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An Interview with Roswell Encina, Chief Communications Officer

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The following interview is with Roswell Encina, the chief communications officer at the Library of Congress.

Roswell Encina standing in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress.
Photo by Donna Sokol

Describe your background.

I can be described as your stereotypical Navy brat–well, maybe not the brat part. My father was in the U.S. Navy and we were stationed like many military families all over. From Connecticut to Virginia all the way to the Philippines (where my parents are originally from). They decided to retire from the military in the Philippines with the intention of returning to the States after I finished college.  

After I graduated high school at 16 years old and completed a Bachelor of Science in marketing management in three years, we moved back to the States when I was 19. As you can imagine after graduating at such an early age, I hadn’t truly discovered what I wanted to do professionally so I went back to school.

What is your academic/professional history?

I always wanted to be a professional journalist. So upon returning to the States I went back to school and graduated with Bachelor of Arts in Communications. I got my professional wish and worked as a television reporter in local news. I started in Salisbury, Maryland and then worked my way through different cities: Huntsville, Alabama, Birmingham, Alabama, Memphis, Tennessee, and Baltimore, Maryland where I settled.

After more than thirteen years in the TV business I decided it was time for a change.  An opportunity became available at the Enoch Pratt Free Library where I was hired as their director of communications.  That is where I first worked closely with Carla Hayden.

How would you describe your job to other people?

My first priority is the best interest of the Library of Congress and its staff and, of course, the Librarian of Congress.  That means working very closely and collaboratively with the different communications staff members of the Library. We have one of the best teams on the Hill.

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

I call it my lottery job. It’s like winning the Powerball. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to work at the largest library in the world,  to be surrounded by a very talented staff and a collection many people only dream of viewing. Every day I still marvel and pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.

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

I have to be honest; the Law Library is the only department left I haven’t visited. But I know it’s under the strong leadership of Roberta Shaffer and has the largest collection of law books and resources. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone.

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

I don’t know where to start, but I will say that I’m a very optimistic person. I firmly believe living life to the fullest and celebrating every day like it’s a Super Bowl Halftime Show.  When I turned 40 years old, I typed up a “bucket list.” I decided it was good to start checking things off this list while I physically (and mentally) accomplish them. Items include visiting all 50 states, finishing a triathlon and handling a balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

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