Today’s interview is with Lena Gómez, Law Library Reading Room Technician. We are happy to give the public a brief glimpse into her life; and as this is a parting interview of a colleague for whom we augur a brilliant future, we would like to take this opportunity to wish her much success in her future endeavors in librarianship.
Describe your background.
I am a native New Yorker, born and raised in Manhattan in a neighborhood affectionately called “El Barrio” by longtime residents. I loved growing up in New York City! I have fond girlhood memories of bike rides with my father to Central Park; crafty projects with my mother in our apartment; and walks with my grandfather to school. At age 11, my parents moved our family to Rockland County, a suburb just a few miles outside of the city. My parents still live in Rockland, in a home that is 15 minutes away from the birthplace and childhood home of renowned artist Edward Hopper.
I left my home state in the summer of 2010 and relocated to Washington, D.C., to work as a Library Technician (contractor) for the Public Services Division of the Law Library of Congress. My time here has been a growing experience! Although I am excited about beginning the next stage of my professional life, as Reference Librarian at Keller and Heckman, L.L.P., I am sad to leave the Law Library and I will miss my colleagues and friends tremendously.
What is your academic/professional history?
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from the State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz and a Master of Science (MSLIS) degree in Library and Information Science from Long Island University (LIU) Palmer School of Library and Information Science. Before my move to Washington, D.C., I worked as a Reference Librarian at Finkelstein Memorial Library, a bustling regional library in the greater New York City area. I provided reference desk service, and developed and maintained library collections for nearly four years.
I am a passionate advocate for literacy and lifelong learning. As a Reference Librarian in New York, I participated in the New York State Summer Library Reading Program, where I performed outreach duties at the local middle schools. Over the years, I have also enjoyed time as a tutor and mentor for grade school students.
How would you describe your job to other people?
As a Library Technician in the Law Library Reading Room, I answer ready-reference questions in-person and over the phone for federal constituents and members of the general public. My daily routine also includes a shift in the Microform Reading Room, where I provide one-on-one assistance on the usage of ScanPro®, a digital microfilm reader scanner. I spend another segment of my day performing collection maintenance for Reading Room materials as well as inputting records into the Global Legal Information Catalog (GLIC), a Library of Congress database that interfaces the library catalog with subject area and jurisdictional search capabilities. I have also updated sections of the Guide to Law Online, as well as submitted records into the Federal Inventory of Legal Materials.
I volunteer for library events, such as the National Book Festival (which is held annually at the National Mall) and the recent field-trip of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) to the Law Library. Last year, I participated in the 1st Annual Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) Chili Cook-Off at the Library of Congress… and won with my “Bronx Bomb Chili” entry! (Woot! Woot!)
Why did you want to work at the Law Library of Congress?
As a Librarian, it was too good of an opportunity to pass up!
What is the most interesting fact you have learned about the Law Library of Congress?
What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?
Most of my colleagues—including my partner in baking, Margaret —are well aware of my love for cooking and baking from scratch; but they might not know that I am an origami enthusiast. Over the years, I have made boats, swans, blow tops, cubes, and various other three-dimensional geometric objects. Recently, I made a stellated octahedron.