Hometown: Chelsea, Maine
Role: Acting Principal Law Librarian, Law and Legislative Reference Library, Maine Legislature
Years of legislative service: 7 years
One thing she loves about her state: “I love that Maine feels like a big small town: For many folks, there’s only one or two degrees of separation. At the State House, our legislators feel like neighbors and colleagues rather than government officials. And, of course, we only have one area code!”
Why did you choose to work at the Legislature?
Before working at the Maine Legislature, I spent half of my career working at nonprofit organizations and the other half working for a large private company. I liked the challenges of working in the private sector, but it felt like something was missing: service. Working for the Legislature is the best of both worlds. Also, Maine is my adopted home and I’m proud to serve the democratic branch of government and the citizens of the state I love.
What skill or talent are you most proud of?
As a librarian and a history major, I’m a critical thinker. Being able to evaluate information and arguments is an important life skill. Unofficially, I’m most proud of being able to list all of the prepositions in the English language to the tune of “Yankee Doodle.”
What’s the best advice you were ever given?
About 10 years ago, I was unexpectedly put in charge of the library where I was working. I had to learn a lot really fast and my patrons would not be forgiving of my learning curve. Talking to my mother one day, I told her how stressed I was. Her response was, “Try to enjoy the excitement, otherwise you’d just have a boring job.” I often think about this conversation when life is changing rapidly or gets really busy. It helps me try to embrace transition and uncertainty.
Who or what inspires you?
There’s a famous scene in the movie “Good Will Hunting” in which the protagonist, Will, a working-class 20-year-old with a genius-level IQ, has a debate with a Harvard graduate student. Will equates the knowledge gained from an expensive college education with what someone could learn from the books at their public library. The power of the access to information for all people is what inspired me to become a librarian and it is what continues to inspire me, in particular, to be a legislative and public law librarian.
What are you currently reading/listening to/watching?
As a librarian, I’m embarrassed to say that I rarely have time for pleasure reading. Nevertheless, I’m chipping away at Erik Larsen’s “Thunderstruck.” When I’m doing chores around the house, I’m usually glued to a true crime or investigative podcast. Most recently, I finished “Project Unabom,” and my weekly favorite is “Anatomy of Murder.” On the lighter side, I’m rewatching the entire run of “Call the Midwife” on Netflix.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
For its “Staff Snapshots” series, State Legislatures News is asking legislative staff about their role in the legislature. If you’d like to suggest a staffer for this series, please email Holly South at NCSL.