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An Interview with Michael Promisel, Collection Services Intern

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The following interview is with Michael Promisel, a summer intern working in the Collection Services Division of the Law Library of Congress. It is part of a series of interviews that introduce our summer interns to In Custodia Legis readers.

Describe your backgroundMichael Promisel standing in front of wood paneled wall with gold letters spelling, "The Law Library of Congress" in a circle in the background.

Although I cannot proclaim a direct line of descent, my background can be easily understood in light of Library of Congress contributor and proud Virginian, Thomas Jefferson.  I was born and raised in Fairfax, have lived in the state for my entire life, and study at Jefferson’s University of Virginia in Charlottesville. At home, I am the eldest of three brothers, a youth tennis coach, and an active member of our community.  At school, I am involved in community volunteering and student government, where I serve as chair of the Representative Body.  After I graduate, I hope to attend graduate school in the field of political science.

What is your academic/professional history?

This fall, I will begin my final year as an undergraduate at the University of Virginia. My major is in government, concentrating in political philosophy, and I have nearly completed a minor in global sustainability.  In the past I have worked as a legal intern for a firm in Fairfax County and worked for two summers for my Virginia State Senator.  Last fall, my interest in the classics and politics led me to study for four months in Athens, Greece where I was enrolled in a program called the College Year in Athens. Through this program, I traveled throughout the country and islands learning about the classical and modern aspects of Greek political history.

How would you describe your job to other people?

As an intern in the Collection Services Division, I am processing foreign gazettes and updating our current inventory.  Donated gazettes from the United Nations must be documented, compared with our catalog, and entered into the collection where we have gaps.  My job gives me a wide breadth of exposure to foreign laws and often brings me across exciting and significant legal changes in the countries I am concentrating on.

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

As a lover of books and a political science student, the Law Library of Congress (LLC) seemed like an obvious place for me to work.  Although I do not plan to pursue a law degree, I enjoy and am interested in viewing laws from a political perspective.  As the largest law library in the world, LLC is a place that both feeds my academic interests and introduces me to unparalleled programs and experts.

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

The most compelling fact I have learned about the Law Library is the diverse array of people it attracts.  I never appreciated (or understood) the breadth of knowledge required to properly maintain and expand a collection so important.  I am continually fascinated by the new faces I meet and the stories I am told.

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

Most of my co-workers do not know that I ran the original marathon during my stay in Greece last fall.

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