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An Interview with Anna Price, Legal Reference Librarian

Today’s interview is with Anna Price, a legal reference librarian in the Public Services Division of the Law Library of Congress.

Anna Price at the Jefferson Building. Photo by Geraldine Davila Gonzalez

Anna Price. Photo by Geraldine Davila Gonzalez

Describe your background.

I was born and raised in Puyallup (pew-ALL-up), Washington, which is about 30 miles south of Seattle and home of the Washington State Fair. I come from a relatively large family – I’m the middle child of five kids, and have one sister and three brothers. Much of my childhood was spent cheering for the University of Washington Huskies during college football season. Go Dawgs!  I arrived in DC in the summer of 2016.

What is your academic/professional history?

I earned my undergraduate degree from Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York, where I majored in communications with minors in legal studies and politics. After graduation, I worked in London for a few months with a nuclear energy lobbying group and a member of the House of Lords. I then returned to the Pacific Northwest to attend law school at the University of Washington School of Law. During law school I worked at a boutique firm in Tacoma, Washington and was fortunate to receive a job offer after passing the bar exam. I spent five years as a trial lawyer, which involved representing injured persons before judges and juries. I tried cases to verdict and argued before state and federal trial and appellate courts, including the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

When I decided to make a career change I was drawn to librarianship pretty quickly. Prior to joining the Law Library, I worked in the interlibrary loan service of the Fairfax County Public Library and supervised the Alexandria Law Library. I am also enrolled in the University of Washington iSchool’s MLIS program.

How would you describe your job to other people?

I help people solve problems by connecting them with resources. This includes working with patrons in person, over the phone, and online through queries submitted on the Library’s “Ask A Librarian” service. Inquiries can come from anywhere – Congress, the Supreme Court, abroad, etc. In assisting people with their research, I often get the chance to learn sometime new with them about legal resources, points of law, history, and so forth.

Why did you want to work at the Law Library of Congress?

I’ve been fascinated with the Library of Congress since moving to the DC area. I spent a little over two years as a researcher guidance volunteer, where I assisted new readers with navigating the Library’s resources and reading rooms. The opportunity to work with a variety of customers—from pro-se litigants to congressional offices—can’t be found anywhere else. I enjoy having a variety of tasks, including interfacing with the public, handling research projects, and writing, so this opportunity was perfect for me.

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

Easily the most important asset at the Law Library is its people. I’m amazed daily by the wealth of knowledge that my colleagues have on a substantial amount of legal topics and resources, and I learn something new from them every day.

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

I love road trips and have visited nearly all 50 states (a few in the middle and New England have eluded me). I’ve traveled routes up and down the West Coast more times than I can count, and drove I-90/94 from Washington State to New York twice annually during most of my college years. When I moved to DC from Tacoma, my dog and I spent about 11 days on a 4,500-mile route through the southern states.

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