Questions with Puron: Featured RIPS Member – Jenny Silbiger

Compiled by: Jessica Almeida

Questions with Puron is a social media series launched by the RIPS PR & Recruitment Committee to highlight the diverse views and professional strategies of the constituents of Research Instruction and Patron Services Special Interest Section (RIPS-SIS). Twice per month, our beloved penguin mascot poses a series of questions to one of the many librarians who make up RIPS. For our next March 2021 interview, Puron talked with Jenny Silbiger, Hawaii Supreme Court Law Library.

Puron: Share your favorite new (or new-to-you) resource for 2020! 

Jenny: The versatility and usefulness of Zoom for holding meetings with colleagues near and far is definitely my fave of 2020.  Being geographically separated from the U.S. continent always makes in-person meetings challenging, but one of the ironic benefits of pandemic living is that I feel more connected with my law library colleagues than ever before.  I’ve also been leveraging Zoom locally for our “Lawyer in the Law Library” – a collaborative program with our Oahu Family Court Senior Judge’s chambers and the Hawaii State Bar Association to bring together volunteer attorneys to provide limited legal advice to the public—having hosted 22 sessions since the pandemic shutdowns started in 2020.

Puron: Favorite cool recent webinar? 

Jenny: “Aloha Response Call” with Pono Shim,  CEO Oahu Economic Development Board, where he shares his leadership philosophies that are rooted in his knowledge of aloha passed to him from Auntie Pilahi Paki. This webinar was hosted by the Hawaii State Judiciary’s Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution (in partnership with: Conflict Resolution Alliance (CRA); Hawaiʻi State Bar Association-ADR Section;  Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution; and The Mediation Center of the Pacific). Mr. Shim steers participants to see the pressing social issues that individuals, organizations, and communities face today, and offer participants an opportunity to exercise their aloha muscle at the core of these issues where the real work must be done. Speaker Bio: Pono Shim is a gifted storyteller who is known for using illustrations to connect with his audiences.  In 2009, he was asked to take over the leadership of Enterprise Honolulu (now the Oahu Economic Development Board).  When Mr. Shim assumed leadership of OEDB, he deployed techniques of transforming the organization’s culture, collectively known as ADHOC (Aloha Defines Hawaii’s Organizational Culture). 

Today, the organization is considered an influential leadership hub in the state. 


P.S.   Did you know that ‘the Aloha Spirit’ is defined and codified in the Hawaii Revised Statutes?  HRS 5-7.5:

Also, you have to register to access the recording; please don’t be alarmed by the time table; it’s worth it!  There are two stories that were added during the Q/A portion of the program—totally worth the time if you can spare it, to be moved and touched on how we can incorporate the aloha spirit into our everyday life. 

Puron: What’s a professional achievement you’re proud of? 

Jenny: Re-opening operations in the time of COVID-19 and working together with my amazing Hawaii Supreme Court Law Library team to make it happen: first, virtually after the initial March 2020 shutdown by modeling our “Virtual Reference Desk” after the fabulous Harris County Law Library, offering remote access to the public to our ebooks and legal databases, incorporating Live Chat, and partnering with the Hawaii State Public Library to expand awareness on our COVID-19 legal resources.  Then opening physically to the public via appointment August 3rd through putting into place safety and health protocols as advised by our state’s Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control.  While a second COVID-19 surge forced us to close again for a short time at the end of August, we were able to re-open on October 14th and have since doubled the number of appointments we can accommodate, along with adding a Remote Hearing Station for folks who have district court hearings on Oahu and do not have access to the internet or technology at home.  Just this week (March 8th) we’ve added additional appointment times to increase physical access, as our appointments were booked up solid so far.

Puron: Do you have any advice for new or aspiring law librarians? 

Jenny: While staying connected to changing technology and access to legal information is absolutely important to ‘doing’ your legal related work, nothing can replace staying connected to your fellow colleagues, mentors, and friends in the legal profession—I guess that could be called the “living” experience of our work.  Nurturing relationships and working together towards making a difference in people’s lives brings me fulfillment and joy, and I hope the same could happen for newer professionals as they matriculate through their careers—that we can all find a sense of happiness and the aloha spirit through our work and a lot of that happens through collaboration, partnership and a sense of connection to one another.

Puron: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Jenny: Surfing is my favorite hobby outside of work…I love being in the water, feeling the wind in my hair, flying down a huge wave face–or floating down a small one—I love the ocean with all of my heart.  I’ve seen whales, dolphins, flying fish, sea turtles, and even a Hawaiian monk seal swimming in the sea.  Surfing is part of my health and spirit and has helped me cope with so many challenges experienced in life.

We hope you enjoyed getting to know Jenny. If you would like to hear from more members, join the conversation on our Twitter RIPS-SIS (@RIPS_SIS) or connect with us on 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 Emma Wood at

About malikahhalllibrarian

Malikah Hall is a Reference Librarian and Instructional Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University. She was previously the Diversity Fellow, Research Services Librarian, and Lecturer in Law at Cornell University. Malikah is very active in AALL where she is the current RIPS Law Librarian Blog editor, Immediate Past Chair of PEGA-SIS, a member of the AALL Diversity & Inclusion Committee, and a member of the AALL Legal Research Competencies Review Special Committee. Malikah graduated from North Carolina Central University with a J.D./M.L.S. joint degree. In her spare time, she enjoys playing with her sweet dog and anything true crime related.
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