This week’s staff interview features Brian Kuhagen, a technician in our Collection Services Division.
Describe your background
I was born across the Potomac River in Arlington, Virginia, and still live in Arlington to this day, though in a different spot. My only sibling is a younger twin brother. Growing up in the DC area was very unique, as on the weekends you could just wander downtown and roam the tunnels underneath the Library of Congress, as well as the House and Senate Office Buildings. While growing up, I would also travel quite a bit and have enjoyed spending time in all parts of the United States as well as in Norway and Sweden.
What is your academic/professional history?
I started my college career at St. Olaf College, a small Lutheran school, in Northfield, Minnesota. After a year and a half, I decided I wanted to be in a big city and transferred to Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. I graduated from Northeastern with a BA in Mathematics. While in college, I would spend my summers at home
working in the Law Library. Upon my graduation, I came back to the Law Library and decided I really liked working here. As a result, I decided to pursue a degree in library science from the Catholic University of
America. I expect to finish my Masters Degree in December.
How would you describe your job to other people?
In my four and a half years at the Law Library I have done a little bit of everything. One major project that I worked on was the reclassification of the congressional hearings. Until 1969, the hearings were classed by subject throughout the general collection rather than finding a single home in the Law Library. I worked with members of the Law Section to correctly classify and inventory all of the congressional hearings into their proper spot inside the Law Library. One major ongoing duty that I am responsible for is the correction of the cataloging problems that we find as we conduct an inventory of the 2.78 million book collection. Currently, I am heavily involved in the preparation of material to be sent to a state-of-the-art high density facility at Ft. Meade.
Why did you want to work at the Law Library?
I started working at the Law Library over the summer while I was in college. I slowly became fascinated with the entire collection and the fact that the Law Library collects material from all over the world. At first, trying to read Norwegian law books gave me a chance to practice the Norwegian learned while at St. Olaf, but then I enjoyed being able to work with material from all over the world. I am a bit of a geography nut and found it fascinating that one day I could be working with material from the State of Georgia in the United States and the next day I could be working on material from the Republic of Georgia in Eurasia.
What is the most interesting fact you have learned about the Law Library?
I too am impressed with the diverse backgrounds of the staff members here at the Law Library, and all of the languages that are represented. I am amazed that we are able to collect material from as many different jurisdictions as we do. While working with the material from all of these countries, I look up the history of each country and have learned much about the world while working here. One of the more interesting tasks I have done involved being given access to a government server in Nauru in order to print missing issues of their official gazette.
What is something that most of your co-workers do not know about you?
While most of my co-workers know that I am a baseball fanatic, they might not realize that I have been to 33 different Major League baseball stadiums. Some of you might be saying, “but wait, there are only 30 teams.” You would be correct. I have been to 5 stadiums that are either no longer used for baseball or have been torn down. Next summer I hope to make it 35 stadiums by going to the final two home parks that I have never been to in Florida.
Best of luck, Brian. As to baseball, how do your feel about sabremetrics? Some view that concept as being of a piece with FRBR– for better or worse.
A fascinating job! Love your hobby, too!
I can tell that you love your position and the assignments involved. Enjoyed reading about the details of your work.
It truly takes a mathematician for successful workflow resolutions. Congratulations.
Go ‘youngsters’! We ‘oldsters’ depend on your wisdom, accuracy, passion and intellectual curiousity. Thank you!
Weird to read your history, as I am also a twin (I guess I knew you were before), I also went to a Lutheran college and am now a librarian working with foreign language materials!