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Carl Yirka
U.S.-Asia Fellows

Carl Yirka

Professor of Law Emeritus
Julien and Virginia Cornell Library
U.S.-Asia Partnerships for Environmental Law

JD, Indiana University (Bloomington), 1984

MS, Case Western Reserve University, 1975

BA, Columbia University, 1974

Carl Yirka


Professor Carl A. Yirka (1952 - 2020) was the Director Emeritus of the Julien and Virginia Cornell Library at Vermont Law School. With a career spanning more than 40 years at six law libraries, he witnessed the transformation of the law library from a book collection to a digital learning environment. He was interested in the future role of books in law schools, legal scholarship, and law libraries.

A career highlight for Professor Yirka was serving as the program director of the VLS-Petrozavodsk State University Law Faculty Legal Education Partnership. The Partnership combined the environmental expertise and resources of VLS with Petrozavodsk State University in Karelia, Russia. As program director, Yirka secured and administered two grants totaling $500,000 from the U.S. Agency for International Development/State Department to develop the Petrozavodsk legal clinic, distance-learning courses, and the environmental comparative law curriculum. The program also funded faculty exchanges between the two institutions. He was also a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Rijeka in Croatia, where he taught U.S. Constitutional Law.

>At VLS, Professor Yirka taught Advanced Legal Research and Comparative Law. He was also a faculty fellow for the U.S.-Asia Partnership for Environmental Law at VLS and had been a member of the board of the Vermont-Karelia Rule of Law Project. Among his other publications, his essay "The Yirka Question and Yirka's Answer" was published in Spectrum, the monthly magazine of American Association of Law Libraries. The article, which discusses priority setting in academic law libraries, won the 2008 Spectrum Article of the Year award.

Professor Yirka graduated with a BA degree from Columbia University, a Masters in Library Science degree from Case Western Reserve University, and a JD degree from Indiana University.  He held an honorary doctorate from Petrozavodsk State University.

Please find Carl's obituary here:
Carl A. Yirka 1952-2020



The Yirka Question and Yirka's Answer: What Should Law Libraries Stop Doing in order to Address Higher Priority Initiatives? American Association of Law Libraries Spectrum, V. 12, Number 9, 28-31 (July 2008). Winner of the 2008 Spectrum Article of the Year award.​
Computer Technology for the Benefit of the Rule of Law: Communication and Research, 22 Fordham Int'l L.J. 2112 (1999) (A Russian translation of this essay has been published by the University Press in Petrozavodsk and distributed to all legal clinics in Russia).​
With Douglas M. Costle, "The Law Library of Congress as a National Law Library,"​ 83 L. Libr. J. 219 (1991).


​"Law," in Selection of Library Materials in Applied and Interdisciplinary Fields(American Library Association 1987).​


Environmental Law Materials Library Workshop. Sun Yat-sen University Law School, Guangzhou, June 5, 2009.​
Environmental Law Materials Library Workshop. China University of Political Science and Law, Beijing, June 2, 2009.​​

"Vermont Law School Sun Yat-sen University Partnership for Environmental Law - Lessons for Potential Law Library Cooperation." Plenary Session II: Collaboration Potential Between China and United States: China-United States Conference on Legal Information and Law Libraries, May 30, 2009.​

"Croatia: the Nation and the State,"​ ILEAD Program, Dartmouth College, April 27, 2009.​

"International and Comparative Law Methodology and Legal Research: An Introduction." Juris Master class, Sun Yat-sen University School of Law, Guangzhou, China,​ December 11, 2008.

"Law Methodology and Legal Research: a Brief Introduction." Inaugural Conference of the China Society on Environmental Science Environmental Law Branch. Beijing, China, December 7, 2008.​

"International, Foreign and Comparative Law Methodology and Research." 2008 Environmental Law Teaching and Research Workshop. Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China, June 14-15, 2008.​​

"The Law Library Director: All About Relationships." 2008 Mid-Year Meeting: Workshop for Law Librarians, Cleveland, Ohio,​ June 4, 2008.