CHAVA SHARES HOW SHE GOT INTO LAW LIBRARIANSHIP & WHY SHE JOINED AALL
Chava Spivak-Birndorf is the Research & Instructional Services Librarian at Drexel University, Thomas R. Kline School of Law in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO LAW LIBRARIANSHIP?
I started my legal career working in disability and special education law, and while I was passionate about my clients, I never loved litigation. I eventually realized my favorite part of being a lawyer was law school. Becoming a librarian seemed like the perfect way to be a lifelong student. I initially fell into technology librarianship, which was a lot of fun, but after a few years, I wanted to get back into legal work. I was lucky to find my current position at Drexel’s Legal Research Center, which has allowed me to merge my career interests by helping expand the school’s legal tech offerings.
WHY DID YOU JOIN AALL?
I joined AALL to help me as I made the transition from emerging technologies bibrarian to law librarianship. It had been several years since I practiced law, and AALL seemed like a good tool to hone my skills and connect with the larger community of law librarians.
WHY DO YOU STAY A MEMBER?
I love all the opportunities to learn from my fellow librarians. The webinars are a great way to expand my expertise, and the active listservs provide a wealth of ideas. It’s a welcoming community full of people who are eager to share their experiences and help each other succeed.
WHAT ONE MEMBER BENEFIT IS MOST VALUABLE TO YOU?
The Sourcebook for Teaching Legal Research has been an excellent resource over the past year, as I’m designing and teaching legal research courses for the first time.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY ASSOCIATED WITH AALL?
I haven’t had a chance to participate in much programming yet, but I’m looking forward to starting work as a book review editor for the Law Library Journal and attending the 2023 Annual Meeting, which will hopefully lead to some great memories with the organization.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING OUTSIDE OF WORK?
I spend a lot of my free time working in dog rescue or hanging out at home under a pile of misfit dogs. I also am a huge board game nerd, and I love sewing, embroidery, and vegan baking.
WHAT BOOK(S) ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
I recently finished Unmasking Autism by Devon Price, which is a fantastic book for anyone who thinks they may be neurodivergent or wants to deepen their understanding of neurodiversity. To unwind, I have mostly been reading queer graphic novels lately, such as Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper series and Mike Curato’s Flamer.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE TRAVEL/VACATION DESTINATION?
My favorite standby is a house by the lake in southwest Michigan, where I go with my family every year. The beaches are mostly empty, and Lake Michigan feels almost like the ocean, but freshwater swimming means no saltwater up your nose or salty hair to deal with.
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