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December 2020 US Law Webinars: These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

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Since February of this year, we have been offering U.S. Law webinars online. In December 2020, we will present two classes to round out the year. First up is our monthly Orientation to Law Library Collections then in our Orientation to Legal Research series we will be teaching about U.S. Statutory Law. We will still publish separate posts about other upcoming webinars. For example, in December, the Law Library’s Collection Services and Digital Resources divisions are hosting a webinar on navigating  our new Foreign Legal Gazettes Database.

I will be teaching both U.S. Law webinars in December and thought it might be fun to name some of my favorite print resources in the Law Library of Congress. Although I am able to access many of the resources I need for my work online, I miss the books in the Reading Room.

One of my favorite items is a 1909 multivolume publication, The Federal and State Constitutions, Colonial Charters, and Other Organic Laws of the states, territories, and colonies now or heretofore forming the United States of America. This publication is very helpful in locating the original colonial charters and state constitutions for all the states and territories in the country up to 1909. It is also available online but as it is seven volumes in length, I find flipping through the print edition to be easier than using the online version. One hint for online users, the table of contents only appears in volume 1.

Another favorite is Digested summary and alphabetical list of private claims which have been presented to the House of Representatives from the First to the Thirty-first Congress, exhibiting the action of Congress on each claim, with references to the journals, reports, bills, &c., elucidating its progress. This three volume publication is helpful in researching early private claims with Congress. We also use it in genealogical research with patrons.

Lest you think all my favorites are old historical texts, I also like the Gale Encyclopedia of American Law. Written for non-legal users, it is an extremely helpful resource for persons beginning legal research and includes articles on various legal topics, such as privacy laws, as well as essays on famous Supreme Court cases, justices, U.S. presidents and historic events. The encyclopedia is in its third edition and this and earlier editions can often be found in the main branch of a public library system as well as in county and state law libraries.

Law Library stacks / Photograph by Andrew Weber

Orientation to Legal Research: U.S. Statutory Law

Date: Thursday, December 10, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EST

Content: An overview of U.S. statutory and legislative research, including information about how to find and use the U.S. Code, the U.S. Statutes at Large, and U.S. federal bills and resolutions.

Registration: Please register online by clicking here.

Orientation to Law Library Collections

Date: Tuesday, December 15, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EST

Content: Introduces participants to information about the Law Library’s wide range of online resources, as well as our print collections.

Registration: Please register online by clicking here.

Both webinars in December will be taught by Margaret M. Wood, a senior legal reference librarian at the Law Library. Margaret holds a BA in history from Oberlin College and a Master of Science in Library Science from the Catholic University of America.

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