This week’s interview is with Everett Wiggins, a metadata technician here at the Law Library of Congress.
I am the oldest of three siblings, born and raised in rural mid- Michigan, where people generally either make corn flakes or cars. It was an idyllic childhood, full of books and open space to explore. I played piano, trumpet, and percussion during high school.
What is your academic/professional history?
I am a librarian, not a lawyer, and I’ve worked with information my entire life. I finished a Masters’ in English at Indiana State University, then spent ten years working in bookstores before realizing that I should be a librarian. After finishing that degree at the University of Michigan, my wife decided to pursue a Ph.D. at Syracuse University.
While in Syracuse, I worked as a reference librarian for Hiscock & Barclay, LLP, a two-hundred attorney firm with ten offices. I have also worked in both public and academic libraries (and at the Baseball Hall of Fame library for a summer), and for database providers.
How would you describe your job to other people?
Unless the law is freely available, we can’t be expected to know and obey it. I help put old laws online by providing the descriptive keywords to make them findable. It isn’t glamourous work, but it is important that we be able to read and understand our history and the laws that govern us.
Why did you want to work at the Law Library of Congress?
Really? It’s the Library of Congress, our National library and one of the best libraries in the world. The Law Library collections have helped rebuild the law after disasters in other countries; they inform Congress; they provide resources and assistance for scholars from around the world. As a librarian, my goal is to connect people with the information they need. I can’t think of a better place to be for doing that.
What is the most interesting fact you have learned about the Law Library of Congress?
Since 2010, there have been over one hundred and forty interviews for In Custodia Legis. More than half of them found the extensive non-English collections (about half of the Law Library holdings) surprising. What surprised me, though, was seeing so many different ways to say the same thing. We have an amazing staff here–none of them expressed this in the same way!
What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?
If you see me at home, I’m probably wearing a kilt.
Congratulations Everett, the LOC is lucky to have you.