John Adkins 2021 Witkin Award Excellence in Public Service
John W. Adkins has been a great example of excellence in public leadership throughout his career as a law librarian. Of course, we know him from the superb renovation he led for the San Diego Law Library’s downtown building, but also for forming a vibrant, active community law library.
Mr. Adkins’ leadership went statewide when he was elected president of the Council of California County Law Librarians, rallying them to lobby for state funding. Under his leadership, lightning struck twice as county law libraries received two supplemental state allocations to recover lost income. Moreover, Mr. Adkins led the way for amending the Education Code to recognize county law libraries as public libraries by the State of California, thereby gaining access to many government grants and discounts.
Also, Mr. Adkins has shown excellence in public leadership in the local professional association, SANDALL, serving as president twice. Additionally, he was elected to serve on the national board of the American Association of Law Libraries for three years. Because of Mr. Adkins’ novel ideas about how to provide access to justice, he was appointed by the State Bar of California to its Special Civil Justice Strategies Task Force, where he was given a leadership position drafting its final report. As a Commissioner on the California Access to Justice Commission for several years, Mr. Adkins championed the many services county law libraries offer. His vocal leadership put county law libraries on the map, and they are now recognized as a central participant in California’s access to justice community.
We could go on and on about all of the spectacular things that Mr. Adkins has done for the people of San Diego County, but for those who know him his biggest contribution has been his amazing personality. Mr. Adkins brings joy and humor to everything he does. As anyone who attends the annual Open Houses knows, he is an amazing party planner with a jubilant sense of humor. He supports his employees and makes sure the work environment is special. He brings his intelligence, passion, and empathy to everything that he does, and for all the above, we should all feel lucky to have had him leading the San Diego Law Library for the past decade.