This week’s interview is with Anne Guha, an intern with the Public Services Division at the Law Library of Congress.
Describe your background.
I was born in Boston and grew up in various places all along the East Coast. I spent most of my childhood in New York City, North Carolina, and Florida, finishing high school in Florida and staying in state to earn my bachelor’s degree. Most of my family currently lives in Florida and North Carolina.
What is your academic/professional history?
I have a BA in both International Relations and Economics from New College of Florida, which is a non-traditional public honors college where students receive individual feedback on personal growth in subject areas rather than grades and complete a senior thesis in their areas of concentration. I then became a joint degree student at the George Washington University here in Washington D.C., where I earned both a JD with honors at the Law School and a MA at the Elliott School of International Affairs. My master’s concentration was in International Science and Technology Policy. As a law student, I was a member of the George Washington International Law Review (ILR), where I was part of the team that worked on writing, editing, and updating the ILR’s annually-published Guide to International Legal Research. During and after law school, I worked on patent and copyright policy issues with a local non-profit organization, Knowledge Ecology International. I also served as a summer postgraduate Attorney Fellow at the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Eastern District of Virginia. I keep my membership with the Virginia bar current.
At present, I am a master’s degree candidate in the Law Librarianship program at The Catholic University of America. I have had an interest in law librarianship since my first year of law school, when I heard one of the George Washington University law librarians speak to a group of students about her career and experiences. I have always loved libraries and enjoyed research and teaching: in the past I’ve taught a prep class for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT); worked as a teaching assistant; and tutored on various subjects). These experiences made librarianship an increasingly compelling career choice. Since entering this field, I have had opportunities to gain experience at the Jacob Burns Law Library at George Washington University, where I was a library research fellow, and at the Howard University Law Library, where I interned last fall. At both libraries, I worked with fantastically skilled librarians who provided role models for the sort of professional I aspire to be. And I am still in touch with the law librarian who originally interested me in this field!
How would you describe your work to other people?
I am interning with the Public Services Division, meaning that most of my work is in legal reference and research. I assist at the Law Library Reading Room’s reference desk and am involved in helping to answer patron questions submitted through our Ask a Librarian service. I also participate in a number of electronic and print collections projects — for example, I am doing some work on the Law Library’s Legal Blawg archive.
Why did you want to intern at the Law Library of Congress?
When I first moved to Washington D.C. and visited the Library of Congress, I was stunned by its beauty, the breadth of its collections, and its history. Given my legal background, I dreamed about being able to explore the Law Library of Congress, but I did not think I would have the wonderful opportunity of interning here. It is an honor to have the opportunity to learn from such accomplished and knowledgeable librarians in such a historic environment.
What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the Law Library?
Of course one expects the Law Library of Congress to have a very extensive collection on matters of American law — and this is certainly the case! — but I was surprised when I learned about the Law Library’s extensive global emphasis, as well. I was intrigued to learn about the Library’s Global Legal Research Directorate and the types of work it does in providing information and analysis on foreign and international law. In fact, over half of the Law Library’s collection pertains to matters of foreign and international law, and I’m told we have actually helped other countries rebuild their legal libraries when their own texts have been lost through disaster or war.
What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?
Ever since I was a child, I have loved all things spooky or horror-related: books, movies, video games, board games, television shows…you name it. I am particularly partial to scary or dark short stories. Fortunately, my husband is willing to indulge me in this area.
Anne seems to be a very intelligent, and competent at what she does. Legal research is something I never appreciated until now.