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An Interview with Colleen Hybl, Daly Topp, and Shannon Wang

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Shannon Wang, Daly Topp, and Colleen Hybl standing next to one another with trees and bushes in the background.
From left to right: Shannon Wang, Daly Topp, and Colleen Hybl

This summer Jolande Goldberg and I had three talented women working with us on the Indigenous Law Portal: Colleen Hybl, Daly Topp, and Shannon Wang. These interns were part of the LC Knowledge Navigators Program Non-paid Internship Program with the University of Virginia. During their time with us, they learned a great deal about LC Classification and Indigenous Law, and they helped gather information on over 350 tribes and aboriginal peoples in North America.

Describe your background.

Colleen: I was born and raised in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Currently, I still live in Fredericksburg when I am not at school at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. If I am not at home reading a book then I am usually at the library in Fredericksburg reading a book or volunteering at the library. I love books so much that I practically live in the library.

Daly: As an Army brat, I’ve lived in quite a few places around the United States. After graduating from high school in San Antonio, Texas, I attended the gorgeous University of Virginia. I am the oldest of four children, with my youngest sibling 13 years my junior. After my internship concludes, I hope to continue living in beautiful town of Charlottesville.

Shannon: My parents immigrated to the United States from China before I was born.  I was born and raised in Virginia and I am the oldest of three children. I grew up in the Fairfax area, attending Fairfax County Public Schools from elementary through high school. Currently I am studying at the University of Virginia.

What is your academic/professional history?

Colleen: I am going to be a third year at the University of Virginia in the Fall of 2014. I am an Environmental Sciences Major. I am still not sure what I want to do after I graduate from the University of Virginia, but over the last year an idea has been developing. I hope to go to graduate school to get a Library Sciences Degree, so I can become a librarian.

Daly: I graduated from the University of Virginia this past May with a Bachelor’s Degree in History and a minor in Religious Studies. In addition to my education, I worked as a lifeguard at the University’s aquatic center.

Shannon: I studied at James Madison University for the first two years of my undergrad. While I was there I worked at the Information Technology HelpDesk in customer support.  I transferred to the University of Virginia and I am currently pursuing a master’s degree through the Curry School of Education. This fall I will be starting my fourth year at UVA. Professionally in the past I have worked and volunteered at different camps, summer schools, and tutoring programs.  Interning at the Library of Congress this summer has definitely been a different direction for me.

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

Colleen: I wanted to work at the Library of Congress, for I thought it was a neat idea! The Library of Congress is essentially an international hub of information, history, and practically anything else you can think of: they have it or if they do not, they can try and point you in the right direction to find whatever you are looking for that you cannot find anywhere else. I love books and I love learning! A place where they specialize in books and learning through research, why would I not work at the Library of Congress?

Daly: As a first year student, I was initially interested in United States’ colonial history. It was through these studies that I began exploring different aspects of our nation’s fledgling years, including any and all history about the indigenous people of the Americas. While researching different internships, the Library of Congress immediately stood out to me because of the nature of this particular project.

Shannon: I have always been fascinated by the library since I was young.  I love how there are endless amounts of possibilities. I volunteered at my regional public library when I was younger, where I was able to learn about how the library system worked and functioned. Ever since then, I have always wanted to work at the Library of Congress and be able to experience all that it has to offer.

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

Colleen: I have learned so many interesting facts that I do not know if I can limit it to just one fact, but I will try. The most interesting fact that I found out about the Library of Congress is that it’s truly an international hub of information. About 50% of the collection is not even in English! They not only have information about the United States, but also information about other countries that not even the countries themselves have in their records! A perfect example of this was after the earthquake a few years back in Haiti, a man was trying to find a series of newspapers from a specific date, but he could not find them anywhere. He tried Haitian records, even though they were in turmoil with the earthquake. He tried France, and then he tried rare bookstores in Europe. He could not find them anywhere until someone told him to try the Library of Congress, which he did and found those newspapers. Also, because the Library of Congress contains information that is not in English, the Library has quite a number of employees that can speak, understand, and may even had either lived or been born in the countries where a particular language has been spoken. Some days when I walk in to work at the Library of Congress, it feels like a mini United Nations because there are people talking in different languages!

Daly: Of all the experiences that I have had at the Library, the one that has stood out to me the most is when I toured the stacks of the Law Library with my peers and supervisor. The extensive knowledge that this one room held was amazing and blew me away. Plus, what was extremely spectacular was seeing Roman law manuscripts from the 1600’s. It is just amazing to me how modern readers can still access thoughts from a single person in the 15th century and even prior, all due to the Library.

Shannon: The most interesting thing I have learned is how the Library of Congress acquires people from such vast and wide professions. From the physicist and chemist in the Preservation Department to the people who come from all over different cultures, speaking different languages to help interpret texts is so fascinating to me.

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

Colleen: When I am not reading, at school, or volunteering at the library, I am either working on a story that I started about a year ago, or I am drawing fashion designs.

Daly: Most of my co-workers do not know that I studied in Ireland during my 3rd year at UVA. Although I was the only one in my group who had never traveled abroad, the entire trip was exceptionally rewarding and an excellent learning experience.

Shannon: One thing my co-workers would not know about me is that I traveled to Florence, Italy, last summer to study abroad.  I was able to study and learn about the history, art, culture, and politics of Medici Florence.

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