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A Holiday Message from Deputy Librarian for Library Collections and Services and Law Librarian of Congress Jane Sánchez

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This is a guest post by Deputy Librarian for Library Collections and Services and Law Librarian of Congress Jane Sánchez.

I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone for your unwavering support of the Law Library of Congress during this challenging year. We faced incredible obstacles and sudden transitions this year. Through it all, we continued to fulfill our mission to provide authoritative legal research, reference and instruction services, and access to an unrivaled collection of U.S., foreign, comparative, and international law.

Law Librarian of Congress and Deputy Librarian for Library Collections and Services Jane Sánchez. Photo by Donna Sokol.

This year, the Law Library responded to 456 research requests from Congress, and provided assistance to Congressional offices with 671 reference questions. The staff authored 436 articles on legal developments around the world for the Global Legal Monitor and more than 100 posts for In Custodia Legis. Foreign law specialists from the Global Legal Research Directorate provided members of Congress with reports related to timely legislative issues on a variety of topics. The reports ranged from domestic and foreign responses to COVID-19 to the regulation of artificial intelligence. Many of the reports are available to the public on the Law Library’s website, The Law Library’s Public Services Division responded to more than 9,000 inquiries and reference and research requests about U.S. and foreign law from Congress, the Congressional Research Service, executive branch agencies, the courts, attorneys, and members of the public. The Public Services Division provided 119 webinars, classes, seminars, briefings, and tours for over 3,300 participants, and created 39 new legal research guides. This year, we launched a new site called the Law Library of Congress Legal Research Institute to organize our educational offerings, and we achieved record attendance at Law Library events and webinars.

Law Library of Congress 2020 Holiday Card.
The Law Library of Congress wishes you a safe and happy holiday season. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress Office of Communications. 

Our Digital Resources Division (DRD) embarked on several digitization projects of collection materials, including the U.S. Congressional Serial Set (approximately 15,735 volumes consisting of approximately 12 million pages, from 1817–1995); Statutes at Large (1789–1950), U.S. Treaties (1795–1984), U.S. Reports (1754–2013), the Code of Federal Regulations (1938–1995), Current Legal Reports, and the Legal Report Archive. In cooperation with the Office of External Relations, DRD participated in our first crowdsourcing campaign for the transcription of Spanish Legal Documents from the 15th–19th centuries. I also want to recognize the dedication and hard work of our Collection Services Division on the classification and collection storage projects. In addition, Collection Services collaborated with the Digital Resources Division staff to develop our new Foreign Legal Gazette Collection website. I would also like to mention that we acquired a number of exciting rare materials this year, including a partial draft of the Treaty of Ghent written in the hand of Henry Clay.

A draft of a portion of the Treaty of Ghent in the hand of Henry Clay. Photo by Geraldine Davila Gonzalez.
A draft of a portion of the Treaty of Ghent in the hand of Henry Clay. Photo by Geraldine Davila Gonzalez.

These are just a few highlights, with additional information in our 2020 annual report here. In the spirit of the season, I wish everyone the most pleasant, relaxing and fulfilling of holidays, and a happy, healthy, prosperous and successful New Year.

We look forward to serving your legal information needs in 2021.


Jane Sánchez

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