Legal research can be a bear. Being able to help guide the students through some very dense material is rewarding.

Q: How can students book a time with you and take advantage of your role in the law school?
Anyone can reach out to me through email or schedule appointment or just stop by the library. I sit right behind the reference desk. Students can use me to ask questions they might be afraid to ask their professors or other students, because this is new to everybody. I know a lot of times law students don't want to look like they don't know the answer, but that's okay. I recommend using the resources available – your professors, fellow students, your librarians. There's no judgment here.

 

Interview conducted by Salua Kamerow, L’22.
Transcript lightly edited for length/clarity.