The following is a guest post from Caitlin Rizzo, who recently left the Library of Congress to become the program manager at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD. Caitlin worked first as a Junior Fellow, then as the program support assistant, at the Poetry and Literature Center; she was also one of the three blog authors for From the Catbird Seat: Poetry and Literature at the Library of Congress.
Last month was the official end to my time at the Library of Congress—and to be honest I put off writing my farewell post until after I left. Before then, writing that my time there was over seemed all too final for me. I thought I still have two days left, one day left, hours left! All the way until the first Monday when I started my first day at my new job. Now that I have a little distance, I feel like I can finally say what an amazing experience the Library was for me.
In a little over two years at the Poetry and Literature Center, I learned, saw, and met more wonderful people and things than I had in the entirety of my life up until that point. I held first editions in my hands in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division, researched famous authors’ letters in the Manuscript Division, met and served two Poets Laureate, volunteered for two National Book Festivals, and watched the former President of Brazil win the Kluge Prize. My time at the Library was a whirlwind of once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
I also worked with some of the most intelligent and passionate people that I know, and it was privilege to learn and grow just being in their presence. Most of my colleagues at the Library have several degrees and are fiercely dedicated not only to books and reading but also to the most amazing causes and scholarship. As I move on to a new chapter, I’ve been thinking about all of the growing I did at the Library, and I have to say I could not be more appreciative of all of the work the Library does to support the literary community. Of course, I know that the connections and friendships I’ve made there will bring me back. Even now, I’m counting down the days until I see everyone again at District of Literature.