New Member Profile – Rachel Ford

Biographical Info: Resources Management Librarian at Northern Illinois University Law Library

I am responsible for the library’s electronic resources and interlibrary loan, as well as maintaining the websites for the library and the College of Law. I also work on acquisitions, statistics, ILS administration, and the institutional repository, and provide basic reference and circulation services as needed.

Where did you grow up, and where else have you lived before coming to Chicago? Do you have a favorite among those places?

I’ve lived in Illinois all my life, mostly in Aurora, though recently, I moved to DeKalb County to be closer to NIU. This is the farthest I’ve ever been from Chicago, but I’ve always enjoyed the suburbs (and now exurbs). The weather may not be perfect, but it’s always worth talking about, and I appreciate the proximity to everything, including state parks and forest preserves.

 What led you to become a law librarian?

During my undergrad years, I worked in a library archive, and so once I discovered becoming an English professor was unlikely, librarianship seemed the perfect alternative. After starting in public libraries, I gravitated towards academic libraries, where I could help students and learn new things. Law libraries weren’t on my radar until I saw the posting for this position, which matched my technical skills while offering a new challenge. Legal information is a whole new field to explore for me, and it is satisfying to work alongside librarians and other faculty and staff who are making a positive difference in students’ lives and in society.

What are some of your favorite hobbies? 

I’m an avid and omnivorous reader of both fiction and nonfiction. So far this month, I’ve sampled a textbook on Old English, a queer YA space opera, a Shakespeare-themed murder mystery, a Victorian classic, and a title from the OUP Studies in Postwar American Political Development series. Thanks to audiobooks, I can even “read” while pursuing some of my other hobbies, like kitchen experimentation and nature hikes. I’m also an amateur pianist and love spending time with my nieces and nephews, particularly exploring the outdoors.

What is one more thing we should know about you that we haven’t asked?

Photo of Ralph and Tara (Rachel Ford's Cats)
Rachel’s Cats Ralph and Tara

I’m always happy to talk about my pets! Like a stereotypical librarian, I love cats and currently live with three of them: Zuki (a gray Ragdoll mix), Ralph (a brown tabby), and Tara (a tuxie). The latter two were orphans I bottle-fed, and they’re all affectionate and talkative, especially 30 minutes before my alarm goes off. I also recently adopted a very mixed breed dog named Sam, who’s 50+ pounds of hairy, loveable enthusiasm. His latest “trick” is stealing mangoes off the kitchen counter and, happily, not choking on the pits.

Sam the Dog (Rachel Ford's Dog)
Rachel’s Dog Sam