The Law Library had a dynamic presence at the 18th annual National Book Festival. We had 11 staff members volunteer at the festival from our Global Legal Collection Directorate, Public Services Division, Office of Administrative Operations, and Office of External Relations as well as Maria Soto, a new member of the ABA Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress. Visitors packed the Law table throughout the day and were interested in our unique resources. They showed a keen interest in the Law Library’s programs and great enthusiasm for our gavel pencils. In the morning, Senior Legal Reference Librarian Emily Carr shared her expertise about the Law Library’s resources and materials with teachers and potential patrons. During the afternoon, Assistant Law Librarian Janice Hyde dazzled visitors with stories from her nearly three decades of service at the Library.
The Kahoot! Trivia game was a hit and encouraged families and children to learn more about the Law Library. Several families and groups of children returned throughout the day to challenge themselves in trivia against different players. While attendees of all ages played over 100 trivia games, it was our youngest visitors that gave their teachers and parents a run for their money. These young book lovers certainly know their Library of Congress history, and several shared their aspirations to become future librarians and lawyers.The Law team had the opportunity to welcome many visitors who traveled quite a distance just to attend the festival. Bibliophiles from Pennsylvania, New York, Nebraska, Texas, Florida, and Hawaii stopped by the Law Library’s table to chat. Local enthusiasts including teachers, law librarians, and students also spoke with us about how to best utilize the Law Library’s wide array of resources and services for their research needs. However, one couple’s story stood out above the rest: they met for the first time almost 40 years ago at the Law Library in 1980.
Four In Custodia Legis bloggers captured the audience’s attention with stories from cases that connect to materials in the Law Library’s collection during the “Trials in History” presentation. Senior Legal Information Specialist Robert Brammer began with a case Nickerson v. Hodges, 146 La. 735, 84 So. 37 (La. 1920) that arose from an elaborate practical joke. Next, Foreign Legal Specialist Hanibal Goitom spoke about a 1916 Liberian Supreme Court case Jedah v. Horace that outlawed trial by ordeal. Bibliographic and Research Instruction Librarian Barbara Bavis shared the case of Captain William Kidd, which researchers can find in the digitized Piracy Trials available on the law.gov website. Finally, Senior Legal Information Analyst Jim Martin provided insight into the Boston Massacre trial.The Law Library of Congress looks forward to participating at the National Book Festival again next year and yes, we plan to bring back more gavel pencils!