I’ve enjoyed our interview series. I’ve learned a surprising amount of new information about a lot of my co-workers. I’ve also learned a lot about the Law Library of Congress from the responses to the question:
What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the Law Library of Congress?
Here are a highlight of the responses that really stood out. You can read their full interview by clicking on their names.
There are many interesting things I’ve learned about the Library. The amount of material being preserved here is an amazing thing itself – in the case of some countries we have more materials than these countries themselves. All of it is available to the public, and I’m always impressed at how many people come here to use this material in the collection.
Bob discussed our history:
I am fascinated with the evolution of the Law Library of Congress. In the mid 1820’s there was no law library in Washington according to a note in a journal by the U.S. attorney for Pennsylvania. That note followed by interest from others in creating a law library in Washington resulted in the 1832 law establishing the Law Library as a part of the Library of Congress. The Law Library has evolved from a two-person operation in the 1830’s into a global legal information center.
Matt pointed to our non-English material:
I find it quite interesting that more than half of the Law Library’s print collection is in languages other than English. This fact points to the importance of the Law Library as a global legal research center that holds a collection reflective of the diverse nation that it serves.
David discussed the span of our collection:
One of the most interesting facts I have learned is the span of the Law Library’s collection, from ancient Roman materials to the most current publications, domestic and foreign.
Henry was impressed with our staff:
I am continually amazed at the outstanding intellectual quality of the staff at the Law Library. In addition to the brilliance of the staff here, the quantity of high quality work produced by such a small staff is impressive.
And Liah‘s research on a former employee was fascinating:
I think the most interesting fact I’ve learned about the Law Library has to do with a notable African-American man by the name of John F.N. Wilkinson, who worked at the Law Library from 1857 until 1912. He began working at the Law Library as a custodian (that is, handling the dusting of books and caring for the library’s reading room), but over the course of his career he learned the collection so well and developed such a precise knowledge of patrons that he made a very favorable impression on Members of Congress, the bar, and the Justices of the Supreme Court – so much so “that he was at one time even urged for the Law Librarianship itself.”
There is an RSS feed for alerts specifically when we post a new interview. The interviews have helped expose our history, staff, and the depth and breadth of our collection. What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned about the Law Library through our interview series?