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Five Questions: Xavier Zientarski, Intern

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Photo by Sharon McKinley

The following interview was conducted by frequent In the Muse contributor, Senior Music Cataloger Sharon McKinley.

How did you come to be an intern in the Music Division?

I heard about this program through my honors courses. As a member of Renaissance Scholars Honors program at Montgomery College, I was frequently told to apply to the Paul Peck Humanities Institute internship. I was not very interested at first, but then I was told that I as an intern I could work at the Library of Congress in the Music Division. This caught my attention and I decided to apply.

What has surprised you about the Library’s collections?

It really amazes me that the Library of Congress has a huge classical guitar collection. I have noticed that in the classical world, guitar has always been looked down upon as a folk instrument. This does not happen in the Library of Congress. I have seen folk, classical, and pop music books. There is a true appreciation for art here.

What is one of your favorite items that you’ve worked with so far in the Music Division?

I am currently working on scores classed at M1.A15. There are around 290 bound volumes of early 19th-century music to catalog. I am working on volume 10 right now. So far, I have enjoyed cataloging scores with a lot of description. I find very interesting how title pages have bizarre information such as where the piece was performed, who performed or danced the piece, and who hosted the event. Now, all this information makes a lot of sense to me since it was a way to advertise and sell music.

What kind of music do you listen to at work, and what kind of music do you play?

I mostly listen to classical music and world music. Among my favorite classical composers are Tárrega, Albéniz, Bach, Villa-Lobos, Brouwer, Chopin, Liszt, and Reich. I love all kinds of world music, from Portuguese fado to Inuit throat singing. I play classical and world music. I play the didgeridoo, charango, guitar, and congas; that mostly covers my world music craving. Other than that, I mostly enjoy playing classical guitar.

What special skill do you have that no one here knows about–yet?

I have a passion for indigenous art and macramé necklaces. I have been making macramé necklaces and bracelets for two years. I mostly work on these during summer when I have more leisure time since making a necklace requires a lot of time and patience.





  1. Ms. McKinley asked some great questions and Mr. Zientarski’s answers were wonderful to read since they told us not only about him, but the LOC’c collections and the work the interns do as well. Thank you to you both and I really enjoy reading these pieces you post! Keep up all your wonderful work in and out of the LOC!

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