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An Interview with Janeen Williams, Legal Reference Librarian

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This is an interview with Janeen Williams, a legal reference librarian in the Public Services Division of the Law Library of Congress.

Janeen Williams standing in the Great Hall of the Law Library of Congress.
Janeen Williams / Photograph by Donna Sokol

Describe your background.

I was born and raised in North Carolina. My bachelor’s degree is in nursing, and I worked in Atlanta for a couple of years in the labor and delivery department of a hospital.

What is your academic/professional history?

I attended law school at Mercer University. I quickly decided I did not want to practice law but did not know what to do with my degree. I spent much of my free time in the public library. I decided to volunteer there in a reference role and fell in love. I went back to the University of North Carolina for my Masters in Library Science. Prior to coming to the Law Library of Congress, I worked at North Carolina Central University Law Library for three years as a reference librarian.

How would you describe your job to other people?

Information facilitator: I connect people to the resource that will hopefully help them fill in their knowledge gap. They need info, I tell them where to get it.

Why did you want to work at the Law Library?

I wanted to work with all types of patrons. I previously worked at an academic institution. I enjoyed working with faculty and students but we rarely saw members of the public. I wanted to work here because I would get to help a variety of patrons with interesting research questions. I also adore Washington, D.C.

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

I was amazed that the Automated Call Slip system was implemented fairly recently.

What is something most of your co-workers don’t know about you?

I was named after a law librarian. My father worked in a law library while he was in law school. One librarian named Janeen made a lasting impression on my father. My parents liked the name so much, they gave it to me.

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