Today’s interview is with Kristin Glover, a law librarianship graduate student at the University of Washington iSchool, who is completing a directed fieldwork with the Digital Resources Division of the Law Library of Congress.
Describe your background.
Some of my most vivid memories growing up in Georgia and northern Florida are exploring the woods and reading all the Agatha Christie, Nancy Drew, and Hardy Boys books I could get my hands on. We spent holidays and summers with my mother’s parents. My grandfather and grandmother grew up on farms and worked their way through college to become high school teachers. Their dedication to learning and teaching made a big impression on me.
What is your academic/professional history?
My favorite classes in college were about people’s daily lives and struggles in different time periods and parts of the world. I believed local government could make people’s lives better, so my first job after graduation was in the City of New York’s affordable housing agency. Interested in how other sectors were addressing housing crises, I then spent a few years researching and writing grants for a non-profit homelessness services organization. I went to law school not intending to practice law but because I wanted to build analytical skills and legal understanding to someday run a non-profit. Still drawn to the potential of local government to improve people’s lives, and wanting to try out practicing law, after law school I returned to New York City government for a few years as an attorney in its civil law department. I decided to make my next career choice based on the aspects of my job I most enjoyed – research and writing. I also wanted the opportunity to work with students. I left the practice of law for a position as a librarian at the University of Virginia School of Law’s Library. After 13 years teaching legal research and working on faculty research projects, I moved to Seattle to attend University of Washington’s Master of Library and Information Science program. The program has formalized my years of librarian work experience and helped me to learn new technology skills.
How would you describe your job to other people?
I am helping write metadata – information about documents such as who authored them and the subjects they cover – for parts of the American State Papers. The metadata will make it easier for researchers to discover documents when the American State Papers move from the Century of Lawmaking website to the Library of Congress’s digital collections main site. The American State Papers show Congress, the president, and their constituents hashing through issues from the country’s first Congress to 1838. So far I have spent time on the papers about finance. I am fascinated by the messages state legislatures and citizen groups sent to Congress advocating for and against tariffs on goods. As I tag documents with searchable titles, contributor names, and keywords, I think about the range of information users will uncover, from legal historians studying trade policy to individuals finding a relative’s name on a letter to Congress.
Why did you want to work at the Library of Congress?
I am eager to be part of making government and legal information findable and understandable to all researchers. Metadata is the bridge between people and the trove of documents the Library of Congress stewards. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to help build that bridge.
What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the Law Library of Congress?
This internship experience is showing me the extent of legal and historical information the Library has put at our fingertips. It is remarkable to have a landing spot to find documents like the first issues of the Code of Federal Regulations and constitutions of Native American nations. I will use the tools I am learning about in my future work as a law school research librarian. I look forward to guiding students and faculty to resources like the Law Library’s major case topic categorizations for Supreme Court decisions in the United States Reports.
What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?
I moved to Seattle from a landlocked part of Virginia and am lapping up opportunities to be on the water. I have started rowing lessons and will begin learning to sail later this summer.
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