1. Where did you grow up?
2. Why did you select law librarianship as a career?
I actually started by accident. My mom was a librarian while I was in elementary school; I would go there after school each day and read books far above my grade level. I, quite literally, grew up in a library. While I’ve always had a fondness for old books, I sincerely enjoy the pursuit and acquisition or retention of knowledge.
I currently work as a research attorney for six circuit court judges while also overseeing all aspects (acquisitions, budget management, some archiving, etc.) of the county’s law library and legal self-help center. I’m a staff of one and am lucky to have a relatively blank canvas on which I can develop and improve my (read: the county’s) library.
3. When did you develop an interest in foreign, comparative, and international law?
November 9, 1989. One of my earliest memories involves the fall of the Berlin Wall. I recall being at a house party, in Indiana, with friends of my parents and watching many people on TV celebrating while others tore down some wall with lots of graffiti. At first, I couldn’t understand why my parents were celebrating people tearing down or putting holes in a wall. Whenever I damaged the wall of my bedroom, I was in big trouble.
This curiousness ultimately promoted understanding the Cold War and geopolitical relations. I later pursued this in college, with double majors in criminal justice and political science, and law school, with dual concentrations in criminal law and international law. This included a year on the editorial board of the Michigan State University Journal of International Law.
4. Who is your current employer? How long have you worked there?
14th Circuit Court. Muskegon, Michigan. 9.5 months.
5. Do you speak any foreign languages?
Aside from a few Spanish and French phrases I’ve picked up over the years, I studied German in junior high and high school between 1998 and 2003. While in Munich in 2013, much to my pleasant surprise, I received compliments from native speakers about my ability to communicate. (In retrospect, I think they might have been taking pity on the poor American who was trying his best…)
I’m also trying to teach myself Russian.
6. What is your most significant professional achievement?
After co-authoring two articles with a far-better credentialed person who possessed much more experience, I was so proud when I saw my first solo article in a publication with a distribution list longer than my immediate family.
7. What is your biggest food weakness?
Sushi. (If anyone has tips for good sushi places in Western or Central Michigan, in the Mitten, please let me know!)
8. What song makes you want to get up and sing/dance?
“The Entertainer” by Billy Joel
9. What ability or skill do you most wish you had (that you don’t have already)?
I think I most wish for decisiveness with respect to making decisions about my life. Other than that, I wish I could fly so I could bypass waiting in airport TSA lines.
10. Aside from the basic necessities, what is one thing you could not go a day without?
I feel disconnected whenever I’m missing regular access to some form of international news.
11. Anything else you would like to share with us?
I’m really excited to be a new member of AALL and I’m looking forward to meeting, and working with, a new group of friends. I very much enjoyed the annual conference in San Antonio and I hope to attend the Philadelphia conference. I’m on Twitter (@jblevin11). Please feel free to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if I can ever be of service or just to say hello!