Today’s interview is with Bailey DeSimone, a Library Technician (Metadata) in the Digital Resources Division of the Law Library of Congress.
What is your academic/professional history?
I received my bachelor’s degrees in history and global studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. From my second week of classes as a first-year to my final week of exams as a senior, I was a student assistant in the North Carolina Collection of the Louis Round Wilson Library, where I contributed to several collection research projects. I was inspired by the library community to pursue a career in what I love most – asking and answering questions.
I have since been fortunate enough to meet and work alongside archival and research teams at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and the Council on Foreign Relations. I am a member of the Digital Resources Division of the Law Library as of this year, and am grateful that I ended up falling into the library world as naturally as I did.
How would you describe your job to other people?
I create, analyze, and apply data about data. I am currently collaborating with my team to digitize the United States Congressional Serial Set. On a normal day, I evaluate the volumes of the Serial Set (reports, maps, charts, illustrations, and all) for completion, generate reports to identify outstanding issues, and draft content focused on relevant historical legal events mentioned in the Serial Set.
Why did you want to work at the Law Library?
I am interested in the history and application of law. My aspiration is to engage communities with the information that essentially governs our lives, and destigmatize the question, “I don’t know,” by creating new approaches to information. The Law Library is home to a vast amount of domestic and foreign legislative history, and I believe that it is important that patrons of all backgrounds find these resources accessible. The Library’s Digital Strategy inspires me to continue developing my own knowledge while remaining aware of new challenges that come with incorporating digital technology into libraries.
What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the Law Library of Congress?
The existence of the Serial Set itself intrigued me – as someone who primarily studied international and comparative policy, a glimpse into U.S. legislative history was refreshing. I had absolutely no idea about the nature of the arguments (both for and against) key legislative issues, including international copyright law, granting citizenship to immigrants, and women’s suffrage in U.S. history. I’ve learned an incredible amount about the various approaches to interpreting legal texts.
What’s something most of your colleagues do not know about you?
I was a member of a hip-hop dance team for two years and took classes when I was studying abroad at the Freie Universität Berlin for a summer. Definitely the most unexpected moment of my life so far was choreographing and teaching my own class, but that also made it the most memorable.