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My Job: Rosemary Brawner in Copyright

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Senior information specialist Rosemary Brawner helps the public understand copyright. Photo: Stan Murgolo.

Describe your work at the Library.

I am a senior information specialist in the Public Information Office at the Copyright Office. I provide expert guidance and advice on copyright regulations, policies, practices and the law. I am also a card-carrying member of the Guild and serve as its treasurer.

To have a great workplace and good morale, there has to be a balance between the organization’s and the worker’s needs. I like that I play a role in keeping that balance.

How did you prepare for your position?

In the beginning — 30-plus years ago — I didn’t desire to be an information specialist or the treasurer. I was young and had a baby, and I needed a job. I think it was lucky for me to find a job here since I love books and was in awe of the world-renowned Library of Congress.

I started temporary in the Congressional Research Service and then got my first permanent job in the Copyright Office in B-14 (where the applications were housed). I was like a sponge — if I had a question, someone in the office would answer me.

As my career progressed through the Copyright Office and doing labor union work, I knew that I wanted to help people. I worked hard to gain the experience that I needed to apply for the job. I believe that I applied for the job at least three times before getting it.

Once I joined PIO, if I didn’t know the answer to a question, I was determined to find the answer. Each day, I start off saying, “They are calling because they don’t know, so I’m gonna give them the best and correct answer.” To this day, I remember that there was always someone to answer my questions, so I make sure that I’m available to answer someone else’s questions.

What have been your most memorable experiences at the Library?

You mean meeting James Earl Jones, Chuck Brown, George Clinton, Fantasia, or speaking with Chuck Berry and Tom Benson on the telephone? No, the best memories are my interaction with staff at the Christmas parties, retirement parties, impromptu lunch meetings and outdoor events.

I like being a mentor to the work-study students and them tutoring me on “new math” and the current lingo. I like chance meetings and sharing greetings or a joke with the Librarian of Congress, Dr. Charles in the health office and other staff.

Why is sharing copyright information important to you?

Overall, I want to help people understand copyright. I like knowing that I provided a little knowledge to a person each day. I think copyright is underrated — copyright is the Cinderella team at March Madness.

My role is similar to a coach. I help the experienced players explode into stardom, the average players hone their craft, the rookies nail down the basics and fans have the best experience possible. If the team loses, I lose. If the team wins, I win.

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