By ALISA CARREL
“On July 14, 1832, President Andrew Jackson signed a bill into law creating the Law Library. Today, nearly 175 years later, we gather in this august room to recognize the Law Library’s legacy of service to Congress, other government entities and the public. As we approach our third century of existence, we welcome the increasing global presence that technology has made possible.”
So said Law Librarian Rubens Medina at a special ceremony held at the Library on Jan. 18 to kick off the Law Library’s yearlong celebration of its 175th anniversary. At this event, the American Bar Association (ABA) presented the Law Library with a resolution recognizing this historic milestone, and the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) presented the Law Library with a commemorative plaque containing a presidential proclamation.
“The American Bar Association salutes the tremendous contributions of the Law Library of Congress to governments, lawyers, and citizens worldwide and honors the Law Library as it celebrates the 175th anniversary of its founding,” said Mark Agrast, Board of Governors liaison to the ABA Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress, reading from the resolution. The ABA Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress was established to increase support from Congress and the Bar.
An additional presentation was made by Claire Germain, professor of law at Cornell University and immediate past president of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL). The AALL presidential proclamation states, “In deep appreciation of 175 years of excellent service to our nation in fulfilling the Library’s mission to serve Congress as well as the legal community and the public.” Germain spoke of her deep regard for and long-standing friendship with the Law Librarian of Congress, whom she first met when he was chief of the Library’s Hispanic Law Division.
Medina spoke of the close relationship the Law Library has enjoyed with both the ABA and the AALL, noting that the Library’s formal associations began in 1932 and 1907, respectively. He also provided a brief history of the Law Library and its many achievements over the past 175 years.
Before concluding the program and inviting the guests to join him for a reception, the Law Librarian pointed out the mosaic by Frederick Dielman that appears above the fireplace in the Members’ Room in the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building. The friends of Law—Industry, Peace and Truth—are depicted on the left side of the throne while Law’s enemies—Fraud, Discord and Violence—are on the opposite side. Said Medina, “This beautiful work of art serves as a reminder to us all of the delicate yet important balance of law."
Alisa Carrel is the outreach specialist for the Law Library of Congress.