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Vertical half-portrait of Michael Stratmoen. He is wearing a blue/black checked shirt, glasses and has short black hair. He is standing in one of the ornate halls of the Library.
Michael Stratmoen. Photo: Shawn Miller.

Q & A: Michael Stratmoen

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Michael Stratmoen is a program specialist for the John W. Kluge Center.

Tell us about your background.

I am a Washington, D.C., area local. I was born in Columbia Hospital for Women (since converted into a condo complex), near Dupont and Washington circles in D.C. My parents met when they worked for the Department of Agriculture in the 1970s, and they raised me in Herndon, Virginia. My mother still lives in the house I grew up in.

I went to Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, Virginia. From there, I went to James Madison University, then George Mason University for graduate school. I have bachelor’s and master’s degrees in public, or applied, history — history degrees with an emphasis on fields such as museum studies, archival studies, archaeology and historic preservation.

While studying, I worked at university libraries to support myself. I had jobs in special collections at James Madison University’s Carrier Library and as a graduate assistant in George Mason University’s library system. Then, I worked in the Access Services Division at Georgetown University’s Lauinger Library.

Initially, I hoped to use my degree in a museum setting. But I found myself building a pretty strong library resume with my employment record.

What brought you to the Library, and what do you do?

My first job at the Library was in the Copyright Office. I began in 2010, shortly after my 25th birthday, and worked for seven years as a materials expediter with a couple stints in the office’s registration and recordation programs.

In 2018, I joined the Kluge Center’s staff. My work in libraries and my degrees in public history have really come together in my current position as a program specialist.

I help run the Kluge Center’s fellowship and internship programs and events for members of Congress, congressional staff and the public. Each year, the center brings about 100 scholars from around the world to research in the Library’s collections and offers many excellent associated events.

I feel as if the work I do helps scholars perform cutting-edge humanities research and helps the Library call attention to their work. It is very fulfilling. No two days are alike, and I am constantly learning and getting to know an array of interesting scholars.

I’ve also been able to develop relationships with staff members from all over the Library. That has given me a much bigger understanding of the scope of activity that happens here at the world’s largest Library.

What are some of your standout projects?

When the Kluge Center needed a new application portal for our in-house fellowship programs, I was put in charge of the process. It took some time, but we now have a great system that we are using for the third year.

I also took a leading role in working with scholars who were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. That involved rescheduling scholars who could not come during the pandemic or who had to leave and return because of it — not to mention scheduling scholars who received placements for 2022. Most of the affected scholars have now been accommodated, and I am thrilled to have made it work for them.

I’ve also been heavily involved in several event series for members of Congress and senior staff. It feels like a great accomplishment to see members and congressional staff enjoy themselves; we try our best to nurture bipartisanship and collegiality, and I believe we are doing good work in this regard.

What do you enjoy doing outside work?

I love to travel with my husband. Last year, we went to Montreal, Rome, Split (in Croatia) and Istanbul. This year, we plan to go to Portugal and Costa Rica.

We also spend a great deal of time with our friends in Bethesda, Maryland, where we live. We frequently allow our 3-year-old nephew to ransack our apartment.

What is something your co-workers may not know about you?

I am big into cycling. Friends and I have been training to do the entirety of the C&O canal towpath from Cumberland, Maryland, to Georgetown. This October, we may finally make it happen!

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