Funding for Professional Development Opportunities

As you know, IALL offers a professional development bursary every year to law librarians from around the world in an effort to assist with the cost of attending the annual course.  (A list of the 2015 recipients, which included local as well as international recipients, is available here.) Similarly, the FCIL Schaffer Grant for Foreign Law Librarians provides financial assistance to ensure the presence and participation of a foreign librarian at the American Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting. (The new application cycle for the FCIL Schaffer Grant for Foreign Law Librarians will open soon, see here.)  Diversity at conferences enrich networking opportunities, programming, and help to provide a global perspective that benefits all participants and the membership of organizations more broadly.

The Bitner Research Fellowship for foreign law librarians offers a similar opportunity for law librarians to learn about law librarianship from a U.S. perspective over an extended period of time.  The fellowship provides for lodging, meals, and up to $2,000 for travel expenses for a period of 1-2 weeks at the Cornell Law Library in Ithaca, New York.

Bitner Research Fellows are provided with exposure to Cornell’s resources, the expertise of fellow librarians, while learning about advanced legal research.  Fellows are selected based on the needs of the library and the candidate’s application and eligibility.

The grant is funded through an endowment in honor of the late Professor Harry Bitner by his family.  Eligibility for consideration is based on meeting the following criteria:

  1. Applicants must be current law librarians with an MLIS or equivalent
    graduate degree and a JD or foreign equivalent (or a minimum of 5 years’
    experience in law libraries in lieu of a JD); and
  2. Applicants must have a minimum of 3 years’ professional library

In addition, applicants must:

  1. Commit to a minimum of one week of full time service
    to Cornell Law Library (maximum 2 weeks);
  2. Provide an application consisting of a cover letter/statement of interest,
    resume, project proposal, and three professional references;
  3. Be available for an interview;
  4. Submit a final report or complete a previously agreed upon project; and
  5. Indicate a preferred time for completing the fellowship (spring semester of 2016, summer of 2016, or fall semester of 2016).

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, October 30, 2015.

The purpose of these grants is not only to provide a valuable professional development experience for the recipient, but also to enrich the professional experience of colleagues.  Opportunities to share perspectives and ideas across cultures, languages, and legal systems are especially valuable in an increasingly globalized world.  Though our backgrounds and resources are often varied, the challenges we face are frequently the same and necessarily benefit from exchange and dialogue.

Kristina Alayan