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New Year’s Greetings from the Law Librarian of Congress

This is a guest post by the Law Librarian of Congress, David Mao, who has previously written about state government contracts, Justifying Speed, and Food for Thought, among other topics.

The New Year’s Greeting for 2013 is available for download in PDF format: 2013_new_years_letter.


David S. Mao, Law Librarian of Congress

David S. Mao, Law Librarian of Congress


The Law Library of Congress Made Great Strides in Reaching Its Strategic Goals for Fiscal 2013

I am pleased to deliver a snapshot of the Law Library’s successes in fiscal 2013.

We were fortunate this year to present several major public events while continuing our ongoing service to Congress, the Executive Branch, and the federal judiciary.  These outreach programs allowed us to raise awareness of Law Library staff expertise and collections. We relied on collaborations with our partners in the public, non-profit, and private sectors to bring some of the most gifted minds in law to the Library. We look forward to another year of successful programming and services.

Best wishes to all for a new year filled with good health, fortune, and cheer.


In fiscal 2013, the Law Library prepared 376 legal research reports, special studies, and memoranda in response to congressional inquiries. Reports related to many pressing U.S. legislative issues, including firearms control, mental health provisions, judicial tort systems, laws on the sale of human organs, government authority to conduct electronic surveillance, humanitarian exemptions from import duties, and European Union merger regulations. Many of these reports are available to the public on the Law Library’s website, www.Law.gov.

This year marked the mid-way point of our 5-year strategic plan. At the beginning of this fiscal year, the Law Library leadership team began planning an organizational realignment to bring together the Law Library’s research and collection units in a way to take advantage of resource sharing; to make services more efficient and consistent; and to facilitate collaboration with other Library of Congress units.  In May of 2013, the Law Library officially implemented the realignment, and the transition to the new organizational structure was smooth.

The Law Library helped to craft and issue two legislative challenges via Challenge.gov focusing on the application of the Akoma Ntoso framework (a proposed XML standard for legislative materials) to U.S. laws. The results of the challenge will help advance the exchange of legislative information worldwide.

The Congressional Record – a substantially verbatim account of remarks made during the proceedings of the House and Senate – became part of Congress.gov, expanding the site’s already rich content.

The Librarian of Congress approved the Law Library’s proposal to stage a major exhibition celebrating the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. Planned for late fall 2014, the exhibition will feature an exemplification of Magna Carta from 1215.


• Held annual Law Day event on the topic of “The Movement in America for Civil and Human Rights”

• Presented a panel discussion on the role and impact of Islamic law in transitioning Arab Spring countries

• Commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Criminal Justice Act with a co-sponsored event with the Federal Bar Association. Held a panel discussion entitled “The Criminal Justice Act at 50 – The Past, Present, and Future of the Right to Counsel in the Federal Courts”

• Co-sponsored an exhibition, “A Day Like No Other: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington,” with the Friends of the Law Library, the J.J. Medveckis Foundation, and the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress. Congressman John Lewis delivered the opening remarks.

• Celebrated Constitution Day with a keynote speech from Professor Risa L. Goluboff on “How the Constitution Changes: Social and Political Aspects of the Law”

• Invited Professor Orin Kerr – the Law Library Scholar-in-Residence for the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Foundation Program on Demography, Technology, and Criminal Justice at the Library of Congress – to deliver his capstone speech on “The Next Generation Privacy Act”

Products and Services Statistics

376—Legal research reports, special studies, and memoranda created for Congress

3,959—Congressional inquiries answered

365—Inquiries answered for othe legislative, executive, and judicial branch agencies

375—Articles written for the Global Legal Monitor

3,688.75—Hours the Law Library Reading Room was open for congressional staff

41,706—Users served in person, by phone, by correspondence, or electronically

4,267—Inquiries answered through “Ask a Librarian

20,261—Items from the Law Library’s collection circulated

Collections Statistics

2.89—Million volumes in the Law Library

17,500—Items sent to Fort Meade

384,176—Volumes reclassified from in-house system to the Library of Congress classification system

Website and Social Media Statistics

15,159—Followers on @Congressdotgov Twitter account

15,804—Email subscribers to the Global Legal Monitor

37,123—Followers on @LawLibCongress Twitter account

12,070—”Likes” on Facebook

263—Blog posts published on In Custodia Legis blog

267,524—Page views for In Custodia Legis blog

3,178,577—Page views for all Law Library online products

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