Introducing…Charles Bjork as the October FCIL Librarian of the Month

By Dan Wade

Photo - Charles BjorkCharles Bjork, International & Foreign Law Reference Librarian at the John Wolff International & Comparative Law Library of the Georgetown Law School received this year’s Newest Law Librarian Award at the FCIL-SIS Business Meeting in San Antonio. After a lengthy legal career, he decided to change careers. For information on his new position, his education and work experience, see the fall 2014 issue of the FCIL-SIS Newsletter.

Charles’ first job while in high school was in the local public library. He has a long interest in international relations and foreign affairs going back to high school. His time as an undergraduate coincided with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War. He spent the summer of his junior year as an intern for a member of the British Parliament. Library School allowed Charles to rekindle his interest in foreign and international law. He created a LibGuide to European Union law as a class project for a government information course. The guide was subsequently published as an official University of Illinois LibGuide (http:// uiuc.libguides.com/law-europeanunion). At the Jenner Law Library, Charles assisted Barb Henigman, the head of technical services, and Jane Williams, the FCIL librarian, with the ongoing foreign law reclassification project.

At Georgetown, Charles really enjoys working with students, especially the foreign-educated LL.M. students who come from countries with civil law systems. Charles’ brother is a professor of modern European history at King’s College at the University of London. His father was a public school administrator who also taught courses in the graduate school of education at Roosevelt University in Chicago. So working in the field of higher education runs in the family.

Like many of us, Charles is a news junkie. He wants to know what is going on in the world. He’ll take it any way he can get it—online or in print. He enjoys the popular classics; he likes to sing along to Ella Fitzgerald’s rendition of Cole Porter’s “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye.”

Charles enjoys all kinds of foods, but he especially enjoys pastry and baked goods of any kind. He thoroughly enjoys cooking. After spending most of his day sitting at a desk in front of a computer monitor, getting his hands dirty is therapeutic. (You may know the feeling!) He likes to explore his Swedish heritage through cooking. He has even been known to pickle his own herring for the holidays. (He is the first to admit it is an acquired taste!) Not surprisingly, he also enjoys eating out. He has been pleasantly surprised at how vibrant the dining scene is in and around D.C. While it doesn’t have quite the depth of Chicago, it is attracting some innovative young chefs. Recently, while his brother was visiting, they were fortunate to get a table at Rose’s Luxury, which was just named the best new restaurant in the United States by Bon Appetit magazine.

Another hobby/pastime of Charles is visiting historic sites of which there is no shortage in the Washington area. He attributes this interest, in part, to have grown up during the American bicentennial celebration. The great thing about living in the Washington area is that he is within a two or three hour drive of so many historic places. So far he has visited Annapolis and Ft. McHenry in Baltimore. He is looking forward to visiting Williamsburg and Winterthur. He is also looking forward to attending the AALL Annual Meeting next summer in Philadelphia, which he has not visited for more than thirty years.

As a special gift to his new colleagues, Charles has some tips for those planning to attend the 2016 AALL Annual Meeting in Chicago. (Please share these with your colleagues in the library; everyone will get to know Charles!) As a restaurant recommendation he suggests Russian Tea Time, which is situated half a block west of the Art Institute on the opposite side of Michigan Avenue. In addition to all the Russian classics, they also serve a variety of dishes from the former Soviet republics in the Caucuses and Central Asia. Diners are bound to encounter something they’ve never eaten before, and there are lots of interesting vegetarian options. This is a fun place to go with a group (Our Ukraine reading group?) Best to book ahead.

When Rick Bayless opened Frontera Grill nearly 30 years ago, he introduced Chicagoans to authentic, regional Mexican cooking. If you’ve only experienced Americanized Mexican food, this is a great place to try ceviche, sopes, and mole. Frontera accepts a limited number of reservations each day, but most tables are filled on a first come, first served basis. So book early or book late. If you can’t make it to the restaurant, look for Tortas Frontera in Terminals 1 and 3 at O’Hare.

As for sightseeing in Chicago, Charles highly recommends the walking tours sponsored by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Their boat tour along the Chicago River is especially recommended for first time visitors. (Maybe these tips will encourage Philadelphians to blog their favorite ethnic restaurants!)

If you are a newer FCIL librarian and would like to be introduced to the esteemed community of FCIL librarians, please let me know at daniel.wade@yale.edu.

3 responses to “Introducing…Charles Bjork as the October FCIL Librarian of the Month

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