This week’s interview is with Monica Greene, a Library Technician in the Law Library of Congress Reading Room.
Describe your background.
I consider Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, home, although I moved around a bit growing up and spent four years in Kyoto, Japan. After coming back to the U.S. I always wanted to return to Japan, so I spent my final semester of college at Osaka at Kansai Gaidai University. I came to Washington, D.C., last year after accepting a contract position at the Government Printing Office.
What is your academic/professional history?
I have a Bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College (which Margaret also attended) and a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh. When I started at Oberlin, I thought I wanted to be a music major, but I switched to East Asian Studies halfway through my degree. I was fortunate enough to be able to study with Peter Slowik and Karen Ritscher in the Conservatory of Music during my time at Oberlin and took part in ensembles and student recitals as well. Although I have not played in a while, I would like to get back into participating in ensembles in the D.C. area at some point in the near future.
I decided to go to library school while I was working in Oberlin at Mudd Library one summer. While earning my library degree, I worked in the East Asian Library processing Japanese acquisition materials. I also interned at the Andy Warhol Museum, working alongside the archivists to sort, number, and create finding aids for Warhol’s Time Capsules. After graduating, I continued volunteering at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, in both the main reading room and the music department. Most recently, I was on contract at the Government Printing Office working on their Historic Shelflist Project. I was part of a group tasked with transcribing their handwritten shelflist cards to create MARC records in their online catalog. I am excited to learn the new RDA standards and look forward to doing more cataloging someday.
How would you describe your job to other people?
I work as a contract Library Technician in the Public Services Division at the Law Library of Congress. I am on a rotation schedule with two other technicians in the Law Library of Congress Reading Room. I divide my time during the day between the reference desk, doing collections work, and assisting patrons in the microfilm room. It can get pretty busy at the desk, where I answer ready-reference questions over the phone and in person for our diverse range of patrons. I am happy to be able help patrons request library items through our Automated Call Slip (ACS) system, demonstrate how to use our new scanner, search in our online subscription databases, and navigate the Congress.gov website. I also contribute to expanding the Global Legal Information Catalog, which indexes resources on global and comparative law. I still have a lot to learn about our law collection, which includes many rare books, official gazettes, and the closed stacks collection that is bigger than a football field, to name a few. I am thankful to everyone I work with for their patience as I continue to absorb the K schedule and all that there is to know about working in a law library with long hours and approximately 2.8 million volumes!
Why did you want to work at the Law Library of Congress?
I thought this would be a great opportunity to get hands-on experience doing reference work in a governmental library.
What is something most of your co-workers do not know about you?
I would like to become a better runner and have participated in a few 5Ks in recent years. I even got up early on Thanksgiving to run a Turkey Trot this year! Running longer distances is my current goal. However, I do not think I am quite ready to sign up for a Tough Mudder, such as the one my fellow Law Library colleagues took part in this fall!