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The Law Library of Congress at the National Book Festival

As we did with AALL, we decided to collect feedback from Law Library staff about their participation in this year’s National Book Festival (NBF).  As I noted in last week’s post, this is the Law Library’s second year for participating in the National Book Festival and here is what some of the Law Library participants had to say about the NBF.Jeanine:

I had a great time at the National Book Festival this past weekend.  It was a great opportunity to talk with visitors about the Law Library’s collections and services.  Elizabeth and I worked together in the morning on Saturday and handed out lots of gavel pencils and buttons as souvenirs.  We heard this phrase many times, “where are those famous gavel pencils?” 

Additionally, it was fun to showcase the Library’s new Congress.gov website.  Many visitors had heard about its recent release and were happy to see it displayed ‘live’ at our booth.


Invigorating-that’s the way I would describe working at the National Book Festival.  It was non-stop busy at the Law Library table as my colleague Jeanine demonstrated the beta version of Congress.gov and we talked with people about the Law Library and its resources.  We met so many people, with a wide range of interests, and I left exhausted but invigorated by the experience.


It was interesting and a nice opportunity to introduce/reintroduce the Law library, its staff and services to the public.  The atmosphere was great.  Although the Law Library was participating for the second time and the Library of Congress has played host since 2000, this was my first.  I was pleasantly surprised by the sheer volume of people that attended, their enthusiasm and appreciation for the Library of Congress.  It was also nice to see that most of them found the Law Library’s giveaways (our gavel headed pencils and buttons), and I am paraphrasing here, clever and cool.  They were a big draw and the cause for the high volume of traffic our booth experienced all Saturday afternoon.  I am sure the same was true for all other days of the event.  Many thanks to Kimberly, Robert, and the rest of the Law Library Outreach team for helping make the Law Library booth so cool!


The best part of the National Book Festival for me was seeing the increase in the number of attendees who visited the Law Library’s booth at this year’s Festival versus last year’s. A number of people even asked detailed questions about our collections and many were interested in seeing demonstrations on the new Congress.gov product. It certainly felt like many attendees had specifically looked for the Law Library’s presence at the Festival, and did not just stumble upon it.


The announcement of Congress.gov generated many questions from visitors to the Law Library of Congress booth.  With a PC at hand to demonstrate the many remarkable features of Congress.gov, staff also discussed the services and products available to the public from the Law Library – both in-person and virtually.   The Law Library’s presence at the National Book Festival is just one example of the many ways that the Law Library is extending its reach.


I introduced Congress.gov on Sunday to a very engaged audience.  After providing a demonstration of several highlights, including the homepage, Member Profiles, and the Legislative Process, I said that we would love their feedback

We are continuing with our user-centered approach to enhancing the system, similar to what we have previously done with THOMAS.  We also interviewed various types of users to aid in the development. One of the great things about Congress.gov is that it was able to address so much of the user feedback that was not possible to do with the older THOMAS.

Audience for Andrew’s Gallery Talk on Congress.gov

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