This week’s interview is with Elizabeth Moore, a librarian in our Collection Services Division.
Describe your background
I’m a native New Orleanian, who lived there until coming to the Law Library in 2008. I grew up fourth in a family of six children. My father was a biology professor and a naturalist and my mother was a former schoolteacher turned homemaker.
What is your academic/professional history?
I received my B.S. from Loyola University New Orleans. After teaching school for a year, I got a job as a Library Associate at New Orleans Public Library. Eventually I enrolled at LSU and commuted to Baton Rouge to earn a Master’s degree in Library Science while continuing to work at NOPL. I worked in both public and technical services and was the library’s first head of Automated Services. I was promoted to Head of Technical Services and oversaw the library’s conversion to a second-generation automated system.
I accepted a position at Loyola University Law Library as the Associate Law Librarian for Technical Services, where I was system coordinator for the library’s installation of its INNOPAC system. I also served as the Acquisitions Librarian and was eventually promoted to Deputy Director, where I added Circulation to my supervisory duties. I loved the hands-on work of a law librarian in an academic setting, where I did everything from work the reference desk, manage the faculty acquisitions program, and install software upgrades and hardware replacements for our INNOPAC system.
After Katrina, Loyola Law School held fall 2005 classes in Houston, using classroom space offered by the University of Houston. Our library director split his time between teaching in Houston and coming back to New Orleans on weekends. I stayed in New Orleans and worked on contacting and reassembling the staff, reaching vendors to get our subscriptions restarted, and getting the library open. Loyola Law Library was the first law library in the city to open to the public after Katrina, and most of our initial clients were practitioners/alumni who were working out of their homes.
I started thinking about moving to the DC area to be near my only son and his family. I began looking for a job in Washington and was very fortunate to find one at the Law Library of Congress in January, 2008.
How would you describe your job to other people?
The Law Library has consolidated the basic reference collection used by its legal specialists into the Global Legal Resource Room. I manage this “ready reference” collection, which includes primary and secondary sources from more than 200 jurisdictions worldwide. I assist the legal specialists in locating bibliographic material and I work on keeping the collection current, looking for later editions of codes and making sure that the Law Library receives updated material. For example, I periodically check sets with replacement volumes to make certain we’re receiving them all, which is how I found that we hadn’t been receiving revised volumes for Halsbury’s Laws of Malaysia.
While this room is mainly used by the legal specialists for their research, it is also open to the public, and I assist them with locating material in the GLOBAL collection and in using the Library’s online resources.
Why did you want to work at the Law Library?
I knew that by working here I would have the opportunity to work with material that I would not have at any other library. The staff is diverse and well-educated. Every day is different, and I am learning so much by working here. As a law librarian, working at the Law Library of Congress feels like being called up to the majors.
What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the Law Library?
While I knew that the Library of Congress received material from U.S. publishers because of the copyright law, I did not appreciate the importance of this material to the Law Library’s collection. Receiving copyright material enables the Law Library to stretch its budget so that it can purchase material from jurisdictions around the globe.
What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?
Until I moved here, I’d never missed a Mardi Gras and I always mask on Mardi Gras day (“to mask” just means to wear a costume). I’ve been everything from a butterfly to a wizard. The year that I was dressed as a Rubik’s Cube, Rex, the King of Mardi Gras, leaned down from his float and told me he liked my costume. After Katrina, FEMA covered thousands of damaged roofs with blue tarpaulin. Once my roof was replaced, I saved some of the tarpaulin and used it to make my costume. I went to the first post-Katrina Mardi Gras dressed as a blue roof with a sign that read, “There’s no place like home.”
I’ve missed three Mardi Gras celebrations since I moved here but I’ve bought my plane ticket for Mardi Gras 2011. I realized that I couldn’t spend another Fat Tuesday as just another day. I need to be on St. Charles Avenue eating kingcake, catching beads and doubloons, and moving to the music of the marching bands.