10 Q’s: Irene Batna (Baker & McKenzie)


Irene Batna is a Research Librarian at Baker & McKenzie. Baker & McKenzie is an international law firm which has 77 offices worldwide.


  1. What is your current position?

    Research Librarian

  2. What do you enjoy most about your work and what are the most challenging aspects?

    – Variety of research (not always about law, could be business or something totally unexpected);
    – Providing the information required within the time frame requested (often requests are ASAP as driven by client demands who can be very demanding);
    – Determining the best sources to use;
    – Providing a good service to the lawyers and staff.

  3. What was your first job as a librarian or information professional, etc.?

    Basically as a loose-leaf filer and re-shelving books.

  4. What was your subsequent career path?

    All I know is about working in private law libraries, which have been 4.

  5. What is your educational background?  

    BA: library technician at Ryerson when it was called Library Arts. In late 80s took course in Ryerson’s Information Management certificate program – didn’t intend to finish – just took what I needed for my job as computers were becoming more and more prevalent in the workplace as the way we worked was changing.

  6. How did your information training and background prepare you for the job you now have?

    On the job training, more or less.
    I’ve attended conferences like CALL, AALL that provided a lot of information.
    TALL offered courses from time to time too. When the internet started to come on the scene, everything changed, conferences seemed to provide the ‘cutting edge’ information.

  7. What skills and experience should students be building up by this point if they want to work in your field?

    Enjoy doing research, helping people, being responsive, asking questions when something is not clear.

  8. What helpful lessons did you learn early in your career? Any general advice for students or recent grads?  

    Ask questions, you don’t know it all yet – be patient.

  9. Why did you join the SLA (or other professional organizations), and what did you get out of it? 

    Never joined SLA, but rather AALL, CALL and TALL. [I’ve gained] networking [opportunities], with some lasting friendships as well.

  10. If there is one thing you’d want to know about the state of your library (or libraries in general) 10  years from now, what would it be?

    Are their still books on the shelves?


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