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An Interview with Lindsay Braddy, Head of the Law Cataloging Team

This interview is with Lindsay Braddy, section head of the Law Section of Library Services’ Acquisitions & Bibliographic Access Directorate, U.S. Programs, Law & Literature Division. Lindsay is new to the Library, and she runs the section that is responsible for cataloging all new law titles. She and her staff make access to our collection possible.

                       Lindsay Braddy, Law Team Section head [photo by Max Herman]

Describe your background.

I grew up in St. Charles, Missouri, outside of St. Louis. I’m the oldest of four siblings and now have six small nieces and nephews in Missouri. I was always going to the public library, and read a lot as a kid, especially when I was homeschooled in my earlier years. Books have always been an important part of my life and were a gateway to the real world for me, which is probably why I’ve been surrounded by them professionally for more than a decade. I’m currently located in Philadelphia, but am relocating to Baltimore this summer. I lived in Chicago for eight years prior to moving to Philly, but despite a lot of peer pressure, remain a dyed-in-the-wool St. Louis Cardinals fan.

What is your academic/professional history?

I attended Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, for my undergrad, where I studied English literature. I worked in their Seymour Library throughout my time there and discovered the nitty-gritty of what librarians did while working on an annotated bibliography project. I thought, “I wish I could do this for a job” and then learned that I essentially could! I assisted with my first cataloging project there, helping to catalog a collection of the writer Eugene Field‘s work, and the thrill of making materials discoverable really got to me. I’ve been a cataloger ever since.

I started library school at UNC-Chapel Hill, where I made wonderful friends, and then ended up finishing my degree at the University of Missouri-Columbia. I worked in Government Documents at Mizzou, and I still have a major fondness for GovDocs. My first job as a professional cataloger was at Oak Park Public Library outside Chicago, which was one of the best first jobs a new librarian could have. There I was able to begin thinking about providing better access to popular materials for patrons of many different cultural backgrounds and languages. It totally changed the way I practiced librarianship in general and cataloging in particular – how do real people access the information they want and need? What are the barriers in libraries that users experience when trying to access essential materials? In Chicagoland I also spent time working in Government Documents at Poplar Creek Public Library, and at Skokie Public Library I managed an incredible technical services team and worked with the absolute best staff and leaders in public libraries (in my opinion). In Philadelphia I spent time at Jenkins Law Library, where I really started learning about the intricacies of legal information, legal cataloging, and the K schedule, and was drawn to law librarianship that way.

How would you describe your job to other people?

To non-librarians, I’d say that I help to catalog the books for the Law Library of Congress. To librarians, I’d say that I manage a team of talented staff who navigate complicated workflows within both the Law Library and the Library of Congress to catalog and provide access to legal materials in several formats and dozens of languages.

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

Unfortunately, starting my job remotely has limited my access to a lot of the coolest stuff about working with the Law Library, but as a cataloger, working at the Library of Congress is the pinnacle. To me, one of the most valuable things the Library of Congress does is participate in setting cataloging standards, classification systems and controlled vocabularies for libraries across the world. Especially in the legal field, where language and laws are constantly in flux, having an accurate and complete picture of the terms used to describe and access materials is critical to the work law libraries everywhere do. I’m so proud of and excited by the work the Law Section does and it’s a privilege to work with them.

What’s something most of your colleagues do not know about you?

My boyfriend and I are addicted to going to estate sales and auctions, as we both love one-of-a-kind things that we haven’t seen anywhere else. We are amassing a collection of art and furniture that can either be described as “cool” or “weird” – recent acquisitions include a giant bust of Hermes, dolphin-shaped uranium glass candlesticks, a stuffed boar’s head, a human-sized cardboard cutout of a palm tree, a lot of lamps, and enough mismatched chairs to seat all my aforementioned nieces and nephews.

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