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Campus Notebook: Library of Congress Looking Out for Nursing Moms

New mothers at the Library of Congress could soon have better accommodations to nurse their new babies or pump breast milk.

A notice sent out last week by the LOC Professional Guild informed members that management has begun working with unions to finalize plans for a lactation center in the Madison and Adams buildings.

Nursing mothers at the Library currently have to make special arrangements to pump and store milk in empty rooms. The hassle has caused many women to stop nursing altogether, according to the email notice.

To respond to these challenges, an advisory committee of union and management representatives has been tasked with making recommendations on “policies and practices for lactation centers such as furniture and furnishings, equipment, supplies, security and related matters.”

The advisory group will also study existing programs across the federal government to gauge certain standards and practices.

A room in the Madison Building has already been slated for conversion into a lactation center this winter. Accessible by key to employees who have registered, the center will provide four private compartments for nursing and pumping.

The specific location of a lactation room in the Adams Building has not yet been finalized.

First Amendment Lawsuit Against LOC Continues

A former Library of Congress staffer is still seeking damages from the agency he believes wrongly terminated his employment almost two years ago in a breach of his First Amendment rights.

Attorneys for both parties presented oral arguments in front of the D.C. Court of Appeals late last week. Judges will decide whether the fired employee, Morris Davis, should be allowed to continue his lawsuit.

Davis, who served as chief prosecutor at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, until October 2007, went on to work at the Congressional Research Service until he was fired in late 2009.

His supervisors were troubled by op-eds he had published in two newspapers expressing opinions on the decision to try Guantánamo detainees in military commissions and federal courts. They said the articles suggested Morris could not be objective, as is required by the CRS, and that he violated a policy not to speak publicly on behalf of the LOC.

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the agency on Davis’ behalf, arguing that the decision to fire him violated his freedom of speech.

A decision is likely in the coming months.

Tracking the ‘People’s Tree’

The Capitol Christmas Tree hails from California this year, and it has quite a journey across the United States before it reaches the West Front lawn at the end of the month.

In the meantime, fans can track its 4,500-mile journey on their computers and smartphones.

The Diesel Technology Forum, one of the national sponsors of the “U.S. Christmas Tree Tour,” will provide daily Twitter and Facebook updates on the tree’s whereabouts.

The 65-foot white fir will make appearances at the Santa Claus Christmas Store in Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., the Cherokee Indian Fairgrounds in North Carolina and the Hershey Entertainment Complex in Pennsylvania, among other places.

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