National Library Week & Federal Depository Libraries

Library Week

April 9 – 15, 2017 is National Library Week, which is an annual observance sponsored by the American Library Association, and libraries throughout the country to celebrate libraries and librarians, and to promote the use of libraries.  One of the strong foundations of American libraries is a program run under the auspices of the United States Government Publishing Office called the Federal Depository Library Program, of which Brooklyn Law School Library is a member.

Depository Library Program

The Depository Library Act of 1962 created the present-day Federal Depository Library Program, increasing to two the number of depository libraries permitted in each congressional district, adding libraries from independent federal agencies, and authorizing the establishment of regional depositories. There are currently over 1200 depository libraries.  Brooklyn Law School Library became a depository library in 1974. In 1976 all law school libraries were eligible to become federal depository libraries. The BLS Library currently selects about twelve percent of the documents available through the depository program.  We select items in print, in microfiche, and electronically.

The mission of the Federal Depository Library Program  (FDLP) is to provide free, easily accessible and permanent access to federal government information.  Though FDLP libraries receive publications free of charge, they are responsible for processing the government documents they receive and making them available to members of the general public.  FDLP libraries must provide bibliographic control of the documents they receive, normally through their library catalog, and either integrate print copies of the documents into their library classification system or the Superintendent of Documents Classification System.  FDLP libraries are surveyed biennially to ensure that they are in compliance with the depository program and there are stringent procedures for libraries to remove depository items from their collections.

While all FDLP libraries may choose the classes of materials they want to receive, there is a basic collection that are all required to have.  This core collection is made up of mostly legal materials that all law students should be familiar with.  Some of the titles that we have in the BLS Library through the depository program are:

  • Code of Federal Regulations
  • Congressional Directory
  • Congressional Record (daily edition)
  • Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation
  • Federal Register
  • Public Laws of the United States
  • Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States
  • United States Code
  • United States Government Manual
  • United States Reports
  • United States Statutes at Large
  • Budget of the United States Government
  • Statistical Abstract of the United States

Celebrate Libraries next week and Depository Libraries every week by taking advantage of the BLS Library depository collection.

Congressional Research Service Reports

CRS

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library with millions of books, photographs, recordings and other documents including newspapers, manuscripts, and maps.  The Library is home to both the U.S. Copyright Office and the Congressional Research Service, which is the research arm of the United States Congress.  The Congressional Research Service works directly and primarily for the members of Congress, their committees and staff.

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) answers hundreds of thousands of questions annually; it anticipates Congressional inquiries and provides timely, objective, interdisciplinary information in response.  The CRS attempts to address emerging issues and developing problems in anticipation of Congressional needs.

The CRS employs approximately 600 people, including lawyers, librarians, social and physical scientists, etc. and is divided into six interdisciplinary research divisions and then into subject specialties.

Responses to Congressional requests may be made in the form of memoranda, customized reports and briefings, presentations, seminars, etc.  However, the most prominent work product of the CRS are the Congressional Research Service Reports.  These are encyclopedic reports on topics with potential legislative action.  Hundreds of these reports are issued annually and thousands have been issued since the Congressional Research Service was founded in 1914, when it was originally called the Legislative Reference Service.

Congressional Research Reports are available electronically to members of Congress, Congressional committees, and the CRS sister agencies:  the Congressional Budget Office and the Government Accountability Office, but there is no official access.

Brooklyn Law School Library subscribes to a monthly listing of CRS Reports from Penny Hill Press. Each month’s listing, arranged by subject, is available at the Library reference desk.  A brief description of each report is given and the Library can obtain the full report for a faculty member or student.

Recently a national grassroots group called DemandProgress launched a website containing new Congressional Research Service Reports:  http://everycrsreport.com

There are 8,400 reports on the site with more added each week. The reports are received directly from Congress and there is no charge for access.  You may browse the site by topic or search by keyword.  Topics of some recent CRS Reports include:

The First Day of a New Congress:  A Guide to Proceedings on the Senate Floor

Legal Services Corporation: Background and Funding

Terrorist Material Support: An Overview of 18 U.S.C. 2339A and 2339B

Women in Congress: 1917-2016.