Introducing…Katherine Orth as the February 2018 FCIL Librarian of the Month


1. Where did you grow up?

Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

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

I realized early on in law school that I didn’t want to practice law.  I would often get so wrapped up in research that I didn’t want to stop!  I had already become friends with some law librarians at UNC and Duke before I started law school, so law librarianship as a career option had been on the back burner for quite a while before I started my MLS program (part-time) in the fall of 2013.

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

I developed an interest in the “F”, “C,” and “I” long before I developed an interest in the “L” !  I grew up in a university town, so I had been exposed to different cultures for as long as I can remember.  The neighbors two doors down from my childhood home were from Argentina, the neighbors two doors up were from Germany, and the neighbors on the street behind our house were from Vietnam.  In college, I majored in Modern European History and I spent my junior year abroad in Bristol, England.  After graduating, I planned on building a career in some aspect of international development or international policymaking, so I did stints in Ghana, Ecuador and New Zealand.  By the time I got to law school, I was interested in taking as many FCIL classes as I could.

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

I’m the Acquisitions Assistant in the K.R. Everett Law Library at the University of North Carolina School of Law.  I’ve worked here since May of 2013, and in January of 2016 I took on some reference desk duties as well.

5. Do you speak any foreign languages?

I speak some French and Spanish, but probably only well enough for tourist purposes at this point.  I also speak a bit of Mandarin.  I lived in Shenzhen, China, the year after I graduated from college.  Although my speaking abilities plateaued at a pretty low level, I remain fascinated by the language.

6. What is your most significant professional achievement?

Fiscal close, which happens in May and June, is a stressful time for all Acquisitions folks.  At the same time that our library is working to spend down all of our fund lines, we’re also waiting on our main campus library to disburse remainder amounts to us that we use to replenish our deposit lines.  We often don’t know how much to expect from main campus until very late in the process, so there’s not much turnaround time on this “use-it-or-lose-it” funding.  Normally, our library has a team of three working on fiscal close.  But in 2016, my immediate supervisor had retired, and my department head was on vacation, so for a ten-day period, I had to take care of a lot of the fiscal close procedures on my own.  It so was nerve-wracking (I had fever dreams about our fund lines for the entire time!), but I’m pleased to say that everything went smoothly in the end.

7. What is your biggest food weakness?

Probably doughnuts.  My boss can attest that I’m always hovering around the box of doughnuts after staff meetings, waiting to snap up the extras!

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

There are too many to name!  But a selection from my most recently-created Spotify playlist includes “Dreams” (Beck), “Amidinine” (Bombino; production by Dan Auerbach), and “Mi Gente” (J. Balvin, Willy William).

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

I wish I could draw really well.  I would love to supplement my travel journals with drawings of the places I’ve been, and the people and things I’ve seen.  If I could confidently draw portraits, I’d give them as gifts to friends and family.  Perhaps one day I’ll splurge on drawing lessons to see how far I can go with it.

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

Coffee. (Close runners-up are my phone and Post-It Notes)

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

My Masters paper, which I’ll submit in the Spring, involves looking at works of art and “spotting” the legal issues depicted in them.  I’m looking forward to injecting a big dose of the humanities into my final semester as an MLS student.