Determined to eke out every last bit of knowledge from my library school experience, I’ve been asking my colleagues and fellow CALL members if there was anything they wished they would have learned in library school. Meanwhile, I’ve also been combing through job descriptions for clues, and reflecting on my own education and what I perceive as its gaps and its successes. Continue reading Things I Wish I’d Learned in Library School
I should have known from my choice of Hepburn & Tracy movies that I was destined to be a librarian. Adam’s Rib, where the two played married lawyers on opposite sides of the courtroom, was enjoyable, but Desk Set, which took place in the library of a broadcasting network in New York, was always my favorite. It is a classic story of technology vs. humans—with a little romance and holiday spirit thrown in for good measure! Bunny Watson, as portrayed by Katherine Hepburn, was so knowledgeable. She knew every resource in the library and had ready the answer to every question—even faster than a computer!
Librarianship has come a long way since the Desk Set days, when technology and humans vied for supremacy in a library. Computers and technology are now integral to research. Continue reading ABA TECHSHOW Roundtable
This semester I am taking a class in Middle East Librarianship. As part of the course, I have been tasked to select 10-15 reference works that should be part of any basic Middle East reference collection.
In order to determine what these resources ought to be, I developed a few research strategies. First, I narrowed the focus to resources that would be useful in an academic law library. This required additional consideration because there are many legal jurisdictions within the Middle East. To address each jurisdiction separately would require more than 10-15 reference works.
Therefore, I decided to further narrow the focus to resources that deal with Islamic law generally or that provide useful background on Islam for the legal scholar. Secondly, because of my own language limitations, I chose to look only at resources aimed at English speakers. Finally, I also wanted to have a nice mix of databases, serials and monographs in the collection.
In order to determine what the most useful resources might be, I looked at various libguides at libraries with well-known Mid-East collections. When available, I also tried to find reviews of the sources to flesh out scope, perspective and intended audience. I also consulted In Custodia Legis – the blog for the Law Librarians of Congress, and Int-Law listserv’s public message archives. Are there any key resources that I missed? Are there any research strategies I should have applied?
In his book, The Court and the World: American Law and the New Global Realities (Knopf, 2015), Justice Stephen Breyer examines the ways in which foreign law and circumstances impact the Supreme Court. Many of Justice Breyer’s critics often disapprove of the Justice’s global outlook. In writing this book, Justice Breyer aims, in part, to put his critics’ anxieties about national sovereignty “in perspective.” So, what is the perspective of Justice Breyer?
Justice Breyer defines the Court and the World broadly, dividing the book into four categories: Part I examines how the Court can effectively protect basic liberties in the face of security threats; Part II focuses on statutory interpretation and asks: Can American statutes be understood to open the doors of American courts to foreign victims of human rights abuses? And what is the geographical reach of commercial statutes?; Part III considers how the Court interprets treaties that concern unfamiliar subjects; and Part IV looks at the extent to which exchanges between judges and lawyers of different nations help judges reach better decisions.
Justice Breyer backs up his main points with copious and detailed examples, making this book a valuable, if sometimes dry, resource. In fact, a casual book reviewer might be inclined to crack open a beer (Lagunitas … Born Yesterday… Fresh. Hoppy. Invigorating. However, this is a book review, not a beer review!) to get through the last 100 or so pages.
Why do I get myself into these things?! This is a question I have asked myself a lot this year. In fact, I am asking myself that very question right now, as I stare at a blank computer screen, reflecting on my first year in library school, trying to find some sort of form and poetic resonance in my experience.
It’s a question that I asked myself last summer when I attended “bootcamp” at the University of Illinois, the mandatory 1-week introductory course in Champaign for students intending on pursuing their MLIS degree online … 4 quizzes, 2 papers, 1 group presentation and required active participation in live classes as well as internet message boards that never sleep! It’s a question that I asked myself last fall when the class I was taking wasn’t resonating with me. Because the class was online, I had no way of knowing if this disconnect was a sign that I had maybe made the wrong career choice or if, in fact, other students were feeling it too. And, yes, it’s also a question that I asked myself Spring Semester, when I took two inspiring and challenging classes but struggled to find the time to balance work, school and life.