"I happened to go back to my law school library and talked with one of my former law librarians," Muto said. "She mentioned to me there was a library school at Kent State University. She asked me if I ever considered librarianship as a career, and I told her absolutely not."
After graduation, she joined the legal, news and public records information provider LexisNexis, working with a special team serving only the vendor's library and information professional customers. Later, she assumed a position with LexisNexis in Washington, D.C., working with the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney's Office customers.
"I had always wanted to work in some type of international position," Muto said. "At the time, working in law didn't have to be related to law or librarianship, but I knew I wanted to work overseas."
Muto applied to a Washington, D.C., consulting company for a position in Afghanistan and left for Kabul in February 2007. The USAID-funded project focused on working with the Afghan Supreme Court and Ministry of Justice. Muto managed a staff of 28 Afghan workers to organize and codify select criminal, civil and commercial Afghanistan laws.
While in Kabul, Muto worked with an Italian law project to create a law library on the Kabul University campus. The Italian project had constructed a training center for use by the Supreme Court, Attorney General's Office and Ministry of Justice legal professionals. The building had space set aside for a library, which did not contain one book.
"The project involved working out an agreement with the Afghan ministries so that we could develop training programs and a library that supported those training programs," Muto said. "Our library was to be a full-service law library with an acquisitions plan, online catalog and a staff that was trained in reference services and bibliographic tools."
Muto is now back in Washington, D.C., and will travel mid-April to Pristina, Kosovo. She will work at the law school there, with another USAID-funded project. The new assignment is short-term and includes assisting library staff in development of an international and foreign commercial law collection.
"Perhaps you may not see librarianship in a position description, but you may be able to weave other pieces of your background into librarianship," Muto says. "It works into a position that may not appear to deal with library and information science, but you can mold it in that direction yourself."
By Sarah Lack and Nicole Gennarelli