Today’s interview is with Faith Hamby. Faith worked with us last year and we were very happy she came back this year to continue working on the Statutes at Large as a metadata technician.
Describe your background.
During my undergraduate days, I worked at Marquette University’s Memorial Library in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Intrigued by the J.R.R. Tolkien Collection exhibited by the Special Collections and University Archives, I wanted to protect historical collections of knowledge. This drove me to become a paraprofessional library assistant for over five years in public, community, undergraduate, and graduate libraries. I completed a Master of Arts in Writing at DePaul University in Chicago and have no legal background, except for working in the Law Library of Congress for two summers.
How would you describe your job to other people?
In the Digital Resources Division of the Law Library of Congress, I choose keywords for Statutes at Large as a Metadata Technician. The Statutes at Large are significant documents containing the acts and resolutions passed by Congress each session. Using a vocabulary list and words from an act’s title and description, I pick out metadata and keywords to make the Statutes at Large findable by title or keyword in the Law Library’s search results once the statutes are uploaded to the library’s website.
Why did you want to work at the Law Library of Congress?
I could no more pass up a chance to work for the Law Library of Congress than I could pass up a chance to work for the ancient Library of Alexandria. Prior experiences in libraries broadened my awareness of domestic and international issues, but I knew working in the Law Library of Congress could further my understanding of the U.S. and the world. While working on the Statutes at Large, I learned more than I did in all my advanced history classes. Meaningful opportunities to learn about our world are rare.
What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the Law Library?
When I learned about the Veteran’s History Project, I was astonished. As the daughter of a Vietnam veteran and friend of a Gulf War veteran, I know the worth of archiving personal and familial war stories. They acknowledge men and women who weren’t always recognized for their sacrifice.
What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?
A person close to me considered functionally illiterate unintentionally helped me decide to obtain a Laubach Literary Action Certificate. Once certified, I assisted several English as a Second Language (ESL) and illiterate adults learn to read, write, and complete “easy” tasks, such as filling out resumes, balancing checkbooks, and learning how to express themselves in “simple” social situations that called for a basic ability to read, write, or speak. I couldn’t bear to see an adult admonished for an inability to do what most people take for granted.