Last year we introduced the first of our member profiles by interviewing the inimitable Roddy Waldhelm. Roddy has been an institution in the Scottish Law Library community for years so we were delighted to start this series with such prestige!
For our next profile post we were keen for you to meet a member of the SLLG committee, and who better than the newest person to join the SLLG committee, Luca Fois! Luca is the Sheriff Courts Librarian working in the Scottish Courts and Tribunals service. Although he’s been in post for almost 18 months now, Luca is still relatively new to the sector and so we thought his perspective would provide a new fresh take for those just getting to know our group and colleagues.
1) How did you get started in law library work?
I have always been fascinated by special libraries, and when the chance to apply to a law library post has arisen, a couple of years ago, I just thought I should submit my CV. My main drives for this decision have been the challenges presented by the post, having to learn, basically from scratch, the whole Scottish legal system, having to transfer skills I learned in public and school libraries; I was also fascinated by the opportunity to learn new skills, especially hot to do a legal research, which sounded fun and at the same time quite obscure and esoteric; and the responsibility of driving forward a fairly new service, having the chance to implement new services and making the change happen. Then, I had also read the blog of a previous Sheriff Courts Librarian and was fascinated by the tales of her visits in the various courts in Scotland, so I was also looking forward to that, but we know how it ended.
2) What do you think is the best part of your job?
Being in close contact with all the people behind the scenes of the Scottish legal system, and sometimes even being able to contribute to it. If I can mention it here, I also enjoy working with my colleagues, who are amazing and supportive!
3) What do you think has been your biggest challenge in the workplace to date?
Getting to grips with the Scottish Legal System. I had no legal background, and only a very vague idea of how the legal system works in Italy, so that has been a challenge. Lots of reading, courses on line and night classes did fit the bill, but I still feel like there is room for improvement, especially considering I have started this new position a few months before the pandemic. On the other hand, I did not have any preconceptions about how to do the job, so it’s also true I did not have to adapt to a new way of working, it was pretty new regardless.
4) If you were to tell a colleague about one aspect of your service that you think more people should know about, what would it be?
While I think most of our colleagues are aware of the research service we offer, it is also useful to mention that we are here to offer training session on our digital databases tailored to the users: and this is even more relevant right now that we have to rely greatly to online material.
5) If you were on a desert island which book, record and luxury item would you like to have with you?
- Can I bring a trilogy of books? If so, I would bring Scott Lynch’s Gentlemen Bastard sequence. If not, Tales from the Inner City, by Shaun Tan.
- For the record, OK Computer. Then I would have to find a CD player, or do we get an Mp3 Player?
- I don’t know if it’s considered a luxury item, but I would bring a combination of luxury items a Switch with a solar power battery charger!
6) Which book would you be most tempted to steal from a library?
I know a few libraries here in UK have copies of early editions of the Decamerone by Giovanny Boccaccio, from XVI century, and it would be quite an addition to my books collection. When I was a high school student in Italy, I always enjoyed the short stories collected in this title by Boccaccio, even if not as much when I had to analyse them bit by bit, but then, when I reencountered this book again when doing a history of the book course at uni, I started re-reading it and was hooked. I have to admit I was also fascinated by the historical (and pecuniary) value of this book!
7) What is your secret superpower, and what would your superhero name be?
I bake tiered cakes and like laminating (as in pastry)? I do not want to have a superhero name with this skills, thank you. 🙂 Another superpower would be understanding quite a few foreign languages?
8) What is your favourite palindrome?
9) Do you have any sage wisdom you’d like to pass on to the next generation of information professionals?
Keep on be informed around the trends in the library profession. Engage with the library profession and the librarians around you. There is a lot of knowledge and experience that you can obtain just from exchanging your point of view with your fellow colleagues, and, as you are probably aware, they are more than willing to have these conversations with you.
Thank you for sharing Luca. I can’t wait for the next SLLG get-together where you might bake us one of those incredible sounding tiered cakes!
If you would like to take part in our Member Profiles series or would like to nominate a colleague who works in the law library sector, please email SarahLouise on firstname.lastname@example.org.