1. What is your background?
If you had not already guessed, based on my posts about Mardi Gras, New Orleans, and Louisiana, I am from New Orleans and much of my family still lives there. I was in the 260th graduating class of Ursuline Academy and went to the University of Alabama (ROLL TIDE ROLL!!!) where I majored in History and Political Science. After college I moved to the D.C. area for better job opportunities. I still did not know what I wanted to do with my life, but I met someone who turned me on to being a librarian, which is an obvious career choice in retrospect. So I enrolled in Catholic University for my Master’s Degree in Library Science and eventually landed a job at Arthur Andersen as a business librarian. After Andersen folded I got a job at the Library of Congress in the Business Reference Section.
2. Why did you want to work at the Library of Congress?
I like learning new things every day and I knew that I could do that at the Library. There are so many different types of researchers who use the Library and all of them have different backgrounds and needs. Sometimes I learn new facts that I horde for future reference or I learn of a great new (or new to me) source of information that I can use to help future researchers.
Then there is the Library’s amazing collection. I knew I could never fully investigate it, although I won’t get tired trying! Even after 10 years I know that next week or sometime soon I will find something new that will captivate me.
3. How would you describe your job at the Library of Congress?
Basically, I help people find the information they are looking for. Sometimes it means asking a different question or approaching the question from a different angle. Sometimes it just means thinking creatively. Then there are those questions that seem to have no answer and those are the ones that need a healthy dose of persistence.
Another part of my job is writing blog posts, which I enjoy because they require me to stretch my creativity. They allow me to focus on particular items within the collection and highlight them in a way that I hope is interesting as well as fun to read.
4. Do you have a favorite Library collection or program?
Where to start, where to start…..I have so many favorites in the Library’s collections …..
I like titles where there is a long history of holdings, which may explain why I have a fondness for the old telephone books, business directories, and criss-cross directories. They are useful for so many reasons, and since most libraries don’t have the variety of locations and the breadth of years, I enjoy their amazement at how much the Library has in its collections.
I also love all the old credit reference books like the “Duns Credit Reference” book, as well as the large runs of directories and state banking commission records. I am also fond of the large statistical compilations like “Bicentennial Edition: Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970” because there is so much information in a relatively compact form.
5. If you weren’t a librarian, what would you want to be?
That is a HARD QUESTION…. one I honestly have no real answer to. When I was younger, I don’t remember having many ideas about “what I wanted to be when I grew up.” Maybe a professional consultant who helps people to organize their house? I am good at organizing, because I enjoy how everything looks so neat afterwards; and after I finish, I feel a big sense of accomplishment.