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Charlotte joined the LII in 2012 as a part-time editor/publisher for the Supreme Court Bulletin and Previews. She also helped create the videos on our YouTube Channel. Since then, Charlotte’s roles have transformed into becoming one of our own virtual librarians for the site as well as coordinating our social media. Continue reading to find out more about who Charlotte is and what she does.

You’ve been working with us for 5 years now, how did you get started?

Once upon a time, I spent a semester as an intern in the Cornell Law Library. One of my projects was to make educational videos explaining some free law sites. One of those sites was the LII, and because the LII was in the same building, I was encouraged to reach out to Tom [Bruce] and Sara [Frug] to get some helpful information so that the video about the LII site would be that much more informative. I guess they liked me because the very same day that my internship ended, I got an email from Tom wanting to talk about a job. The email’s subject line was “An offer you can’t accept.” I never knew if that was a typo or an enticement, but 5 years later, I still have that email, and Tom still leaves me wondering, sometimes.

What is your primary job?

I am a librarian at Rutgers Law School, in the Camden location. Specifically, I am the Government Documents and Reference Librarian, managing the library’s Federal Depository Library collection. I do other stuff, too, but that list would probably be long.

Where did you go to school?

I got my BBA from UMass Amherst, my JD & MBA from UMass Dartmouth (School of Law and College of Business, respectively), and my MSLIS from Syracuse.

What’s your current role at the LII?

I am the librarian! I manage the Virtual Reference Desk and much of LII’s social media.

What is the Reference Desk?

The Reference Desk is what it sounds like, but virtual! It’s a forum that allows people to ask questions about legal information that can be answered by law librarians or knowledgeable members of the community.

What other roles have you held with us?

I started out helping with the Supreme Court Bulletin–editing the Previews and publishing them online, and helping out with the end of Term review. I have helped out with some data collection and updating of the Federal Rules and some state information pages. And I also made some of the videos you see on the LII’s YouTube channel.  

What’s your favorite question from the Reference Desk?

Actually, it depends. There are a few instances where other registered users will answer a reference question (before or instead of a librarian), and I think that’s just fantastic because that is exactly one of the reasons we went with the forum setup. There are other questions that turn into those teachable moments, and some others that are just really interesting exchanges. Some posts unearth hidden gems.

Most difficult question from Reference Desk?

I would say that questions might be more frustrating than difficult, if anything. In general, it’s difficult to do a proper reference interview in an asynchronous format, so some of the more frustrating questions are the ones where it is hard to decipher a question from what was posted or where there’s just some disconnect, or where the patron just keeps pushing back. Other times, there’s just only so much information you can give, and it just doesn’t feel like enough.

Favorite feature of the site?

I can pick one thing, but that will just get me to another thing, and then another, and before we know it, everything about it would be listed as my favorite. If I were to start somewhere, I might say the Table of Popular Names or the Parallel Table of Authorities.

What motivates you to stay involved with us?

Mostly, the mission; also, the people. A little bit because I am quite attached to my LII email address.  

Can you say in a few words about the importance of making the law available and accessible to everyone, without cost?

Nearly everything that we do is governed by some kind of law, whether federal, state, or even more local, or some combination of these. Since ignorance of the law is no excuse for disobeying the law, people must be able to know, find, and understand these laws by which they are bound. And in order for there to be equal justice for all, everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status, must be able to access this information.

Do you like to skateboard?

I do! Some people at the 2014 CALIcon in Boston may have caught a glimpse of the joy it brings me!

Interesting facts about you? First job, weirdest job, etc

First job… here’s the Jersey Girl in me: beach badge checker. All the kids were doing it, so I woke up extra early every morning and I got paid to sit on near-empty beaches. Life’s a beach.

Weirdest job… I guess weird is relative. I will probably always think it a little weird that I worked as a switchboard operator at the local hospital on my college vacations. It did take me a few months on the job to get comfortable paging doctors and calling codes but once I was okay being the voice heard throughout the hospital, it turned out to be a pretty cool job.

Interesting facts: I play in a pool league year-round, and I play on a softball team in the Fall and Spring seasons. I love to garden, cook, and bake. I grew up on horse farms and around horses.

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