The following is a guest post by David Mao, Law Librarian of Congress. He has previously guest posted Shreddy: From the Office of the Law Librarian – Pic of the Week, From the Desk of the Law Librarian, The Law Librarian in London, and Rebellious Children and Witches.
It’s hard to believe that 100 days have passed since I assumed the helm of the Law Library of Congress. While greatly honored to be appointed to the position, I was somewhat anxious about the responsibility associated with caring for and maintaining the world’s largest collection of law materials. Fortunately for me, the Law Library and its staff developed under the dedicated direction of the previous Law Librarian, Roberta Shaffer. I find myself working with a vital and energetic team that not only allays my concern but also is ready for any challenge.
My main objective during these initial months has been to bring the staff together under a common vision as we move the Law Library forward, during these challenging economic times. Through various mechanisms, we have focused on the further development of Law Library staff: training managers and supervisors to hone leadership skills; guiding staff to align performance with Law Library and Library of Congress annual objectives; and collaborating with staff to enhance existing policies and procedures.
This initiative of staff development has not precluded the Law Library from moving forward with its programs and priorities. Here are some recent highlights:
- We started off the year with a full-day program for over 100 members of the Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research of the Association of American Law Schools during the Association’s annual meeting. The talented Law Library staff provided well-received talks on various subjects and also led the visitors on several behind-the-scene tours. The Law Library continued its tradition of working with the American Society of International Law during the ASIL annual meeting. As a result of this relationship, the Law Library and the Society’s International Legal Research Interest Group (ILRIG) co-hosted a pre-conference event on legal interpretation and translation. Law Library staff led one of the panel discussions.
- We have mentioned several times in this blog that the Law Library Reading Room is scheduled to be remodeled. Now it’s official—in January we formally started the design process during a kick-off meeting with the vendor who is drafting the redesign plans. Since then, a Law Library team has met several times with the designers to provide input and comments on proposed schematic plans. In addition, Public Services and Collection Services divisions’ staff continued processing collections being removed from the Reading Room. Currently staff have processed approximately 28,000 volumes, which represents 87% of our goal.
- The Law Library continued expanding its use of social networking tools. There are over 23,000 and 10,000 people, respectively, following our Twitter accounts @LawLibCongress and @THOMASdotgov and more than 7,700 Facebook friends and 15,000 emails subscribers who follow this blog. Law Library web publications also have a strong following, such as the Global Legal Monitor with over 16,000 subscribers.
The Law Library’s accomplishments during my first months showcase a dedicated and talented staff, enthusiastic about our objective of providing legal research and information through our collections and expertise. Going forward, the Law Library will continue to provide patrons with efficient and expert service in a redesigned and modern physical space, and through innovative and pioneering virtual services.