by Lyonette Louis-Jacques
University of Chicago Law Library
Years ago, I took a course in law library management with George Grossman, and one thing I learned from that course was to identify gaps in the literature for our field and try to fill them. So, at my first FCIL SIS meeting, if I remember correctly, I stood up and asked for more guides for new foreign law librarians. At that time, for information about the work of foreign law librarians and for finding out about legal resources of foreign countries and international organizations, there were articles in Law Library Journal and the International Journal of Legal Information, chapters in books such as How to Find the Law, Manual of Law Librarianship, and Law Librarianship: A Handbook, Charles Szladits's works, Adolf Sprudzs's treaty research publications, and formal training, as well as informal conversations with Dolf, Tim Kearley, Claire Germain, Dan Wade, etc. I think I wanted all this information in one source, a sort of handbook of foreign law librarianship.
I didn't fully realize then, almost a decade ago, how busy we all were, how much work (albeit rewarding and challenging work) it was to be a professional librarian specializing in foreign, comparative, and international law. I also wasn't fully aware of the quiet service being performed by members of our profession every day in spite of how busy they are. I will often see an article by an FCIL SIS member in a chapter newsletter, or see members' names as speakers at local library association programs, or see their book reviews, bibliographies, or research guides in various journals. Some FCIL SIS members serve formally or informally as mentors for newer foreign law librarians and are always willing to help when needed. They might not be in the limelight, but they too serve our profession well.
And it is via the quiet service of dedicated members of our profession that we have new resources for foreign law librarianship such as Tom Reynolds and Arturo Flores's Foreign Law: Current Sources of Codes and Legislation; Claire Germain's revision with Charles Szladits of Guide to Foreign Legal Materials: French; Tim Kearley and Wolfram Fischer's Charles Szladits' Guide to Foreign Legal Materials: German; Germain's Transnational Law Research; International Law: The Basics and Beyond; Training the Future Generation of Foreign Law Librarians: Introduction to Foreign Legal Systems; the INT-LAW list on firstname.lastname@example.org; the upcoming revision to Law Librarianship: A Handbook; and many other guides for foreign law librarians.
We still don't have that one handbook on foreign law librarianship that I wished for almost a decade ago, but we have many more resources to make the work of foreign, comparative, and international law librarians easier, and we continue to have a network of some of the most wonderful colleagues a professional can have!
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