Introducing…Alison Shea as the May FCIL Librarian of the Month

1. Where did you grow up?Shea

If you have ever had a conversation with me or walked into my office, chances are you already know I was born and raised in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin – I enjoy taking every opportunity I can to extol the virtues of Wauwatosa/ Milwaukee/ Wisconsin/ the Midwest generally.  Hands down my favorite place(s) in the world.

2. Why did you select law librarianship as a career?

I decided I would pursue a career in libraries while working at the Wauwatosa Public Library in high school.  During my three years there, I realized that working in a library was something I really enjoyed and felt good at; I’m tremendously grateful to everyone I worked with, especially my supervisor Eva, for helping start me on the path to becoming a librarian.  In college I was a political science major, so law librarianship seemed like a good fit.  I credit the AALL website with helping me identify the joint JD/MLS degree program at CUA, which allowed me to quickly move forward with my career goals.

3. When did you develop an interest in foreign, comparative, and international law?

My experiences studying abroad helped solidify my longstanding interest in pursuing a career with an international component – I did a semester each in Dublin and London through Boston University as an undergrad, and then two summers in Dublin through University of Tulsa in law school.  During my time abroad I had the opportunity to intern at some really interesting places, and my experiences at these placements taught me so much about both the similarities and differences of doing the same job at home and abroad.   Having this perspective has influenced my work with LLM students, as well as with professional associations in other countries.  My legal experiences in particular exposed me to the importance of European Union law, which has definitely been a professional focus in my career (don’t forget to register for our EU Legal Research workshop at AALL this summer!).

4. Who is your current employer? How long have you worked there?

Fordham University School of Law.  8 years.

5. Do you speak any foreign languages?

I took 7 years of Spanish, but I speak it with a Wisconsin accent so I’m not sure that counts.  I’ve also taken some classes in French, Irish, Polish, and Russian, but haven’t achieved fluency in any of them – although I’m pretty good at transliterating Russian, which is a useful skill to have.

6. What is your most significant professional achievement?

Being awarded the FCIL-SIS Daniel L. Wade Outstanding Service Award last year was a huge honor – knowing that my work is valued and appreciated by my FCIL colleagues means so much to me.

7. What is your biggest food weakness?

Cheese (see #1).

8. What song makes you want to get up and sing/dance?

Obviously singing and dancing are not allowed in the library, but I have on occasion caught myself stomping my feet, bobbing my head, and warbling in my best Scottish accent to a few of my favorites.

9. What ability or skill do you most wish you had (that you don’t have already)?

Like so many other FCIL librarians, I wish I had the time and money to learn more languages. I’m always inspired by my grandmother, who showed me the value of learning the language and culture of other countries – she could speak 5 languages and earned a master’s degree in Russian from Northwestern in the 1960s!

10. Aside from the basic necessities, what is one thing you cannot go a day month without?

I can’t seem to go a month without getting on a plane.  Which is really interesting, considering I was terrified of flying from about 1993-2001; one of the things that help me get over my fear was reading literally every book on air travel in the Wauwatosa Public Library.  If anyone out there suffers from a similar fear, I highly suggest checking out this book – there are too many excellent international conferences to let this fear keep you at home!

11. Anything else you would like to share with us?

As recently elected Vice Chair/Chair-elect of FCIL-SIS, I look forward to working with librarians both at home and abroad to continue the phenomenal work of all of the FCIL luminaries who have given their time and talent to make foreign, comparative and international law librarianship such a visible and important branch of our profession!

4 responses to “Introducing…Alison Shea as the May FCIL Librarian of the Month

  1. !!!!!!!way to go Alison!!!!!
    They picked the right person.
    Much deserved
    As you would say “Mr Wilke”



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