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Our Hours Thanks to 2 U.S.C. 138

Did you know that we are open to Congress anytime either Chamber is in session?  If they are in session on Thanksgiving, we have a law librarian here open for business.  If they are gathering during a blizzard, we have someone walk through the snow to be here.

What provision requires us to be open?  It’s 2 U.S.C. 138:

Sec. 138. Law library; hours kept open

    The law library shall be kept open every day so long as either House
of Congress is in session.

(July 11, 1888, ch. 615, Sec. 1, 25 Stat. 262.)


Check that date again.  1888.  We’ve been doing this for over a century.  We’re open to the public 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Saturday.  And we stay open additional hours until 9:30 PM each evening Monday through Friday for Congress regardless of whether or not they are in session.

If you ever wonder if we are open in the evening for Congress, check to see if the light is on in the Capitol Dome.


  1. Hanibal
    August 6, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Nice post.

  2. Judy
    January 26, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Very interesting!

  3. Jano
    December 30, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Thanks very much – librarians are true unsung heroes.

  4. Josh R.
    August 6, 2015 at 10:24 am

    Very cool!

  5. Kuek Ong
    May 27, 2019 at 5:22 am

    very cool

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