This past week, organizations across the country have been celebrating public service workers and honoring the work they do. For the past 36 years, Public Service Recognition Week has honored those who serve our nation as federal, state, county, local, and tribal government employees. We asked our staff which public services they were most grateful for.
Aslihan Bulut, Acting Law Librarian of Congress
This past year has been unrelenting and challenging for everyone. It’s provided us with an opportunity to sit back, reflect, adapt, and – above all – to be creative and find innovative options to overcome the many hurdles that we faced daily. In return, the hardships allowed us to test our limits and realize our potential.
As we celebrate the 2021 Public Service Recognition Week, I would like to thank all my Law Library and Library of Congress colleagues, for all the extraordinary work that has been nothing short of amazing. Although, praise isn’t why federal employees go to work every day, the PSRW is a great reminder to all of us to become more aware, and acknowledge and recognize the outstanding accomplishments of all civil servants that do not draw headlines but affect our lives in many important ways. So, thank you all again for your hard work and your service to our country. Happy Public Service Recognition Week!
Robert Brammer, Chief of the Office of External Relations:
I would like to recognize the work of county law libraries, which are often the only free source for legal research materials in their communities for both the public and the practicing bar. While you can often find unannotated codes and cases online, materials that are subject to copyright protection, such as annotated codes and cases, as well as commercial legal research databases, are often prohibitively expensive for solo practitioners and members of the public. County law libraries fill this gap by providing access to these invaluable resources.
Betty Lupinacci, Supervisor for Collections Services:
When I hear the term public services, I immediately think of first responders. I come from a family of volunteer fire, ambulance, and EMS personnel and I’ve seen first-hand how much they put into it and the dangerous situations that they face. It always amazes me how willing they are to put their lives on the line in service of others.
Kelly Buchanan, Chief of Foreign, Comparative, and International Law Division II:
During the pandemic, one of the main places I have missed going to is the local library. I have a young child and the library is not just a place to go to get books, but also for story time, quiet play, and socializing with other kids and their parents (among all the other services available to people of all ages!). I’ve noticed and greatly appreciated the work of librarians to keep providing books and other services to their communities over the past year, and look forward to spending more time at our local library soon.
Margaret Wood, Senior Legal Reference Librarian:
I am enormously grateful for state park employees across the country. The federal national forests and parks are well-known, but each state has its own state parks and monuments which are supported by state agencies and volunteers who help to create and maintain important local historical and archaeological sites. One of my favorite parks is in my home state of New Mexico. The Cerrillos Hills State Park was established by a combination of volunteers and state park personnel, and supported by a National Park Service grant, and demonstrates the public service orientation of a diverse group of people.
Luis Acosta, Director of the Editorial and Publishing Office:
One example I know of public service in action is happening now at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). The American Rescue Plan Act passed by Congress in March includes pages of highly technical amendments to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. It requires the PBGC to get a new program up and running within 120 days. Folks at the PBGC are working around the clock to write regulations within this short timeframe, ironing out the many complicated details.
Jennifer Davis, Collection Manager:
I’m so very grateful to my local public library, who got me and my family through the pandemic by providing curbside service and ramping up their e-book and e-audiobook availability; and to the public health departments of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and D.C. for making vaccines available to citizens, which protected my family among others.