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Library Rules! – Pic of the Week

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Bob switched offices recently.  As most people do when they move, he started combing through the items he accumulated over the years and came across a small booklet printed by the Government Printing Office in 1939: The Library of Congress: Rules and Practice Governing the Use and Issue of Books.

Thinking of the blog, he had me take a look.  I flipped through it and read on the first page:

Prior to 1897 the privileges of the Library were defined, in the earlier years by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House in conference, and later by statute as interpreted by the Joint Committee of Congress on the Library.  By the Appropriations Act of 1897, the authority to “make rules and regulations for the government of the Library” was vested in the Librarian.

As you can see in the picture below, the booklet makes a specific mention of the Law Library and provides a glimpse into our past procedures and practices.  For that reason it has earned the right to be today’s Pic of the Week.

As someone who has only worked at the Law Library of Congress in the Madison Building, I can only dream about an office in the Jefferson Building or the Capitol Building.  It is fascinating to read about how the Law Library was located a floor below the old Supreme Court chamber in the Capitol.  I also enjoyed reading the last line of the page: “[i]ntensive legal research is, however, best conducted in the Law Library, northeast pavilion, second floor.” We just happen to still be on the northeast side of the Madison Building, second floor.  Stop by for some intensive legal research!

Comments (2)

  1. I’ve heard somewhere that members of the court would summon the (so called) Custodian of the Law who would deliver requested books and materials from the library below by way of a spiral staircase that led into the Supreme Court chamber. Great find, Andrew (and Bob)!

  2. Note that the Law Library was located in what is now the Old Supreme Court Chamber on the first floor of the Capitol. The first floor used to be called the basement. The Supreme court had moved up to the Old Senate Chamber on the floor above.

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