This week’s interview is with Bacilio Mendez II, an intern in the Public Services Division of the Law Library of Congress.
Describe your background.
I’m a gay, first-generation, Puerto Rican from Reading, Pennsylvania. Most people recognize the name of my hometown because of the long-defunct railroad that lives on Monopoly boards, but thanks to my tenth grade English teacher Mrs. King, I like to think of it as the birthplace of Wallace Stevens.
I majored in modern dance at Oberlin College, but my dance career was derailed by a heart attack. I was too far along, by that point, to change my major, so I shifted my focus from performance to research and while digging into the Martha Graham estate dispute, I fell in love with “finding the answer.”
After graduating from Oberlin, I took a wonderful job working at JCK, a jewelry trade magazine, as a fashion and market editor. It was one of those jobs that every young person in New York City wants. There were fancy parties and European business trips, but the best perk was that the flexibility of writing for the magazine not only allowed me to attend Pratt Institute’s School of Information and Library Science, but also helped pay for my Masters in Library and Information Science.
While a student at Pratt, I interned everywhere from 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks to the Museum of American Finance, but my best experience was serving the pro se litigants of the Kings County Supreme Court as the 2010 Nathan R. Sobel Law Library Fellow.
How would you describe your job to other people?
Living my dream of being a professional know-it-all, but I would never call myself a “guybrarian.”
Why did you want to work at the Library of Congress?
I was drawn in by the amazing programming that the Law Library of Congress offers and wanted, in some small way, to be a part of the team that produces such great work for the public.
What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the law library?
That there have only been 22 Law Librarians of Congress.
What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?
I’m an Eagle Scout.