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An Interview with Kimberly Allen, Planning Officer

Our latest interview is with Kimberly Allen, Planning Officer for the Law Library of Congress.

Describe your background.

I was born and raised in Allegan, a small town in southwestern Michigan. My family still resides in that area so I make the occasional pilgrimage back to visit. I attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where I earned a Bachelor of General Studies (BGS) and a Masters of Library Science (MLS) with a concentration in Library Automation and Information Management. I earned my BGS while working full time and a good friend teases me that my transcript looks like the table of contents from a Time magazine. I like to think it was an excellent foundation for a librarian!

What is your academic/professional history?

After earning my MLS I accepted a job at Alma College, a small liberal arts school in central Michigan. Having grown up in a small town, I was hungry for the bright lights of a city and began my migration east. For two years I worked as the Circulation Librarian at SUNY-Brockport where I supervised five clerks and approximately 80 undergraduate students. I always spoke with them about the day when I would leave the SUNY system for a hot shot job in DC. I couldn’t have been more pleased when I got my position as Assistant Librarian for Circulation at the Supreme Court Library. Although I wasn’t in charge of that Library, I always felt that I taught those students something about setting goals and achieving them. Following my time at the Supreme Court I worked as a Circulation/Reference Librarian at Georgetown Law Library; Chief Librarian and Director of the Library for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB); Senior Manager in charge of the libraries at MCI/WorldCom; Director, ASAE Knowledge Center; and Managing Director of the Knowledge Center for the American Institute of Architects (AIA). I joined the Library of Congress as an Information Systems Specialist in the Knowledge Services Group in the Congressional Research Service. After a couple of years I moved into the Office of Management and Training in the Librarian’s Office, now the Office of Workforce Performance and Development in Human Resources Services.

How would you describe your job to other people?

One of my responsibilities as the Law Library’s Planning Officer is to do strategic and annual planning as well as workforce planning for the Law Library, and assist in the integration of plans and budgets. I maintain the Law Library’s annual program performance plans and internal control evaluations and track our performance against established targets. In addition I work on special projects on significant office issues with senior Law Library staff and colleagues around the Library. I enjoy writing a great deal and am happy to be working on the Law Library’s blog.

Why did you want to work at the Law Library?

I have always had an interest in law libraries and in fact my first professional interview way back when was in the Law Library of Congress. I interviewed with Robert Nay and Phil Berwick. Now that I see what a talented team of research librarians the Law Library has, I can easily understand why I was not selected straight out of Library Science school to work in that capacity. In any event, I never lost interest and have been watching the Law Library closely for the past couple of years and have been impressed with what I have seen. I was drawn to the energy and activities of the Law Library and wanted to become a part of the team. I am delighted to be here.

What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the Law Library?

I am simply amazed at the diversity of the staff in the Law Library and the number of things happening here. I have often commented about all of the programs offered in the Library at large and lamented that I don’t take advantage of more of them. Now there are interesting programs happening right outside my office and I find it easy to attend. I have only been here for three weeks and have already attended three fascinating Power Lunches. I really enjoy the intellectual stimulation of learning from my colleagues. They have also been very warm and welcoming.

What is something most of your co-workers do not know about you?

New Orleans is my favorite place in the world. I have celebrated my birthday at the New Orleans Jazz Festival the past 19 years and own the complete series of official posters. I also have a passion for baseball and am a season ticket holder for the Nationals … for better or worse! Last but not least, I am a nationally certified massage therapist licensed to practice in Maryland and the District of Columbia.

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