February’s Featured RIPS Member: Shari Berkowitz Duff (Jones Day)
Last year the RIPS PR & Recruitment Committee launched a new series on social media called “Questions with Puron” to highlight the diverse views and professional strategies of the constituents of Research Instruction and Patron Services Special Interest Section (RIPS-SIS). We are happy to announce that the committee has revamped this series to allow Puron the opportunity to conduct a full interview, rather than ask a single question.
Each month, our beloved penguin mascot will pose a series of questions to one of the many librarians who make up RIPS. To kick things off, Puron talked with Shari Berkowitz Duff, Research Librarian at Jones Day in Chicago, IL.
Puron: What brought you to law librarianship?
Shari: It just happened to work out that way. I worked part-time at several different libraries when I was going for my MLS – an academic library, a county law library, a law school library, and a state library. My first full-time job after getting my degree was at a law firm where for 13 years in multiple cities…and I’ve been at my second firm for almost 2 ½ years now.
Puron: Favorite Movie?
Shari: Stars Wars. The original 1977 untouched version. Watching any of the Star Wars movies is even better now that my 4-year old nephew asks to watch them and shouts out the characters when he sees them on the screen. On a side note, he also shouts out “Eagles” when he sees anything showing my beloved Philadelphia Eagles. I started teaching him early about two of my favorite things in life!
Puron: What’s a professional achievement you’re proud of?
Shari: Being an AMPC Content Team Leader for the upcoming Annual Meeting in New Orleans. Over the years I have volunteered on numerous committees within my local chapters, within the PLLIP and RIPS SIS Groups, and have been on the AMPC for the past few years as a Team Member. However, being a Team Leader this year and having the chance to bring all of my experiences and the feedback of fellow librarians to the table brought me a sense of greater responsibility and sense of satisfaction when collaborating with my fellow Team Leaders to select what we believe is going to be an amazing lineup of programs this year.
Puron: What do you love about being a law librarian?
Shari: I love helping people get the information they need to do their job to the best of their ability, and to be able to work some “magic” to find what people sometimes say is “unfindable”. It’s an amazing feeling when you find that one morsel of information that unlocks it all. Their reactions can make your day. It’s like when you do a 3000 piece jigsaw puzzle and you’re staring at it for hours and then you see that 1 piece that you’ve needed to fit into that 1 spot…life is now awesome!
Puron: Do you have any advice for new or aspiring law librarians?
Shari: Know that you can be professional and also be yourself at the same time. Be ready for anything, anyone, and any personality. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone to try new things. Become active in the local, regional, and national professional associations – you can meet some amazing people and contribute to the profession at the same time! And finally, find a good mentor or two at the beginning, and keep finding them as you progress in your career – they can be invaluable in so many ways.
We hope you enjoyed getting to know Shari. If you would like to hear from more people, join the conversation on our Twitter RIPS-SIS (@RIPS_SIS) and Facebook. The PR & Recruitment Committee will also be reaching out to select members for participation in this series. If you would like to be featured, or want to recommend someone, please email the committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.