DISCOVERY | on campus

Brittany Persson ’07 on AI’s Impact on Research, Her First Year as Library Director

Brittany Persson headshot

Library Director
Brittany Persson ’07

For Brittany Persson ’07, walking into the Brooklyn Law School Library as its new director, 15 years after she had graduated, was a heady experience.

“As a student, I was one of the first people in the library in the morning, and one of the last out in the evening,” Persson said. She recalls her favorite study haunts—a nook in the lower level of the library, and the second table on the left in the Professor Joseph Crea Reading Room—and remembers leaving the quiet spaces to converse with other students near the elevators, something students continue to do today.

Since she assumed her official role as library director and assistant professor of law on July 1, 2022, some things have changed. These include legal research instruction taught by law librarians, which not only focuses on legal research but also integrates emerging technologies and their impact on how legal research is conducted. Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of those newer technologies.

“We’ve always incorporated information literacy into our research instruction. AI and algorithms have been a part of all the databases that we have been teaching on, which means that as AI has evolved, we have adapted our information literacy instruction to reflect those changes,” Persson said.

Recent versions of AI include generative and conversational AI, which can be used to produce diverse types of content, including text, imagery, audio, computer code, and simulations. In class, Persson recommends students use it as a tool, for example, if they need help phrasing something that they are writing, but cautions them not to rely on it.

“Students must make sure that they verify the information and that they don’t use what the tool gives them as their final draft,” Persson said. “They definitely need to tweak what they gather and make it their own.”

Also, they must remember that information from free AI tools such as Bing, ChatGPT, or Bard do not have up-to-date information, with some only being trained on data through September 2021, for example.

Persson earned her master’s in library science from St. John’s University and joined Brooklyn Law School from Seton Hall School of Law where she was an associate professor and head of public service. She is grateful to have inherited an outstanding team at the Law School.

“When you talk to students or faculty, they rave about the services and the collection of the Law School library. My goal is to provide the team with the support necessary to continue to provide amazing services and to make sure that we are all staying up to date with the changes that are happening and trends,” Persson said.

One trend, over the last year, is the addition of standing desks throughout the library, including some small portable ones in the computer lab and freestanding desks in other sections.

One thing that’s stayed the same? Persson feels right at home in the library.