AALL Spectrum

AALL Spectrum | January/February 2016 | Volume 20, Number 3

AALL Spectrum / Published by American Association of Law Libraries

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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016 | AALL SPECTRUM 13 e importance of the role of the Library of Congress in society cannot be overstated, given that, in addition to its service to the members of Congress and its support of the legislative pro- cess, its goal is to be "a chief steward of America's and the world's record of knowledge." Indeed, the Library is the largest library in the world, with more than 160 million items that include books, recordings, photos, manu- scripts, and other items of historical significance. It is the charge of the Librarian of Congress to bring the Library's vision to life. As Acting Librarian of Congress, Mao oversees the entire Library— including the Congressional Research Service, Copyright Office, Law Library, Library Services, and National and International Outreach—to ensure that its mission is being fulfilled. Mao pre- viously served as the Deputy Librarian of Congress, in which role he oversaw the strategic reorganization of service units, the appointment of a chief oper- ating officer, and the hiring of a chief information officer to lay the founda- tion for the successful implementation of "an open, agile and flexible five- year plan" to "effectively position [the Library of Congress] for the future." Prior to his appointment to Deputy Librarian, he served as the 23rd Law Librarian of Congress overseeing the services, collections, and operations of the Law Library of Congress, which hosts the most comprehensive legal collection in the world. While there, he expanded its collections, improved storage, renovated the reading room, and improved access to legal materials in the public domain. He also over- saw the development of the Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor exhibition that celebrated the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta's first issue and showcased the Lincoln Cathedral Magna Carta—one of four existing manuscripts dating to 1215—and over 75 items from the Library of Congress. Mao recently shared his profes- sional journey and career insights with AALL Spectrum. What would you consider to be your primary early influences? My time as a student at Georgetown University Law Center was the primary experience that led me to this career path. During my first year, I was given a legal research and writing assignment and had no idea where to begin. I went to the library's reference desk and asked a librarian for help. He patiently listened to my questions, helped clarify my confusion with the sources, and then le the desk to guide me to the correct area of the stacks. He not only helped me find what I needed, but also demonstrated how to use the sources correctly and effectively. at devel- oped my early appreciation and respect for the profession. Tell us about your professional journey—from lawyer to Acting Librarian of Congress? Aer law school, I was in private prac- tice. A few years later, I took the oppor- tunity to work again in a law library [Mao worked at Georgetown's law library while earning his law degree], and at the same time, returned to school for a graduate degree in library science. I then worked for nearly eight years in various library positions at an interna- tional law firm. I joined the Library of Congress in 2005 as a section head in the Congressional Research Service, the part of the Library that provides non-partisan analysis and research for members of Congress. I was named Deputy Law Librarian in 2010, manag- ing the global legal research portfolio of the Law Library of Congress, and then Law Librarian in 2012. In January of 2015, I was appointed Deputy Librarian of Congress. I have had some wonderful experiences and opportunities at the Library of Congress. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS VISION AND MISSION VISION: The Library of Congress is a chief steward of America's and the world's record of knowledge, and is a springboard to the future, while providing indispens- able services to Congress. MISSION: The Library's central mission is to provide Congress, and then the federal government, and the American people with a rich, diverse, and enduring source of knowledge that can be relied upon to inform, inspire, and engage them, and support their intellectual and creative endeavors. Source: "Library of Congress Strategic Plan: FY 2016 Through FY 2020." Learn more at bit.ly/LOCplan. On October 1, 2015, David S. Mao was appointed Acting Librarian of Congress. Mao has been an active member of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) since 1996. He has participated in numerous AALL committees, special committees, and task forces and served as Executive Board treasurer from 2007- 2010. His tenure as a law librarian has included work at a law firm, teaching as an adjunct professor, and a remarkable career at the Library of Congress. Photos of David S. Mao © by Shawn Miller.

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