Today’s interview is with Samantha Tejada, a Library Technician in the Digital Resources Division of the Law Library of Congress.
Describe your background.
I was born and raised in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and moved to the Washington, D.C. area after completing my undergraduate studies. Pittsfield is located in the westernmost part of Massachusetts, and the surrounding Berkshire County has a rich cultural history and spectacular autumn foliage. I am from a multicultural family of Jewish and Puerto Rican heritage, and value listening to and learning from different perspectives, experiences, and traditions.
What is your academic/professional history?
I received my bachelor’s degree in English and American literature and language from Harvard University, with a minor in government. I then worked as a paralegal in a large corporate law firm for a number of years before deciding to leap into another field—librarianship. I earned a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Maryland in December 2021. As part of my career transition, I interned at the Federal Communications Commission Library and at the City of Alexandria Archives & Records Center, and volunteered with the Alexandria Public Libraries’ Talking Books Program. While I wish I had found my way to a profession in libraries and archives earlier, I’m very grateful to be in this field now.
How would you describe your job to other people?
Generally, I work with information about information. Along with my Digital Resources Division team members, I support the digitization of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set. As part of this project, I evaluate physical volumes of the Serial Set, create and analyze metadata in our database, and assess the newly created digitized versions of the volumes. The Serial Set contains reports, letters, maps, illustrations, and other documents on a fascinating array of topics. I collaborate with my team to improve the accessibility of these materials. I also am beginning to work with the U.S. Supreme Courts Records and Briefs collection and am eager to contribute to this developing project.
Why did you want to work at the Law Library of Congress?
I was seeking ways to serve a communal good by helping to satisfy the diverse information needs of members of the public, and joining the Library of Congress provided me with a wonderful path forward. I am excited by the opportunity to contribute to the expansion of access to information and resources. I also wished to deepen my knowledge of library practices, grow as an information professional, and learn by osmosis from the incredibly talented staff. I’ve really enjoyed my work thus far and am so glad to be here.
What is the most interesting fact you have learned about the Law Library of Congress?
My prior experiences largely relate to U.S. legal materials, so I’m enjoying learning about the Law Library’s foreign and international law collections, resources, and services. The vastness of these collections is astounding!
As part of my introduction to the Library’s collection of foreign legal gazettes, I learned that staff members from overseas offices sometimes will travel to marketplaces and bazaars to acquire copies of newly published issues or to fill in gaps in the collection.
What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?
I am an avid knitter. I love exploring knitting from different angles, including learning about knitting and other fiber arts traditions from around the world, trying out new-to-me techniques, browsing patterns and considering how they are constructed or what inspired them, and researching the various properties of different fibers. I plan to learn how to prepare fiber and spin my own yarn, and am interested in experimenting with weaving.
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