Acting Librarian of Congress David Mao has named Roberta I. Shaffer Law Librarian of Congress, effective Feb. 21, 2016. Shaffer had been serving in the position in an acting capacity since Oct. 5, 2015, and had served previously as the Law Librarian of Congress from August 2009 through November 2011.
“I am pleased to be able to bring back a Law Librarian whose experience and expertise are well-known,” Mao said. “It is important that the world’s largest law library, with responsibilities to the U.S. Congress, have strong and knowledgeable leadership.”
Shaffer first came to the Library in 1984, serving for three years as the first special assistant to the Law Librarian of Congress, which sparked a lifelong passion for the institution. She held positions at numerous academic institutions and for nine years was the director of research at the global law firm Covington and Burling before returning to the Library in 2005 to serve in a succession of senior leadership posts, including as executive director of the Federal Library and Information Center Committee and the Federal Library and Information Network (FEDLINK), as Law Librarian from 2009-2011 and as associate librarian for Library Services from 2011 until her retirement from the Library in August 2014.
During her tenure as Law Librarian, she positioned the Law Library to assume greater prominence within the global legal community and increased its participation in Library of Congress strategic initiatives.
Shaffer has had a distinguished career as a practicing librarian in various settings and as a library-science educator. She held positions at the George Washington University Law School, the Catholic University of America, the University of Texas and the University of Maryland.
She is a former Fulbright Senior Scholar. She has been an active member of the American Bar Association, the American Association of Law Libraries, ARMA International (Records Management) and the World Future Society. She was president of the International Council of Scientific and Technical Information, served as the Library’s official representative to the council, and chaired its Information Policy Committee. Shaffer held advisory positions with the DigIn Program at the University of Arizona and the library science program at San Jose State University. She serves in an advisory capacity for the Information School at the University of Texas (Austin), where she previously served as dean.
Shaffer earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Vassar College, a Juris Doctorate from Tulane University School of Law, and a master’s degree in law librarianship from Emory University. She did graduate work at American University in arts management, and has a certificate in negotiation and mediation from the Harvard Law School.