March 16, 2017 Leave a comment
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.