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An Interview with Julie Gutin, Editor at the Law Library of Congress

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Describe your background

I was born in Minsk, Belarus, and moved to the United States as a child. I earned my undergraduate degree in Spanish and Continental European Comparative Literature at Boston University. I’ve always loved to read, and wanted to work with books for as long as I can remember. My first dream job was to be a librarian, but instead I ended up in book publishing—overall, not a bad deal. For the past twelve years I worked in trade (commercial) publishing in Boston, New York, and Virginia, mostly in book production, doing a lot of editing. Now I’ve come full circle, working at the most amazing library in the world.

How would you describe your job to other people?

I am still an editor, except now I edit the work of Foreign Law Specialists in the Global Legal Research Center (GLRC) and other Law Library of Congress staff. The goal of my job is to help authors express their thoughts as they had intended, in the clearest way possible, without the distraction of spelling or grammatical errors, whether it’s in a report, a letter, or email.

A headshot of Julie Gutin with a brick wall in the background.
Julie Gutin (Photo by Karen Jacot)

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

This job was a great opportunity to use the skills I learned in a new setting. The Law Library of Congress is an amazing place, full of interesting people and events that I’ve only begun to take advantage of, as I get settled in my new role.

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

The resources here are just unbelievable. There are certain foreign collections that are more complete than what’s available in the country of origin. It’s definitely something to be proud of, but also a huge responsibility.

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

I am sort of a foodie—and I love things like anchovy pizza, chopped liver, fermented tofu, okra. You name it, I’ll try it, and probably love it. This makes travel a lot of fun and was a good way to explore DC and the surrounding areas when I moved here two years ago. I am also a language buff. In addition to being fluent in Russian and quite proficient in Spanish, I have studied French and Hebrew, and am now in the long and never-ending process of learning Mandarin.

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