This week’s interview is with Glenn Ricci, lead information technology specialist in the Office of Strategic Initiatives at the Library of Congress. Glenn has produced videos and webcasts for various Law Library events. Most recently, he produced two videos related to the upcoming exhibition – Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor .
Describe your background.
I spent the first half of my life in Pittsburgh and the rest in D.C. and Baltimore. I’m one of those MARC train commuters who sleeps in Baltimore and works in D.C. In 1995, while still a graduate student at Georgetown, I was working at the American University Law Library (this being a law blog, that seems relevant!) when my boss heard about an opening in the American Memory project at the Library. I had been learning how to code web pages and manipulate digital images and had a few sites I was contributing to. Back then, that experience was new and rare, so it got my foot in the door. After doing web design for American Memory for a few years, I eventually led the site’s Web Team. As the Web became more multimedia-oriented, I learned about video production. That was just as everything was transitioning to digital, so it was yet another new field to get into. In 2000, I joined the ITS Multimedia group, first as a video editor, then as a coordinator.
What is your academic/professional history?
Because I was lucky enough to have a parent working at the University of Pittsburgh, I spent five years there as an undergrad taking courses for free. I majored in English writing, with minors in philosophy and psychology as well as a certificate in film studies. Learning the language of film has helped me in a lot of ways since. I first came to D.C. to get my MA in English from Georgetown. I was planning on going back to Pittsburgh afterwards, but ended up staying here. My current job turns out to be a nice combination of my background in photography, film, writing, and music. I just happened to get here through a fairly circuitous route.
How would you describe your job to other people?
My official title “Lead Information Technology Specialist” doesn’t tell people much, so I say that I’m basically a video producer at the Library. We have events happening all week that our team covers, and we fulfill a variety of other video needs for our clients all over the Library. Nearly all of it ends up on the Web. Demand has grown greatly over the years. It keeps us pretty busy processing hundreds of hours of video content every year.
Why did you want to work at the Library of Congress?
There is so much here and something new to discover every day. I like to discover new things and I get bored easily, so working at such a rich and diverse repository of knowledge means that I’ll never have to worry about getting bored. The field of digital video is also always changing, so I feel like I have a different job every few months.
What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the Library of Congress?
When the statues were commissioned for the Main Reading Room, the sculptors were all told to make their figures the same size. Paul Wayland Bartlett, who created the statue of Michelangelo, felt that Michelangelo was too important to be the same size as the others (who include Beethoven, Shakespeare, and Moses) so he made him just a bit bigger. I imagine Barlett was a very strong-willed artist.
What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?
Most of my colleagues know that I’m a music and sound designer for The ScareHouse in Pittsburgh, one of the highest rated haunted attractions in the country. Many don’t know that I also have had a long-standing fascination with immersive theatre. This year, I was awarded a Rubys Artist Grant through the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance to produce an immersive theatre piece based on the life and fiction of Edgar Allan Poe. For the next eight months, that will pretty much take up all the time that I am not at the Library.