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The United States Senate Library is the
library A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order to meet the user's needs on a daily basis. A library provi ...

library
of the
United States Senate The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress The United States Congress is the legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, politi ...
. The United States Senate Librarian manages the Senate Library, which is under the supervision of the Office of the Secretary of the United States Senate. Leona I. Faust has been the Senate Librarian since 2009. The Library is located in the
Russell Senate Office Building The Russell Senate Office Building is the oldest of the United States Senate office buildings. Designed in the Beaux-Arts architecture, Beaux-Arts architectural style, it was built from 1903 to 1908 and opened in 1909. It was named for former ...

Russell Senate Office Building
in SR-B15.


History

The Senate Library was founded during the 2nd Congress (1791–1792) after a
resolution Resolution(s) may refer to: Common meanings * Resolution (debate), the statement which is debated in policy debate * Resolution (law), a written motion adopted by a deliberative body * New Year's resolution, a commitment that an individual make ...
directing the Secretary to "procure and deposit in his office, the laws of several states" for use by Senators. In the early years leading to the library officially becoming established, the library suffered two fires. The first fire occurred during the
burning of Washington The Burning of Washington was a United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, British invasion of Washington City (now Washington, D.C.), the capital of the United States, during the War of 1812#Chesapeake Campaign, Chesapeake Campaign of the Wa ...
in 1814 when the British attacked
Washington Washington commonly refers to: * Washington (state), United States * Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States ** Federal government of the United States (metonym) ** Washington metropolitan area, the metropolitan area centered on Washingt ...
during the
War of 1812 The War of 1812 (18 June 1812 – 17 February 1815) was a conflict fought by the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country in . It ...
and sacked
Capitol Hill Capitol Hill, in addition to being a metonym Metonymy () is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric ...
. To replace the collection,
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were cr ...

Thomas Jefferson
offered his private library at cost. Jefferson's 6,487 volumes formed the heart of the new
Library of Congress The Library of Congress (LC) is the research library A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order ...

Library of Congress
collection. The second fire occurred in 1851 and destroyed all but 20,000 volumes in the Library of Congress collection. The damage to the Library of Congress collections prompted the Senate to preserve its records by designating space in the
Capitol A capitol is a building in which a legislature meets, including: Political authority of a territorial unit * United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. * Numerous List of state capitols in the United States, U.S. state and territorial capitols * ...

Capitol
for the Senate Library. The Senate decided to procure and install steel shelving to replace wooden shelving to
fireproof -based plaster fireproofing being installed. fireproofing of cable trays, using calcium silicate boards. Fireproofing is rendering something ( Building, structures, materials, etc.) resistant to fire, or incombustible; or material for use in m ...

fireproof
their collection from future damage. Secretaries oversaw the early collection of the library which included printed bills and resolutions,
committee A committee or commission is a body of one or more persons subordinate to an assembly. A committee is not itself considered to be a form of assembly. Usually, the assembly sends matters into a committee as a way to explore them more fully than w ...
reports and other Senate documents. William Hickey, Chief Clerk of the Senate (1855–1866), had been collecting 10 copies of every Senate document since 1824. Starting to accumulate a vast collection, Hickey lobbied for a library to manage and preserve all of these documents for use by the Senate. Despite various attempts to establish a library, it was not until February 11, 1870, that the Senate designated three rooms (S-331, S-332, and S-333) in the Library of Congress for the Senate Library. In 1871, George S. Wagner was appointed the first Senate Librarian. Wagner has the task of organizing Hickey's collection for better access and for preservation purposes (many of the materials were in fragile condition). By 1890, the collection was exceeding 98,000 volumes and was outgrowing the space in the library. Many rare documents and manuscripts were in a basement storage under poor conditions. Some of the materials in this suffering storage place were signed by
George Washington George Washington (February 22, 1732, 1799) was an American soldier, statesman, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited with establishing a state. Natio ...

George Washington
. In 1902, the library was appropriated funds to build steel storage shelves. The new storage space was housed in the Senate attic (S-410 and S-419). In 1999, the Senate Library moved from the Capitol to the Russell Senate Office Building. The library now resides in SR-B15.


Mission, materials, and services

The Library serves present and former Senators, member and committee staff, Senate leadership, and Senate officers. The mission of the Senate Library has changed over time, as a focus has changed from the collection and storage of Senate documents to providing legislative, historic, legal, business and general reference materials. The Senate Library aims to carry out its mission in an accurate, prompt, and nonpartisan manner. The Library's book collection comprises 14,000 volumes of works on history, geography, biography, politics and law and has material dating back to the early 19th century. Many were signed by the author or previous owner. The Senate Library receives the
United States Congressional Serial SetThe United States Congressional Serial Set began in 1817 as the official collection of reports and documents of the United States Congress. The collection was published in a "periodical publication, serial" fashion, hence its name. It has been descri ...
, which contains over 15,000 congressional reports and documents since 1817. The Library added a legislative status database in 1975. Calls for this service have peaked at 80,000 per year. Today, the library serves as many people in one day as it did in one month in 1964, nearly 60,000 inquiries per year, based primarily on the growth in Senate staff from 2,000 in 1964 to more than 7,000 today. The Senate Library has a
reading room Reading room may refer to: * Reference library * British Museum Reading Room * Christian Science Reading Room, a place where the public can study, borrow, or purchase Christian Science literature * The Reading Room (film), ''The Reading Room'' (fil ...
, study carrels, computers, and a scanning and
microform Microforms are scaled-down reproductions of documents, typically either photographic film, films or paper, made for the purposes of transmission, storage, reading, and printing. Microform images are commonly reduced to about 4% or one twenty-fifth ...
center. The Library's microfilm collection includes over one million microform and over 6,000 microfilm reels. Library tours and scheduled throughout the year and personalized tours can be made by request. The Library makes deliveries twice daily to offices with requested information. The authorized library staff is 22 people, including the Librarian and 13 other professionals


See also

* National Technical Reports Library


Notes


References

* Faust, L. ''UNUM: Newsletter of the Office of the Secretary of the Senate'', January/February 1999, Vol 3, Issue 1.
''THE 125TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SENATE LIBRARY (Senate - September 19, 1996)'', Congressional Record, Library of Congress''A Brief Construction History of the Capital (The Architect of the Capital)''
* United States Senate Library, S. Pub. 109-21. {{DEFAULTSORT:Senate Library Archives in the United States Agencies of the United States Congress Government buildings on the National Register of Historic Places in Washington, D.C. United States Capitol grounds
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...
Libraries in Washington, D.C.