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An Interview with Christine Sellers, Legal Reference Librarian

This week’s interview is with Christine, a co-worker who is already familiar to loyal blog readers.  She has been instrumental in our blog’s success.  Not to provide too much a spoiler, but Christine is leaving the Law Library of Congress on Friday.

We have worked together on many other projects over the last two years, some of which we’ve blogged about, including enhancing THOMAS, working on the Law Library’s Strategic Plan, presenting on THOMAS at the Annual AALL Conference, and talking to people about THOMAS at the National Book Festival.  Read on to find out more about Christine…

Describe your background.

I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to parents that lived there for ten years. When I was three, we moved to South Carolina and I spent the rest of my childhood there. For me, South Carolina will always be home and I find myself returning there no matter where I move. I’ve lived in Boston, Atlanta, and now D.C. In just a few days I will be moving back to South Carolina to live in Charleston.

I feel bittersweet about leaving the Law Library of Congress. I have had an amazing couple of years here and will miss my coworkers tremendously, but I am excited about this next stage in my career as well as being home again.

What is your academic/professional history?

I have a Bachelor’s degree in art history and English from Wellesley College near Boston, Massachusetts. I also have both a Juris Doctor and a Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of South Carolina.

After library school, I was a Senior Research Librarian at Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A. in South Carolina. After becoming a casualty of an economic downturn, I started a blog for unemployed law librarians called Law Librarians of Leisure. My goal was to provide a community and support for others that were in my same situation.

Luckily, I was offered a job at the Law Library of Congress and started as a Legal Reference Librarian in September 2009. Starting mid-December, I will be returning to law firms as a Research Specialist at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough.

How would you describe your job to other people?

As a reference librarian in the Law Library Reading Room, I answer questions from Congress, executive agencies and the public via phone, email, and in person. A shift at the reference desk can be hectic and demanding, but ultimately very rewarding. I was honored to be selected for the Law Library Reading Room Management Training Program. I am part of a team that works on THOMAS, including developing new features. I am also part of the social media team working on Facebook and Twitter. I have been a blogger for In Custodia Legis since it started and it has been a joy to see it grow.

I also give presentations and write articles regularly. I have spoken about the services and staff of the Law Library, including tours and training for visiting groups and presentations at conferences, including the American Bar Association and the American Association of Law Libraries.  I’ve written articles in AALL Spectrum and Law Library Journal, both on the Law Library’s behalf and my own.

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

When I was in library school, I tried to imagine my dream job and one of my dreams was to work at the Library of Congress. It seemed like the perfect place for any librarian to work. When I was offered a job here, I jumped at the chance.

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

I’ve learned so much during my time at the Law Library and feel lucky that I was able to work here. I was constantly amazed not only by the Law Library’s collection, but also the staff that work here. From the wonderful collection services staff to the foreign legal specialists to my coworkers on the desk, thank you.

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

I was an art history major in college and love making art a part of my life. When I previously lived in South Carolina, I was on the Contemporaries’ Board of the Columbia Art Museum. We were mostly young professionals and were responsible for the acquisition of a Dale Chihuly chandelier for the museum. We were invited out to Seattle for the chandelier’s unveiling and to tour Chihuly’s studios, which was an amazing trip.

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