Get to know Todd Ito, Head of Instruction and Outreach

As the year winds to a close, we thought it was time to give the people the interview they’ve been clamoring for, so here it is. You’ve seen him at the reference desk, he’s taught you how to do legal research, and now you can read all about what makes him tick.  Ladies and gentlemen–Todd Ito, Head of Instruction and Outreach.

How long have you been at the D’Angelo Law Library?

I started here back in October of 2006. I moved to Chicago from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and it snowed the day I moved in. Everyone kept asking me if I was ready for winter, to the point that it kind of freaked me out.

In the time you’ve worked in the law library, what is the most memorable event you’ve attended?

I would say the time President Obama came to the Law School, but they wouldn’t let staff come to work that day (for security reasons), which was a bummer, so I can’t say I attended that. I’m pretty sure I saw his helicopter fly by my apartment on the way to the airport later that day, though.

What activities consume most of your time as a law librarian?

As my title (Head of Instruction and Outreach) indicates, I’m primarily responsible for coordinating the instruction provided by the D’Angelo librarians through the Bigelow program, the Advanced Legal Research course I teach, and other instructional sessions like the Prepare to Practice program coming up on May 8. I also help manage the Library’s outreach to the Law School clinics, the student-edited journals, and other student organizations. Beyond that, I am the main editor for the Law Library website, so if anyone has any feedback on the website, please let us know!

What upcoming changes to the D’Angelo Law Library are you most excited about?

I heard there are some video tutorials in the works and that Thomas Drueke is going to do the narrating. That’s pretty exciting.

What are some of your interests outside of law libraries?

I’m kind of a music guy, as a fan rather than as musician, so I like to go to shows and buy records and stuff. In addition to music, I listen to lot of podcasts, read various things, and hit the occasional lecture or reading.

I’m also a sports fan, but my interest is deep rather than wide, meaning that I know a lot about UNC basketball and Everton Football Club and next to nothing about what’s currently going on with baseball, hockey, the NFL, etc. Since the U.S. failed to qualify, I’ve been trying to learn more about the Japanese national team heading into the World Cup. I’m hoping my new favorite player Tatsuya Ito (Hamburger SV) makes the squad!

What’s the best thing you watched, listened to, and/or drank recently?

I watched this amazing Japanese movie called Kapone ōi ni naku (translated into English as Capone Cries in his Sleep or Capone Cries a Lot) at Doc Films back in March. It’s directed by Seijun Suzuki, the maverick director probably best known for the 1967 yakuza film Branded to Kill. To use some American reference points, it’s like a bizarre cross between Harmony Korine and Quentin Tarantino (two filmmakers he influenced), if you can imagine that. It’s a delightfully odd movie, but also has some profound things to say about race, gender, immigration, music, and art.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Fly Anakin and Koncept Jack$on, two rappers from Richmond, VA, which is close-ish to where I grew up. You could call it throwback 90s hip-hop, but I think they have a unique sound that takes it well beyond mere revivalism. One of my other favorite recent discoveries is this Brazilian group Metá Metá, which iTunes classifies as Alternative, Jazz, or Afro Punk, none of which really captures their sound. They prefer the phrase “samba sujo” (“dirty samba”), so let’s go with that.

Drank? I was lucky enough to get some Toppling Goliath King Sue when I was in Minnesota a while back, and I think it’s the best double IPA I’ve ever had. For more everyday drinking, I’ve been really enjoying Cozmo, a pale ale from Noon Whistle Brewing, out in Lombard. At 5% ABV, it’s perfect for an after work beer or while watching sports on the weekend.

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