This week’s interview is with Constance Johnson, a Senior Legal Research Analyst at the Law Library of Congress. Constance, or Connie as we know her here, is a long-serving editor of, and prolific contributor to, our Global Legal Monitor publication. As a writer for this publication, I have always enjoyed working with Connie. She has previously written posts for In Custodia Legis on her trip to Greenwich, the Law Library’s guide to English translations of foreign laws, Water Rights at Star Island, and our 2011 Human Rights Day event.
Describe your background.
I was born in Philadelphia and initially lived in Haddonfield, New Jersey, before moving during my kindergarten year to a suburb of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.
What is your academic/professional history?
I attended Oberlin College where I majored in history and went on to the University of Pennsylvania where I got an MA in Chinese history, focusing on the Song dynasty. During my graduate student years, I lived in Kyoto, Japan for about 18 months, doing research at a library that was part of Kyoto University.
How would you describe your job to other people?
I work in a law library but am neither a lawyer nor a librarian, so I sometimes tell people I am here by mistake. Actually, my job consists of researching foreign laws for Congress and government agencies and reference services for the public, including the legal community. I also co-edit the Global Legal Monitor (GLM) with Wendy Zeldin. The GLM contains short articles on legal developments from around the world and is frequently updated.
Why did you want to work at the Law Library of Congress?
There is always something to read here! Also, the idea of providing a service to both our government and the public appealed to me.
What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the Law Library of Congress?
From my first days here I have been so impressed with the depth of knowledge of my colleagues and their generosity with their time and expertise. Our collections are equally impressive. I was interested to learn that often we have the most complete collection of a country’s laws outside of the country itself.
What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?
I have been at the Law Library 30 years as of the beginning of December 2012, so my co-workers know that my hobbies are reading and swimming and that I have two grown children of whom I am extremely proud. Maybe they don’t know that I am a “recovering” square dancer and aspiring knitter.