If you’ve never visited the Law Library of Congress or our Reading Room, you might not know some of the more interesting things about us. We only have about 1% of our law collection in the Reading Room itself. Patrons can browse these books and select items of interest from the shelves. Patrons can also ask for assistant from our experienced and knowledgeable staff. In addition, we offer access to select legal databases on our computers. The rest of the collection is in the closed stacks or in off-site storage. The Law Library’s closed stacks (beneath the Madison Building), as seen on the left, consist of almost two football fields of compact shelving.
Visitors are not allowed to just wander around in the closed stacks. Staff are even required to have a stacks pass. To request a book, patrons fill out a request slip with, at minimum, the call number, author, title, and their reader registration number of the item they wish to see. Materials from the stacks are delivered to the reading room in about 45 minutes. If the materials are stored off-site at Ft. Meade, the request will take less than a day to deliver.
P.S. We also have free wifi in the Reading Room!