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An Interview with Charles Dove, Director of Asset Management

This week’s interview is with Charles Dove, the Director of Asset Management at the Law Library of Congress.

Describe your background.charles-dove-interview-photo

I am a native Marylander and grew up in the pastoral setting of the Ashton-Sandy Spring-Olney area.  I spent my summers horseback riding with friends, rowing a home-built skiff on Triadelphia Lake, and to the dismay of my parents, amassing a huge model airplane collection.  My longest time away from the Washington metropolitan area was the three years I served with the U.S. Army.

What is your academic/professional history?

I received my bachelor’s degree in history from The George Washington University and earned my master of library science (MLS) degree from the University of Maryland, College Park.  My first job as a librarian was at the University of Maryland’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Library where I was promoted from serials librarian to head of the Circulation Department. 

It wasn’t long before the draw of working for the Library of Congress had me filling out job applications.  I began my career at the Library working for the Congressional Research Service (CRS) as a science policy bibliographer indexing and abstracting monographs, government documents, newspaper and journal articles for the Public Policy Literature File on the Library’s mainframe SCORPIO system. I was promoted to Senior Bibliographer and Bibliographic Specialist and worked in two other major legislative issue areas besides science policy – government and law, and education and public welfare. 

My final positions in CRS were working with the CRS products database and the Legislative Information System, which is now transitioning to Congress.gov.  These positions allowed me to focus more on information technology (IT) assignments and project management.

How would you describe your job to other people?

I lead a dedicated staff of IT professionals who split their time between being Help Desk first responders and supporting the Law Library’s IT infrastructure, automated workflows, web publishing, geospatial information systems, and other new technologies. 

Why did you want to work at the Law Library of Congress?

I was looking for a position that would allow me to utilize my library degree as well as my IT and project management skills.  Lucky for me, a vacancy announcement was posted for the Law Library’s Information Technology Office to work on an international legal information database.  Since 2001, I have had the good fortune to collaborate with many talented Law Library of Congress colleagues and take a leading role in a variety of challenging projects.

What is the most interesting fact you have learned about the Law Library of Congress?

Even though the Law Library is a small service unit, I have always been impressed by the breadth of knowledge of its staff and their ability to create, maintain, and deliver many diverse products, projects, and enhancements of well-known services to Congress, the executive agencies, courts, and the legal community.

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

After building countless model airplanes as a kid I decided, on the prompting of a colleague, to fulfill a life-long dream by taking flying lessons.  I was thrilled to pilot myself in a 1972 Cessna Skyhawk from Fort Meade’s Tipton Airport to Ocean City, Maryland to fulfill the cross-country training requirement–unfortunately it was in the late fall and I didn’t get to take in the beach.  But after all it was the journey not the destination that counted.

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