Throughout its history, the Law Library of Congress, founded in 1832, has enjoyed the support of friends who have helped it become the largest, most complete law library in the world.
One hundred sixty-six years ago, President Andrew Jackson signed into law an act establishing "an apartment near ... the Library of Congress ... for the purpose of a law library." Today's collections include more than 2 million volumes covering the laws not just of the United States but of nearly all nations of the world. The Law Library of Congress is where the U.S. Congress goes for information on international law.
One hundred years after the Law Library was founded, the Friends of the Law Library of Congress was established as a national organization committed to the preservation and growth of the Law Library. The group includes lawyers, scholars and librarians; law firms, publishers and corporations; and research and academic institutions interested in strengthening the Law Library's collections and promoting a better understanding of the law.
"The Friends of the Law Library of Congress has enabled us to acquire important materials and mount programs that help us fulfill our mission of being a resource not just for Congress but for all Americans interested in the study of law," said Rubens Medina, Law Librarian.
The Friends of the Law Library currently is searching for an executive director. The president of the organization, Abe Krash of the Arnold & Porter law firm, called the most recent annual meeting on Oct. 7 at the Law Library. In addition to discussing the executive director's position, the board addressed the designation of the 1999 Wickersham Award honoree and the upcoming conference in spring 2000, called "Democracy and the Rule of Law in a Changing World Order." The conference is one of several symposia that the Library will sponsor as part of its Bicentennial celebration in 2000.
The George W. Wickersham Award honors the founder of the Friends. Wickersham's distinguished career included a thriving law practice, serving as president of the New York City Bar in 1914-1917, participating in the Versailles Peace Conference in 1919, establishing the American Law Institute and serving as its first president from 1923 to 1936; and appointment by President Hoover to chair the National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement in 1929.
In addition to augmenting the Law Library's collections, the Friends support research in the collections by internationally recognized scholars, public programs exploring contemporary and historical legal issues, and efforts to enhance the Law Library's accessibility and improve its services.
Members of the Friends of the Law Library receive an invitation to the annual Wickersham Award dinner held in the Supreme Court building; invitations to Friends-sponsored tours, lectures and special events; a subscription to the Friends' newsletter, Amicus Brief; and discounts at the Library of Congress sales shops and Montpelier Dining Room.
To become a Friends member, call (202) 707-9866 or fax (202) 707-1820.