Joyce Manna Janto, L’89, knew from an early age that she wanted to be a librarian. She saw it as the ultimate, glamorous career. Growing up in the late 1960s, she was a fan of the television series “The Name of The Game,” in which Susan St. James played an editorial assistant and researcher.

“The heroes would call her to get the information needed to nail the bad guys,” Janto recalls with a laugh. “To me, at age 12, doing research meant being a librarian.”

Today, as deputy director of Richmond’s law library and president of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), Janto has found that being a librarian really can be glamorous. She has spent the year jetting all over the world, traveling everywhere from Great Britain and the Netherlands, to southern California and Chicago as AALL president. At the end of April, Janto will travel to Chile, where she will serve as the keynote speaker at the first national conference on libraries and judicial information in Santiago. In May, she is off to Calgary, Alberta, for the Canadian Association of Law Libraries’ annual meeting.

AALL is a national organization with about 5,000 members who work in law libraries in law schools, law firms, courts and public libraries. Janto has been a member since 1981. She is one of the founding members and past president of the organization’s Virginia chapter and is a past president of the Southeastern chapter, the largest in the country.

“I have always been very active professionally,” she says. “I really feel it is important to give back to your profession. It is also a way of learning and of staying current.” As AALL president, Janto has raised the profile of Richmond’s law library among professionals in the field.

Janto began working at Richmond’s law library in 1982, when she joined the staff as acquisitions librarian after earning her M.L.S. from the University of Pittsburgh. She knew that the American Bar Association requires all law library administrators to have a law degree, and she became a part-time student law student while she worked in the library full time.

Earning a law degree not only gave her a deeper understanding of the research materials she works with daily, but it also provided her with a deeper insight into the experience of being a law student. “It makes the job easier because you have experienced what the students experience,” she says.

Working with law students is Janto’s favorite part of the job. In addition to regularly working the reference desk, she teaches Professional Responsibility and Legal Research — though she has had to give up teaching this year to keep up with her AALL duties.

“Students always keep you fresh,” she says. “It feels good when you can help someone find that one piece of information they need to write their brief. It’s very satisfying to be helping people and know that you are contributing in a very real way.

“People think librarians sit around and read books all day,” she says. “No­­ — you deal with people all day. Only go into it if you have a great love for dealing with people. It is a service profession.”

As AALL president Janto steers the activities of the organization and travels across the country to meet with members. Earlier this year, she organized a vendor colloquy to discuss the future of legal publishing. She is also responsible for guiding the group’s annual conference, which will be held in Philadelphia in July, with more than 1,500 members attending.

“It’s a lot of work,” she says, “but I have gotten to meet people and do things and go places I might have never experienced otherwise.”

Janto credits Timothy Coggins, associate dean for library and information services, and Richmond’s entire law library staff with supporting her tenure as AALL president. “Everyone has pitched in to help out on reference shifts when I have had to be out of town and picked up some of my other responsibilites,” she says. “They have been very supportive and I truly appreciate that.”