Next week, families across the United States will be sitting down for Thanksgiving dinner. For many, that requires traveling and reconnecting after a long year, or merely the time between holidays. Here at the Library of Congress there are several families that don’t have to travel far – not only have they stayed close, they’ve made working at the Library the family business.
One such employee, Regina Young, a senior binding technician in the Processing and Preparation Section, will be celebrating 23 years at the Library on Tuesday, November 22nd. Her father, Reginald Young, worked at the Law Library for 40 years before retiring in 2015. I spoke with her about her experiences and the family dynamic.
What brought you to work at the Processing and Preparation section?
I started working in the Thomas Jefferson Building stacks as a library technician in 1999, and worked there for about six years in the central tubing station and all of the main reading rooms (Local History & Genealogy, Science Reading Room, and the Main Reading Room). After that, I went to the Serials and Government Publications Division as a library technician. I accepted and was hired into this section, formally known as LBS (Library Binding Section) in 2005.
To be honest, I came here with one goal in mind, which was to finally have a desk position! Number two, my strong interest in the preparation and processing of various styles of materials. Working in the Jefferson Building previously as a library technician, I had the opportunity to see the various collections after being bound. Working in this section, I am able to see and do the work firsthand, prior to sending processed materials out to our commercial bindery. You can only imagine how “SUPER EXCITED” I was to see my first completed truck come back from the bindery, bound in that pretty ruby red buckram. I felt that I had come full circle to see the beauty of how things were done behind the scene, before arriving to the shelves and into the hands of many.
Where did your father work and for how long?
My father, Reginald Young, worked as a lead technician on the Legal Processing Workflow Resolution team in the Collections Services Division in the Law Library. He was a federal employee for the Library for 40 years.
Did your father influence your decision to work here?
Yes, I would say that my father was a huge influence on my decision to work for the Library of Congress. Being his namesake and only daughter, I thought that it would be pretty cool to follow in his footsteps.
What benefits did you find having a family member at the same workplace?
The benefits to having my father work here prior to my arrival were big. Everyone knew my name and who I was before my employment at the Library. I guess you could say he was having a “Proud Dad” moment and I gained some new friends in the process.
Did you have to interact regularly with your family member?
No, I did not have to regularly interact with my father unless there was a question pertaining to his work that was sent to our section.
Did you have to review each other’s work?
He never had to review my work. I had the opportunity to review my father’s work doing what’s called Quality Assurance. This is the review process of bound pieces that are returned from our commercial bindery. During this process I checked for library and or bindery errors prior to being routed back to the Law Library.
What negatives did you find having a family member at the same workplace?
The only negative notion is when you are “grandfathered in,” some think that comes along with special privileges. This negative notion is totally untrue. I, and so many others, had to earn and pave our own way in paths chosen.
How has it been since your father retired?
It’s been seven years since my father has retired. He is in good health, good spirits and truly living his best life during his retirement.
This is only one of many similar stories at the Library of Congress, where our people can be just as important as the books and other items that we store and protect. For more about the work Regina does at the Library, check out our posts from the Processing and Preparation Section on binding preparation, sorting items, telework, and testing for acid paper. Previous to working in PPS, Regina worked in the stacks, which were explored in past blog posts.
Thank you for this heartwarming article. Regina, your Library Family story and the influence your father had on your career path spotlights a wonderful human dimension of worklife at the Library. I especially enjoyed the nostalgic photos of you and your dad, and the holiday party committee.
Thanks for sharing your family story. I am a legacy too; a picture of my mother’s first day on the job has pride of place in my office. There are many of us – proving that this really is a wonderful place to work!