Today’s interview is with Olivia Kane-Cruz, a Librarian-In-Residence in the Public Services Division in the Law Library of Congress.
Describe your background:
I was born and raised in Long Beach, a city in Los Angeles County, California. However, my family’s roots are in Mexico. I would have to write a novel to detail my family history, but it is very similar to the lives of many others. My grandparents on both sides of my family immigrated to the United States from Mexico. My parents worked hard to give my two older sisters and me many opportunities, like an education. As a result of their hard work and determination, I have been able to pursue my passion for learning all the way to the Law Library of Congress.
What is your academic/professional history?
I earned my undergraduate degree in political science from Humboldt State University (now Cal Poly Humboldt). Then, I earned my J.D. and a master’s of environmental law and policy from Vermont Law School. The highlight of my law school career was becoming a Dean’s Fellow, where I co-taught a class of first-year students on the fundamentals of legal research and writing. This experience was the catalyst for my interest in pursuing a career as a law librarian. A few years later, I went back to school and earned my master’s in library and information science from the University of Washington. I have been at the Library of Congress since September 2022.
How do you describe your job to other people?
At the heart of my job, I am a reference librarian; I help provide access to legal resources. But I also get to do many different projects as part of my job. For example, I am currently working on the inventory for the bills and resolutions for the 117th Congress, I co-presented a webinar on Recent Developments in U.S. Foreign Relations Law and Research Strategies, and I had the opportunity to lead a group of six interns to create a navigation aid for the Statutes at Large digital collection.
Why did you want to work at the Library of Congress?
I applied for this job while I was in library school, through the Librarians-in-Residence program. The application emphasized the importance of mentorship, which was an important component I was looking for in my first law library job. From the moment I arrived at the Library, I have had wonderful mentors. Many of my colleagues have years of experience in this profession and I feel very lucky to be able to learn from them.
What is the most interesting fact that you’ve learned about the Law Library?
We only have about 1% of the law collection in the Law Library Reading Room and the rest of the collection is in the closed stacks or in the off-site storage. The most interesting fact to me, is the Law Library’s closed stacks is located underneath our feet in the Madison Building and is approximately two football fields of compact shelving.
What’s something that most of your co-workers don’t know about you?
I learned how to play the acoustic guitar, thanks to my sisters, when I was thirteen. I still play and sing to this day.
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