The following is a guest post by Margaret Wood, Legal Reference Specialist in our Public Services Division. Margaret has previously posted on the debt ceiling, Law Day, our Reading Room, and the changeover between Congresses.
This week we decided to treat you to photographs of the Law Library Reading Room’s pneumatic tubes and the pneumatic tube system. The Law Library uses these tubes to route patron book requests to the Law Library’s closed stacks, six floors below the reading room.
The Library of Congress has employed pneumatic tubes for book requests since late in the 19th century when they were installed in the Jefferson Building. At the time, this was considered state of the art engineering and part of the “brave new world.” More recently, the Law Library along with several other divisions has been using the Automated Call Slip system to order materials but the pneumatic tubes are still employed to request certain types of items including Congressional bills and U.S. Supreme Court Records & Briefs.
The tubes are to the left of the ready reference section if you are facing our reference desk. You can catch a glimpse of the reference desk at the end of this video.
The stacks are four floors below the Law Library Reading Room. It only seems like six if you’re walking up. Walk up the four floors often enough and you’ll be a candidate to head the Collection Services Office.