Mary Whisner has worked in the Marian Gould Gallagher Law Library since 1988. Technology and job titles have changed, but the core of the work is the same. Whether it was explaining how to update the print Shepard’s Washington Citations in 1988 or exploring a new online platform decades later, her work has centered on helping people find information. She helps students and visitors use the library and databases, performs research for faculty and staff, and gives presentations on research topics. With her colleagues, Ms. Whisner creates and maintains research guides and contributes to GallagherBlogs.
From 1999 to 2019 Ms. Whisner wrote the "Practicing Reference" column for Law Library Journal. A collection of columns was published as a book (Practicing Reference: Thoughts for Librarians and Other Legal Researchers) in 2006. She is a co-author of Fundamentals of Legal Research (10th ed. 2015).
Ms. Whisner holds a B.A. from the University of Washington, a J.D. from Harvard Law School (where she was the editor in chief of the Harvard Women's Law Journal), and an M.L.I.S. from Louisiana State University. After law school, she clerked for Judge Stephanie K. Seymour of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Before discovering law librarianship, she served in the Appellate Court Branch of the National Labor Relations Board and then received a Women's Law and Public Policy Fellowship to work at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.Ms. Whisner is a member of Law Librarians of Puget Sound, the American Association of Law Libraries, the Washington State Bar Association (inactive), and Phi Beta Kappa. In 2009 she received the University of Washington's Distinguished Librarian Award. In 2021 the American Association of Law Libraries recognized Ms. Whisner with its Marian Gould Gallagher Distinguished Service Award. She volunteers with the Youth Tutoring Program and plays in the Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band.