Hi all, I can’t resist sharing my thoughts on this. I work as an international law reference librarian in the Peace Palace Library in the Hague (The Netherlands). Marilyn cited a former boss Kent McKeever who said “My job is to put the user in touch with the document or information he or she is seeking. It is not my job to interpret it for them”, but one of my ‘duties’ is adding keywords to books, bookitems (edited books), journals, journal articles etc. so interpreting them is necessary. As we have a huge collection of English, French, Spanish and Italian materials besides other European and non-European materials (one collegue of mine handles the Islamic law, another the Russian, Polish languages etc.) I need to have some understanding of the legal jargon and legal system of these countries otherwise I can’t do my work (you need a law degree to work here). In addition we serve the institutions that reside in the Peace Palace (The International Court of Justice, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, and the Hague Academy of International Law) as well as scholars and students of international law, so at least French and English language skills are necessary to be able to communicate with them. So it depends also on the type of work you do I think.
Peace Palace Library