Friday, July 31, 2009

Law Library of Congress Tour

I was one of the 18-20 fortunate members to take the Law Library of Congress tour on Monday morning. I missed several valuable sessions being held at the same time, but decided it was a great opportunity. It turned out to be one of the highlights of the conference.

We left the conference center on the Metro about 8:30am in order to begin our 9:00am tour of the Law Library located in the Madison Building on schedule. This was a good introduction to the Metro rush hour traffic. We started our tour with an overview of the services provided by both the Congressional Research Service (CRS) and the Law Library of Congress itself.
  • CRS provides research services by librarians and attorneys for members of congress on requested issues
  • The Law Library provides Guide to Law Online (GLIN), Thomas, Directorate of Legal Research (primarily international), Ask a Librarian (online), to name only a few of their services

I was struck by the enthusiasm of the librarians we met, and came away with the feeling that this would be a great place to work.

Mark Strattner, Chief of the Collections Services Division, provided a tour of the Law Library. He is both enthusiastic and has a great sense of humor. We had a brief tour of the closed stacks and a small number of the 2.65 million volumes. His stories of cataloging backlog and limited resources made our problems pale by comparison.

As a bonus, Mark offered us a tour of the Jefferson Building. In addition to the Great Hall and a peek at the beautiful reading room, we saw the Jefferson Collection and the private Senate and House rooms. Thanks to Mark and all the library staff who made these tour possible.

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