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Meet Xin (Sherry) Chen

March 08, 2023

Xin Sherry Chen
Xin Sherry Chen

Meet Biddle’s new Associate Director for Collection Strategy.


Xin (Sherry) Chen Xin (Sherry) Chen

What is your role at the library?

My new position at the Biddle Law Library is the Associate Director for Collection Strategy. Obviously, the job title entails responsibilities related to every aspect of the Law Library’s collection—the development, maintenance, evaluation, and analysis of the library collection in all formats and jurisdictions on a continuing basis.

Even though “collection” is at the front and center of this job, any project related to “collection” cannot be completed successfully without insight into our users’ needs and without help from other departments of the Law Library. By forming close bonds with our users and a collaborative relationship with other departments of the Law Library, I hope we will steward the Law Library’s collection to manifest Penn Carey Law’s “point of view” and at the same time demonstrate quality, vitality, and relevance.

After I joined Biddle this January, we have already started about a dozen of weeding or collection evaluation projects dealing with almost every type of library materials, microfiche, in print or digital. I find my new job here both hands-on and intellectually engaging, collaborative in spirit and physically invigorating (try to spend one afternoon doing inventory of periodicals on the fifth floor and you get all your steps done!). So far, I have been enjoying the challenges and working with everyone in the Law Library.

Describe your past work experience

Before joining Biddle, I had been a Legal Information Librarian and Lecturer in Law at Boston College Law Library for ten years. A big component of my work there was teaching—I frequently taught Advanced Legal Research in the Fall and International Legal Research in the Spring.

As someone puts it, “if you want to be an expert at something, try to teach it to someone else.” Teaching pushes me to keep expanding and updating my knowledge base, to stay at the forefront of legal research technology and trends, and to experiment with different pedagogical approaches to respond to my students’ needs. Other than teaching, I also served as the foreign, comparative, and international law specialist at the library and worked extensively with faculty, students and other parties in research, reference, and collection development.

How do you spend your free time?

I just moved from Boston to Philadelphia and am exploring this new city in great length. Philadelphia is such a vibrant city—it is a city with a grand old history but also pulsating with new energy and an open and accepting heart. Exploring a new city involves a lot of walks, great food, and movies! I love movies!

Even though most of the movies can be streamed at home nowadays, I still love going to the local cinemas. Those are rare circumstances where you can be free from the distractions of your phone and be “alone” with those characters on the big screen—and seeing how those characters are confronted by different situations and making decisions has always fascinated me. A few times after work I walked from the University City to see movies in the Landmark Cinema in the Old City. It was a great experience!