Cornell Fellowship Brings Foreign Law Librarians to the United States

While more established and well known funding opportunities for foreign law librarians have existed for some time to attend conferences (e.g., the IALL bursary and AALL FCIL Schaffer Grant for Foreign Law Librarians), new funding is continuing to build upon the professional development opportunities for foreign law librarians.  In this spirit, the Bitner Research Fellowship brings recipients to Cornell University in the  scenic city of Ithaca, New York.

The Bitner Research Fellowship is designed to bring foreign law librarians to the United States in order to experience American law librarianship, learn the American legal system, and network with professional librarians to create life-lasting personal and professional connections.  The Fellowship is intended to foster professional development and is tailored to each fellow’s area of interest.  The Fellowship was made available through a generous endowment funded as a tribute to the late Professor Harry Bitner, Cornell Law Librarian (1965-76) by his family, Lorraine and Richard Gilden.  Fellows will be provided with meals and lodging for the duration of the Fellowship and will be reimbursed for travel expenses up to $2,000.

Bitner Research Fellows are provided with exposure and access to Cornell Law Library’s excellent resources, and the expertise of its professional librarians, while learning about advanced legal research in a global context.

Fellows are selected by the Library Education Committee based upon the current needs of the Cornell Law Library and upon meeting the eligibility guidelines outlined below.   


1)      Applicants must be current law librarians with an MLIS or equivalent library science graduate degree and a JD  or foreign law equivalent.  (A minimum of five years’ experience in law libraries may be substituted in lieu of a law degree.)

2)      Applicants must have a minimum of three years’ professional library experience.

Fellowship Requirements

1)      Applicants must commit to a minimum of one week of full time service to Cornell Law Library (and a maximum of two weeks);

2)      Applications must include a cover letter/statement of interest, resume, project proposal, and three professional references;

3)      Candidates being considered will be contacted for an interview; and

4)      At the end of the Fellowship, fellows shall submit a final report or complete a previously agreed upon project.


The Fellowship is available during the fall semester of 2014 or the spring semester of 2015, with some flexibility.  To submit an application, or for more information, please contact Amy Emerson, Associate Director for Administration & Access Services, via email at   Applications will be reviewed as received, with preference accorded to applications  submitted in full by Friday, August 2, 2014.  Please be sure to indicate your preferred time frame for completing the Fellowship.

Previous recipients of the Bitner Research Fellowship have included Priya Rai.  (Some of you  may know her through IALL and/or AALL.)  As the 2012 Bitner Fellow, she conducted a law school faculty workshop titled “Access to Legal Information in the Digital Age: A Comparative Study of Electronic Commercial Databases and Public Domain Resources in Law.”  In addition to her presentation, she had the opportunity to meet members of the Legal Information Institute and the Avon Global Center for Women and Justice.  Her visit was a classic example of the mutually beneficial exchange and learning experience the Fellowship is design to foster and a fitting tribute to the legacy of Professor Bitner and the Cornell Law Library.

Like the IALL bursary and AALL FCIL Schaffer Grant for Foreign Law Librarians, the Bitner Research Fellowship is of particular value to law librarians with limited funds as they do not require prior membership for eligibility purposes.  Please consider applying today!

Kristina Alayan