Introducing…Yemisi Dina as the May 2017 FCIL Librarian of the Month

Yemisi1. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Ibadan, a city in Nigeria, West Africa.

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

My alma mater was looking to fill the position of Law Librarian at the time I was looking for a job. As part of the accreditation requirements the candidate for the position has to have a dual degree in Law and Librarianship. It was always very difficult to find a qualified candidate. So when I expressed interest, as I didn’t have my MLIS which was one of the conditions to fill the position, I had to go to Library School. I have not looked back since as I am enjoying my career.

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

I have always had an interest in information about other jurisdictions but once I became a law librarian, the legal aspect became a passion. As an undergraduate while studying for my BA degree in English, I took elective courses in Caribbean and South African literature which exposed me to information about those jurisdictions. Also while studying in law school, I studied and read cases/ jurisprudence from other jurisdictions in many of my courses.

The major tasks and responsibilities in my previous jobs also involved setting up libraries and collection building; no doubt this had a significant influence on my interest in foreign, comparative, and international law.

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

Osgoode Hall Law School, York University. I started working here in June 2006; going to 11 years now!

5. Do you speak any foreign languages?

I am fluent in Yoruba and speak some basic French.

6. What is your most significant professional achievement?

Helping to reorganize and set up academic law libraries at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria and the College of The Bahamas (Now University of The Bahamas)/UWI LL.B Program, Nassau, The Bahamas.

7. What is your biggest food weakness?

Fruits! I cannot do without them.

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

“We are family” by Sister Sledge.

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

Speaking more foreign languages. But Google Translate has made life very easy.

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

Checking my cell phone!

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

Please plan to attend the African Law IG program on Global Energy Law at the AALL Annual Conference this year in Austin!  It will be held on Sunday, July 16 from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. in ACC-Room 18AB.

Introducing…Gabriela Femenia as the April 2017 FCIL Librarian of the Month

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1. Where did you grow up?

A lot of places, but mostly Silicon Valley. My high school was down the road from Apple, so I still kind of think of it as a local business.

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

After leaving practice, I moved into academic administration while looking for a way to combine my law background with my interest in teaching and research. I knew I didn’t have the narrow focus to be an academic, and I also wanted a better work-life balance. After being introduced to some law librarians, it was obvious that’s what I’d been looking for all along.

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

I was fortunate that one of the law librarians I met before library school was an FCIL librarian, Maria Smolka-Day. She convinced me that it would be a great fit for me, assuming there was a job open when I graduated, which she cautioned might not be the case. Ironically enough, it was her job that was open, as she retired that year.

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

The University of Pennsylvania Law School, which I’ve worked for since getting my MLIS in 2009.

5. Do you speak any foreign languages?

I speak Spanish, since I was born in Argentina and grew up bilingual. I can read French, German, and Latin, although I’m badly out of practice speaking the first two, and I never really spoke Latin apart from reciting Winnie Ille Pu in class.

6. What is your most significant professional achievement?

Becoming a reasonably experienced legal research instructor or achieving OCLC immortality as editor of a chapter in Sources of State Practice, although winning the impressively pointy Spirit of the FCIL-SIS award is a close second.

7. What is your biggest food weakness?

I’m with Wallace on this one: Cheese! I have tried going vegan at a couple of points, and it is always cheese that is my downfall. Don’t even try to convince me that nutritional yeast is an acceptable substitute.

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

Peter Gabriel’s Solsbury Hill. It’s what I crank at every moment of victory in my life.

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

Like all FCIL librarians, I would like to be able to download every language directly into my brain on demand, Matrix-style. Stopping and starting time would also be nice.

More realistically, I would like to have more artistic ability and a steadier piping hand so I could decorate cakes better (see below).

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

The obvious answer is probably sarcasm, but I’ll go with fountain pens. I’ve been obsessed with them since buying my first one on a whim in college, so having to use a ballpoint makes me seriously cranky. I have way too many of them, including some treasured ones inherited from relatives, and I buy a new one every few months, especially whenever I’m in Washington DC and can get to Fahrney’s. One of the best birthday presents I’ve ever received is a custom fountain pen holder in the shape of a Ferris wheel, which my husband designed and 3-D printed for me.

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

I bake for fun pretty much every Sunday, and since I don’t want an entire batch of whatever it is in my house all week, it goes into the office on Monday for my coworkers. If it hadn’t been for Kitchen Confidential coming out just as I graduated and having restaurant owners as my first clients, I might have toyed with a career change to pastry chef instead of librarianship. Yes, I am addicted to Great British Bake Off, although I’m going to have to defect to whatever new show the BBC creates for Mary, Sue and Mel, because Paul Hollywood on his own is not going to do it for me.

Introducing…Jonathan Pratter as the March 2017 FCIL Librarian of the Month

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1. Where did you grow up?

Bloomington, Indiana, where I got into more than my fair share of trouble.

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

After five years as a public defender, I got tired of seeing my clients go to jail.  I knew it was time for a change.

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

I suggested the possibility to Roy Mersky, the director here at Texas after the retirement of my predecessor, Guido Olivera.  Mersky snapped up the idea and sent me to train with Tom Reynolds at Berkeley.  From then on, I was hooked.

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

The University of Texas, Tarlton Law Library.  I hesitate to say that I have been at my post since 1985.  I’m just now hitting my stride.

5. Do you speak any foreign languages?

I can honestly say that I can speak Spanish and French.  I read German, and with a good grammar reference and a big dictionary, can write it, too.  In light of all the effort I put in to achieve just that much, I’m suspicious of claims sometimes made of fluency in six languages or something absurd like that.

6. What is your most significant professional achievement?

Receiving the recognition of my peers, which in several respects I don’t deserve – FCIL librarianship is quintessentially a collaborative project.

7. What is your biggest food weakness?

Authentic tapas and Valor chocolate, both from Spain, of course.

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

Just about anything by Ray Charles.

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

Musical talent (see 8 above).

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

Reading a good book and NPR (I know, that’s two).

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

I look forward to seeing readers of DipLawMatic Dialogues in Austin for the AALL annual meeting.  FYI, I know where the good BBQ is, and it’s not Franklin’s.

 

Introducing…Sarah Jaramillo as the February 2017 FCIL Librarian of the Month

1.  Wsarah-jaramillohere did you grow up?

I grew up in Southern California and the Dallas area, and have lived in many places since then.

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

As fortune would have it, I stumbled upon law librarianship when I found myself living in Bloomington, Indiana in 2002. I recently graduated from college and was looking for a job. I found one at the Indiana University School of Law Library as a serials and bindery clerk. From that point on, I’ve been working in law libraries in various capacities. I saw what the reference librarians did at the law library at IU, and I found what they did very interesting and, more importantly, could see myself doing it in the long term. I applied for the joint law and library science program at IU and became a professional law librarian in 2008 at Rutgers-Newark School of Law Library.

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

I’ve had an interest in foreign, comparative and international law ever since I went to law school. I am one of those people who think all legal subjects could have a FCIL hook at some point. In all honesty, though, I found FCIL legal research intimidating, but I started picking it up over the years. My knowledge of foreign, comparative, and international law became more comprehensive when I because the tax research specialist at Fordham Law Library in 2011. As the tax specialist, I needed to have an in-depth knowledge of how to research international and foreign tax law. In January 2016, I started my position as one of the two reference librarians for international and foreign law at New York University School of Law. I love that I now have an official excuse to completely immerse myself in foreign and international law.

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

My current employer is New York University School of Law. I started there as a reference librarian for international and foreign law in January 2016.

5. Do you speak any foreign languages?

I have basic reading knowledge of Spanish and French. I’m aiming for that knowledge to become more advanced in the course of my employment at NYU.

6. What is your most significant professional achievement?

My most significant professional achievements came during my work with the Social Responsibilities SIS (SR-SIS). In 2010/11 and 2011/12, I ran the SR-SIS’s annual book drive. In 2012/13, I was the vice-chair/chair-elect of the SR-SIS. That year, we worked with Emily Feltren in AALL Government Relations to protest and formally comment on New York state’s gutting of some prison libraries. As chair in 2013/14, the SR-SIS lobbied AALL to formally support the passage of San Antonio’s Non-Discrimination Ordinance and led the charge to amend AALL’s antidiscrimination bylaws provision to include protection on the basis of gender identity.

7. What is your biggest food weakness?

Any baked good really.

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

There are so many. The first one to come to mind is “Crazy in Love” by Beyonce, but I could list so many others from various genres and time periods. I love music!

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

Well, this is certainly an open-ended question. I assume you don’t mean superpowers, so I’ll stay more grounded in my answers. In terms of general skills, I wish I knew how to model risk using Matlab or Python. In terms of law librarian skills, I wish I instantaneously knew the nuts and bolts of the law of international trade.

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

Conversation with friends or family.

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

I’m looking forward to getting to know the FCIL community in AALL better. Cheers!

Introducing…Dennis Kim-Prieto as the January 2017 FCIL Librarian of the Month

dennis

1.Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Tempe, Arizona, attended the University of Arizona for my B.A., and then went to the University of Iowa for my Master’s degree in creative writing.  I then also spent time in Central America, South Korea, and San Francisco before returning to the Iowa College of Law.  I took my library degree from the mighty GSLIS at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and we moved out to New Jersey shortly thereafter.

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

In law school, half of the students and the faculty were miserable, largely because they weren’t in (or weren’t going to live in) Chicago.  The law librarians, however?  They were helpful and cheerful and seemed quite happy with their lives.  I saw that and thought, ‘Wow, that’s what I want to be when I grow up!’

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

When I first started interviewing for law librarian positions, I kept getting asked if I was interested in FCIL work.  After I fielded that question about three times, I thought that it might be worth looking into.  I’ve been very happy with what I’ve found in the FCIL community, and with the work I do bringing awareness about these materials to students.

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

I work at the Rutgers School of Law.  I’ve been here for 11 years.

5. Do you speak any foreign languages?

I speak Spanish, and a little bit of Korean, French, Catalan, Portuguese, and Italian.  But Spanish and then Korean are my stronger languages.

6. What is your most significant professional achievement?

I’d have to say that the highlight of my career was presenting my work on bilingual legal dictionaries with Coen van Laer from Maastricht University, at the IALL Annual Course in the Hague, Netherlands, during the fall of 2010. That was an incredible thrill to participate in one of the leading events in our field, and the location was completely breathtaking.

7. What is your biggest food weakness?

Dark chocolate oranges.  I cannot resist them.  Especially when paired with a nice Malbec.

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

Oh, there are so many.  Right now it’s the song “Hein?” by Tom Zé.  FYI, this song has NOTHING to do with HeinOnline.  Ask me this question in twenty minutes or so, and I’ll be sure to give you a different answer.

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

I wish I knew analysis of variance.  But I was too lazy to get a Ph.D.  I also wish I knew more about coding.  I may take steps to remedy that one.

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

I try to do the NYT crossword puzzle every weekday.  I take a rest on Saturdays and Sundays.

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

We have two children at home, Jenara and Gonzalo, and they are delightful young people.  My oldest, Levi, is a student at the University of Arizona. I hope to return to Tucson to visit him some time soon.

Introducing…Jim Hart as the December 2016 FCIL Librarian of the Month

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1. Where did you grow up?

Peoria, Illinois

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

I selected librarianship after deciding not to continue pursuing a PhD in classics.  Latin and Greek were OK, but adding French and German to them as research tools was too much.

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

I was already a law librarian and had worked for one faculty member whose expertise was English legal history and helped Human Rights Quarterly cite checkers.  So I knew that this was a whole area of law and legal research to me.  Since classical scholarship and Roman law were related to Europe culture, I started reading in the field and liked it.

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

The University of Cincinnati.  I have worked at the University since 1982 and the law library since 1989.

5. Do you speak any foreign languages?

I don’t speak Latin (I have a friend who can), but I can still read it.

6. What is your most significant professional achievement?

Probably my article on the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights.

7. What is your biggest food weakness?

Without a doubt, vanilla ice cream!

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

Take your pick.  Any of the Beach Boys, the early Beatles, Benny Goodman’s “Sing, Sing, Sing,” and a few others.

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

To be able to draw, to be able work with wood, to speak Russian, to understand economics, and to write gracefully.

10. Aside from the basic necessities, what is one thing you do not go a day without? Meditation and coffee

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

Not unless we could have a two way conversation.

Introducing…Xiaomeng “Alex” Zhang as the October 2016 FCIL Librarian of the Month

alex-zhang1. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Shenyang, a city in northeast of China. It was the capital of Manchuria Qing dynasty, the last dynasty of China and it was also occupied by Japanese for quite a few years during the World War II. As a result, Shenyang, today, has a diversity of history, culture and architectural styles.

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

As a philosophy and law major, I always enjoy critical thinking, researching, and writing. My advanced legal research class experience at the University of Kansas Law School and my later internship at the Law Library of Congress exposed me to the law librarianship field and made me realize that law librarianship is a perfect field that would not only allow me to continue to develop my critical thinking, legal research and writing skills, but also give me the opportunity to share my knowledge and expertise with others through teaching, research, and reference work.

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

I was extremely lucky to get to know many great mentors at the very early stage of my career: Jenny Selby (former Head of Reference and International Law Librarian at Michigan Law Library) introduced me to the profession. Barbara Garavaglia (current Director and former Assistant Director of Michigan Law Library) trained me and is still training me to become a better FCIL Librarian day by day. I started to learn about FCIL selection from Barbara and Jenny while I was still a student at the School of Information of the University of Michigan and I fell in love with and became attached to the area immediately.

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

University of Michigan Law Library. A bit over 7 years.

5. Do you speak any foreign languages? 

I work with materials in many different languages on a daily basis, but I do not speak any besides English and Chinese (which is actually my native tongue).

6. What is your most significant professional achievement?

I would say the best is yet to come 🙂 But I feel VERY honored to become the vice chair and chair elect of FCIL-SIS this year and look forward to working with all of you to accomplish something significant!

7. What is your biggest food weakness? 

Thai food.

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

I am a big fan of K-pop (Korean Pop Music), so I would say Super Junior’s Sorry, Sorry.

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

I would like to improve my empirical research skills a bit if time allows. I would also like to learn Spanish.

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

My new watch 🙂

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

I enjoy reading, writing, and traveling.