LLSDC Member Newsletter

October 2014

Looking for a Few Good Volunteers

LLSDC can't run without our great volunteers.  This month, I would like to highlight the Website Committee.  We need a few tech savvy folks who would be willing to work as committee liaisons to keep those pages up-to-date and informative.  If you would be interested in helping, please email [email protected].  

Not interested in the website committee but would like to help out, please fill out our volunteer form!  Volunteering doesn't take a lot of time, but it is very rewarding.

Law Library Lights - Updated Issue Available

The Winter 2014 issue of Lights is available, now with the correct Tech Notes column on Creative Commons.

Congress.gov Removing Beta Label

On September 26, 2014 Library of Congress announced that the beta label was removed from their Congress.gov platform. The estimated date for retirement of THOMAS is close of fiscal year 2015, but it will continue to operate until all the legislative information is transferred to Congress.gov.  The September release for Congress.gov also offers some new features that make the platform more functional and user friendly. For example, the browsing capabilities have been enhanced and now include an option to browse through all Congresses available on the platform.  Advanced Search has been improved by the addition of several new field searching options. A completely new feature is the section with House Committee hearings and meetings that provides access to live streaming. Finally, a new Resource section was added that contains an alphabetical list of all links available on Congress.gov.  These enhancements are explained in greater detail by Andrew Weber in his post on the In Custodia Legis blog on the Library of Congress website.


In Custodia Legis blog, maintained by the Law Library of Congress, itself is a great resource as well, not just for legislative researchers, but the entire law librarian community with great tips on a wide variety of legal research issues.

Federal SIS Department of Justice Tour

On the day before Halloween, Janice Fridie of the DOJ Main Library led sixteen rapt librarians on a tour of the beautiful Robert F. Kennedy Building on Constitution Avenue.  As part of Federal Triangle, the building was erected in 1934 on a swampy, fetid area of the city called “Murder Bay,” renown for its houses of ill repute and rough saloons.  The resulting building is a magnificent combination of classical Greco-Roman and Art Deco styles, known affectionately to the staff as “Greco-Deco.”

The building once housed the FBI as well as the DOJ, meaning that Bobby Kennedy and J. Edgar Hoover had offices down the hall from each other.  Apparently, upon learning that Bobby had a fireplace and he didn’t, the famed director of the FBI insisted that a fake one be installed in his suite.

There’s also a narrow ledge around the building at the 5th floor level, and unsubstantiated rumor holds that J. Edgar would make FBI agents who displeased him “take a lap.”  Sadly, Janice had to debunk Andrew’s story that Edwin Meese had installed in his office a trapdoor that led directly to the cells in the basement.  We did, however, see the rooms in which Nazi saboteurs were tried during World War 2. 

In the Great Hall we saw the “Spirit of Justice” and the “Majesty of the Law”, statues Attorney General Ashcroft kept behind closed curtains [for modesty’s sake]. 

Read more about the tour and see great photos of the art on the website!

Anyone interested in the art and history of this building should check out the 75th Anniversary book compiled by the DOJ:  Celebrating Art and Architecture on the 75th Anniversary 1934 – 2009

October Board Summary

The LLSDC Executive Board meeting was held Thursday, October 23rd, at noon at Arent Fox. Liaison reports were presented and there are many, many wonderful activities going on in the next few months so please remember to check out the LLSDC Event Calendar to learn more about the programs planned. Mary Kate noted that as of October 2014, LLSDC now has chapter Insurance; if you have any questions about this, please email Mary Kate. Doug Tirpak updated us on the Library of Congress Magna Carter tours. Unfortunately, LLSDC cannot have an after hour, private tour but a tour during regular business is going to be arranged so look for an upcoming email about this event in the near future. Mary Kate Hunter also reported back on her time spent at an all day VALL event in October. She said it was a great day and the Virginia chapter had interesting speakers present and the day concluded with a great tour of the Virginia State Law Library. Alicia Pappas reported that the opening ceremony was well attended and Trivia Night was a great success! She also noted that there will be a New Member lunch coming up soon and that the LLSDC Holiday Party will be in early December, so look for more information about those events in the coming weeks. The meeting was then adjourned. We are off to great start.

You can find the complete minutes for all board meetings on the website.

 A2J Committee Update

The A2J committee is off to a great start! The Committee will hold its first event on Wednesday, November 12, 2014, at the MLK Library, from 12-1:30 p.m. We are very fortunate to have Emily Feltran, AALL, Director of Government Relations to come to speak to us about the A2J trends around the country and at the national level. Lunch will be provided so please remember to RSVP to this wonderful event! On October 28, 2014, Laura Moorer attended the DC Access to Justice Commission meeting and spoke briefly to the Commissioners about the help LLSDC could provide to its mission and she was received with much enthusiasm from the Commissioners. The Commissioners were excited about the help the Committee can provide and look forward to working with us this year. If you have any other ideas or would like to join the Committee, please email Laura Moorer or Rebecca Katz

Some LOC Materials Now Free on HeinOnline

The LOC is now providing free public access to federal materials on Guide to Law Online.  HeinOnline has generously allowed the Law Library of Congress to offer free online access to historical U.S. legal materials from HeinOnline.  These titles are available through the Library’s web portal, Guide to Law Online: U.S. Federal, and include:

Hein authorized the Library to provide these historical U.S. federal legal materials to the public via the Internet “…as a donation to the Library and to the American public.”  These free online resources will benefit all legal researchers whether accessing them from a home office, a local library or school, or here at the Library of Congress.

News from the Legislative SIS

The Legislative Sourcebook Subcommittee met on Sept 19th to formalize a plan on how to best organize the growth and maintenance of the LLSDC Source Book.  Tomasz Kolodziej, of Hogan Lovells, volunteered to be the Subcommittee President, and he will supervise additions to content and updates to existing information and links.  Volunteers are most welcome and might contact Tom at [email protected]

The Sourcebook was recently included in a CRS Report, Legislative Research for Congressional Staff: How to Find Documents and Other Resources.  It was one of only a few non-governmental sites listed in the report.    

On October 8th, the Legislative SIS hosted a Brown Bag lunch featuring Justin Murray and Jessica Tollestrup of CRS.  Justin Murray presented sources for tracking and researching historical federal appropriations legislation.  Jessica Tollestrup gave a  presentation of the workings of the federal appropriations process, and how to tailor research (and expectations) depending on how that process unfolds.  Both were excellent programs, and well received by the SIS members.

Battle of the Librarians Trivia Night

On Monday October 20th, about 35 members from LLSDC, DC/SLA and DCLA met up at Hill Country BBQ for the 2nd annual Battle of the Librarians trivia night.  The many rounds of questions featured trivia related to events in 1989, TV theme songs, famous songs from movies and much more.  The visual rounds included identifying a song and artist by the music video, famous beer logos and a favorite with the crowd, covers of children’s books.  Sadly a round focused on matching a scene from Harry Potter to the exact movie wasn’t included, but several devoted fans were able to show their expertise after the trivia had ended.  It was a close battle all night long, but a DC/SLA team came out victorious with an LLSDC team in 2nd by a mere 2 points!

Perhaps the real winner of the night belongs to the team names: 3.12 (Dewey for trivia), LLSDC3PO, Sir Books a Lot, Authority Control and Circulation Without Representation.

Thank you to everyone who came out for such a fun night! 

AALL Management Institute Registration is Open

Developing and leading managers to success.

March 26 - 28 2015
Hotel Palomar
505 North State Street
Chicago, IL 60654

The AALL Management Institute will provide managers (including aspiring managers) the opportunity to build management skills, collaborate with colleagues from different types of libraries, learn in a small group setting and develop techniques to manage with confidence.

More information is available here about the Institute and how to register. 

LLSDC does provide scholarships for the registration fees for AALL programming such as this. Contact the Scholarship Committee for more information.

Upcoming Events

Here are the events currently scheduled in November.  There are more in the works, so check the Events Calendar to get the latest details and register!

PLL-SIS: Darts-ip demonstration & lunch

Mon Nov 3, 2014 12:30 PM






PLL-SIS: Supreme Court Library Tour

Tue Nov 18, 2014 12:30 PM
This special tour is limited to 20 participants so sign up early to ensure a space!