Thursday, September 13, 2012

Interview With Law Library of Congress Special Assistant to the Assistant Law Librarian for Collections

In Custodia Legis, the blog of the Law Library of Congress in Washington, has been running an interview series featuring members of the library staff. The series started in late October 2010.

There are more than 80 posts in the series.

This week's interview is with Penelope Fay Heavner, Special Assistant to the Assistant Law Librarian for Collections, Outreach and Services:
"What is the most interesting fact that you have learned about the Law Library of Congress?
"(...) Many people think of libraries as dry, uninteresting and on the sidelines of modern life.  Perhaps I can use two facts to demonstrate one point: libraries today still provide a vital public service, and that is especially true of the Law Library.  Only a few years ago the Law Library played a key role in assisting the Afghan government.  The Taliban had destroyed all copies of Afghan official documents, leaving the Karzai government with very little documentation on which to base their legal system.  The Law Library had a considerable collection of pre-Taliban legal documents and was thus in a position to help the Karzai government restore its basic legal documents and subsequent precedents developed under the pre-Taliban legal system."
"The Law Library also played a similar supporting role in the 1990s.  Probably not many people know that Dr. Oleg G. Rumiantsev, who is sometimes referred to as the Russian James Madison [author of the US Bill of Rights and one of the 'Fathers' of the US Constitution], used the Law Library’s collection in drafting the new Russian constitution.  Dr. Rumiantsev, who was then in the United States, was a frequent visitor to the Law Library and he drew extensively on its legal collection, particularly focusing on examples of constitutions that contained the checks and balances typical in western constitutions."
The Law Library of Congress is the world’s largest law library, with a collection of over 2.65 million volumes spanning the ages and covering virtually every jurisdiction in the world.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:39 pm


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