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Hill Talk: LOC Names Deputy Law Librarian

David Mao has been chosen as the first deputy law librarian of Congress. When he starts in late June, Mao will take responsibility for the largest collection of foreign laws in the world, law librarian Roberta Shaffer said.

Shaffer thinks Mao is up to the task, citing his experience and degrees in library science and the law.

“We got a phenomenal pool of applicants,” she said. “David has a great deal of experience. He worked at Covington & Burling, which has a huge international portfolio, so he has a great deal of experience with international foreign law research.”

Mao, who works in the American Law Division of the Congressional Research Service, has been working at the library for more than five years.

A Chinese speaker, Mao helped found the Chinese and American Forum on Legal Information and Law Libraries. He serves as treasurer of the American Association of Law Libraries and is a member of the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey bars.

Though his first responsibility will be representing the law library at summer conferences, Mao will also likely answer some consequential questions for influential members of the American government.

“We are basically the experts on foreign law questions that the U.S. Congress, the executive branch and the judicial branch have,” Shaffer said.

Established by Congress in 1832, the law library holds 2.65 million volumes, including laws that are no longer in effect but might shed light on current laws. It has more than 100 employees; Mao won’t be an additional employee but is taking on expanded duties of a role that already existed.

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