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Pic of the Week: At Your Service

Book Service Desk, Science and Business Reading Room, John Adams Building, 2010

As you walk through the main center door of the Science and Business Reading Room, you see the Book Service Desk straight ahead. Because the Library’s books stacks are closed to the public, this is where researchers turn in paper call slips to retrieve items from the General Collections and pick up delivered items.  Thousands of call slip requests are received daily at Book Service Desks throughout the Library.  As of May 2009, researchers were offered an alternative to paper call slips with a new Automated Call Slip (ACS)  feature. Eventually, the use of ACS will eliminate the need for paper call slips.

Illuminating our Holidays

In the spirit of the holiday season, we are highlighting another Everyday Mystery relevant to this time of the year: Who invented electric Christmas lights? The short answer is Thomas Alva Edison and Edward H. Johnson. After all, Edison created the first practical light bulb and successfully strung together the first strand of electric lights […]

Pic of the Week

We decided to follow the lead of our Law Library colleagues at In Custodia Legis with a Picture of the Week series.   In this series we will show you interesting things we  see in and around the Library of Congress John Adams Building. With that said, our first photo features one of the John Adams Building owls that  greets vistors […]

A Sweet Potato History

The inspiration for this post comes from a reader’s comment about wanting more information about the origin of “candied” yams. Here is what I learned… Whether you boil and drizzle with molasses or mash and top with marshmallows, sweet potatoes* have become a staple at Thanksgiving tables. Did you know that sweet potatoes were cultivated […]

Planes, Trains but not Automobiles

In the 1987 movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Steve Martin’s character is desperately trying to get home for Thanksgiving. While working at the Library of Congress, I have answered many questions which might have interested Steve Martin’s character, from how people traveled, to how much a trip cost, to how long a certain trip was […]

World War II ‘Scientific Manpower’

K-rations, better night vision binoculars, and synthetic rubber are just a few examples of innovations resulted from scientific research during World War II.  The story of science during World War II is one of partnerships and prolific research. On June 28, 1941, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8807which established the Office of Scientific Research and […]

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Many inventions come from a desire to solve a problem.  In the business world, those problems often concern improving the way a business runs.  A previous post centered on finding a way to make multiple copies of documents cheaper and faster. Today’s post celebrates the anniversary of patent number 221,360, issued on November 4, 1879, […]