August 20, 2009 Roberta I. Shaffer Appointed Law Librarian of Congress
Press Contact: Audrey Fisher (202) 707-0022
Public Contact: Leon Scioscia (202) 707-1496
Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has appointed Roberta I. Shaffer to the position of Law Librarian of Congress.
In announcing his selection, Billington said, “Roberta Shaffer brings to this critical management position both extraordinary vision and demonstrated leadership skills that will continue the Law Library’s historically exemplary service to Congress and to the public while addressing the challenges of providing legal research and reference services in our rapidly changing and technologically driven world.”
Shaffer graduated cum laude from Vassar College with an A.B. degree in political science/demography, with highest honors from Emory University with a master’s degree in law librarianship and cum laude with a J.D. from Tulane University School of Law. She is admitted to the Texas, District of Columbia and U.S. Supreme Court bars.
Shaffer brings to the position a rich and diverse background in academia, management, law librarianship and technology. In 1980, she was appointed director of the University of Houston Law Center’s Legal Communications Program and associate director of the center’s Law and Technology Program. In 1984, she became the first person appointed to the position of special assistant to the Law Librarian in the Library of Congress.
In 1987, Shaffer was named a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar at the Tel Aviv University Faculty of Law in Israel. The Fulbright grant allowed her to participate in a legal database development program sponsored by the Portuguese Institute for Science and Technology and Ministry of Justice. Upon her return to the U.S., she served for a year as director of the law library at the George Washington University National Law Center Library during the director’s sabbatical.
From 1990 until 1999, she served concurrently as adjunct coordinator of the law librarianship specialization at the School of Library and Information Science at the Catholic University of America and as director of research services at the law firm of Covington and Burling in Washington, D.C. In 1999, she was appointed and served for two years as dean and professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Texas at Austin. After working briefly with the Special Libraries Association and as a consultant, in 2002 she accepted the position of director of external relations and program development and professor at the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland in College Park, where she implemented the Master of Information Management (MIM) degree.
Shaffer returned to the Library of Congress in 2005 as executive director of the Federal Library and Information Center Committee/Federal Library Network (FLICC/FEDLINK). In this position, she has overseen procurement, provided advocacy and advice on technology and managed education and training for a federal program servicing more than 1,500 federal information professionals and 130 vendors.
Shaffer has been a long-standing member of the American Bar Association, the American Association of Law Libraries and the World Future Society. A past officer of the International Association of Law Libraries, she is currently serving as the chairperson of the Information Policy Committee of the International Council for Scientific and Technical Information.
Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a new, personalized website at myLOC.gov.
Founded in 1832, the mission of the Law Library is to make its resources available to members of Congress, the Supreme Court, other branches of the U.S. government and the global legal community, and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of law for future generations. With more than 2.6 million volumes, the Law Library contains the world’s largest collection of law books and other resources from all countries and provides online databases and guides to legal information worldwide through its website at www.loc.gov/law/.