The United States Senate Library is the library of the United States Senate.
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. Mary E. Cornaby has been the Senate Librarian since 2008. The Library is located in the Russell Senate Office Building in SR-B15.
The Senate Library was founded during the 2nd Congress (1791-1792) after a resolution 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 in 1814 when the British attacked Washington during the War of 1812 and sacked Capitol Hill.
To replace the collection, Thomas Jefferson offered his private library at cost. Jefferson's 6,487 volumes formed the heart of the new 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 for the Senate Library. The Senate decided to procure and install steel shelving to replace wooden shelving to fireproof their collection from future damage.
Secretaries oversaw the early collection of the library which included printed bills and resolutions, committee 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. 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 1800s. Many were signed by the author or previous owner. The Senate Library receives the United States Congressional Serial Set, 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, study carrels, computers, and a scanning and microform 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.
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.
Leona Faust (personal communication, December 2006)
v d e
United States Congress
(House of Representatives, Senate 111th Congress Members of the 111th United States Congress)
Members of Congress: Current (by length of service, freshmen, youngest members, Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, delegates, longest-serving members ever)
Senate: Current by seniority, Current by age, Dean of the Senate, former Senators, living former Senators, Earliest serving, Earliest living, Expelled/censured, Classes,
House: Current by seniority, Current by age, Dean of the House, former Representatives, oldest living, expelled, censured, and reprimanded Representatives,
Women and minority members: African American members, Hispanic members, Asian Pacific American members, Congressional Member Organizations (caucuses), House Women, Senate Women
List of congressional districts (congressional apportionment, districts by area, obsolete districts)
Privileges and benefits: Representatives' salaries, Senators' salaries, franking, congressional immunity
Senate: President (list), President pro tempore (list), Majority and Minority Leaders, assistant party leaders, Democratic Caucus (Chair, Secretary, Policy Committee Chair), Republican Conference (Chair, Vice-Chair, Policy Committee Chair)
House: Speaker (list), Majority and Minority Leaders, party whips, Democratic Caucus, Republican Conference
Government Accountability Office (Comptroller General), Congressional Budget Office, Architect of the Capitol, Capitol Police (Capitol Police Board), Capitol Guide Service (Capitol Guide Board), Office of Compliance, Library of Congress, Government Printing Office, Office of Technology Assessment
Senate employees: Secretary, Chaplain, Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper, Curator, Historian, Librarian, Parliamentarian, pages
Senate offices: Office of the Secretary (Senate Library, Office of Senate Curator, Senate Historical Office)
House employees: Clerk, Chief Administrative Officer, Chaplain. Doorkeeper, Postmaster, Sergeant at Arms, Historian, Parliamentarian, Reading Clerk, pages (Page Board)
House offices: Office of the Law Revision Counsel, Emergency Planning, Preparedness, and Operations, Interparliamentary Affairs
Powers: Constitutional authority under Article I (Enumerated powers (Taxing and Spending, Commerce, Dormant Commerce, Naturalization, Copyright, Declaration of War Clause); Implied powers: Necessary and Proper Clause); Impeachment; contempt of Congress; Power of enforcement
Legislative and parliamentary procedure: Act of Congress (list), rider, sponsorship, discharge petition, unanimous consent, suspension of the rules, joint resolution, concurrent resolution, appropriation bill, enrolled bill, engrossed bill, budget resolution, continuing resolution, House procedures, expulsion of members, joint session (list), House closed sessions, Senate closed sessions, lame duck session, cloture, suspension of the rules, reconciliation, veto override
Committees: Oversight, hearings, discharge petition, markup, chairman and ranking member, standing committees, select and special committees, joint committees, subcommittees, Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union, conference committee, list of Senate committees, list of House committees
Senate-specific: Presiding Officer, Jefferson's Manual, Standing Rules of the Senate, Riddick's Senate Procedure, seniority, classes of Senators, Traditions, VPs' tie-breaking votes, advice and consent, recess appointment, executive session, senatorial courtesy, Saxbe fix, nuclear option, filibuster, executive communication, secret hold, ratification of treaties, Senate Journal
Items: Mace of the House, gavels
History of the Senate, History of the House of Representatives, party control historically
Capitol: Dome, rotunda, crypt, National Statuary Hall, Capitol Visitor Center, The Apotheosis of Washington, Statue of Freedom
Office buildings: House: Cannon, Ford, Longworth, Rayburn, O'Neill, House Office Building Commission; Senate: Dirksen, Hart, Russell
Other buildings and facilities: Botanic Garden, Old Supreme Court Chamber, Senate Staff Health and Fitness Facility, Capitol Power Plant, Old Senate Chamber, House Recording Studio, Daniel Webster Senate Page Residence
LoC & GPO
Library of Congress: Congressional Research Service (reports), Law Library, THOMAS, Copyright Office (Register of Copyrights), Poet Laureate, Jefferson Building, Adams Building, Madison Building; Government Printing Office: Public Printer of the United States, Congressional Record, Official Congressional Directory, United States Statutes at Large, United States Code
C-SPAN, The Hill, Roll Call, Congressional Quarterly
Lists, Chiefs of staff, congressional delegation, dear colleague letter, Senate election disputes, divided government
Websites: House of Representatives, Senate
Coordinates: 385334 770025 / 38.8928N 77.0069W / 38.8928; -77.0069
Categories: Archives in the United States | Agencies of the United States Congress | National Register of Historic Places in Washington, D.C. | United States Capitol grounds