Suppose a patron or professor or lawyer wants to photocopy an entire chapter of a multi-volume treatise. Can he? Is such copying considered fair use? Perhaps. Ask the copyright librarian; she will know. Ask the copyright librarian? Huh? Who's that? Look at it this way: you know what copyright is (well at least theoretically) and you know what a librarian is. Putting the two together results in a copyright librarian or a copyright specialist or as the author terms it, an information professional who educates others about the “ethical use and best practices surrounding copyrighted materials.”
In her book, The Copyright Librarian: A Practical Handbook, Linda Frederiksen points out that as the intermediary between the creators of information and the users of that information, librarians should be well-versed in copyright laws as to know and understand when an infringement of a creator’s copyright has occurred or to provide guidance when faced with a copyright dilemma. Considering the confusing, complex, and often ambiguous, nature of copyright laws, the task is far from simple and incredibly daunting. The Copyright Librarian is not a book for those seeking an explanation of the law of copyright but rather is intended for librarians and information professionals who are interested in becoming a specialist in the field of copyright, thereby enabling them to respond to questions about copyright and how it affects the use of information. The author describes how copyright is necessarily intertwined in library functions, from acquisitions and collection development to cataloging and circulation. She further explains how a librarian interested in copyright can acquire the necessary knowledge to become a specialist through professional development, continuing education, and current awareness and delineates what a copyright librarian ought to know.
If this a field that you would like to explore further, come to the Harris County Law Library and have a look at The Copyright Librarian: A Practical Handbook. Perhaps you can get in on the ground floor of this emerging specialization.