Help! I’m an Accidental Government Information Librarian presents ... The Rules Rule: Understanding and Researching Congressional Procedure

The Government Resources Section of the North Carolina Library Association welcomes you to a series of webinars designed to help us increase our familiarity with government information. All are welcome because government information wants to be free.

Many of our users are familiar with the basic process by which the U.S. Congress enacts legislation. They have all at least seen the famous and beloved “I’m Just a Bill” cartoon from Schoolhouse Rock! The various rules of procedure that govern this process, however, are generally less well-known and somewhat perplexing. This can be problematic for those researching legislative history or trying to understand the way Congress works because these rules play an incredibly important role in how (and what) legislation is enacted. As former U.S. Representative John Dingell once said, “I’ll let you write the substance [of a law] . . . and you let me write the procedure, and I’ll screw you every time.”

This webinar will provide an introduction to the rules of procedure of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. It will include what the rules are, how they are adopted, and where to find them as well as a discussion of some of the myths and misunderstandings about congressional procedure. Participants will also receive a list of key resources for helping users research and understand this enigmatic subject.

Presenter Morgan Stoddard is a Research Services Coordinator at the George Washington University Library and adjunct professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center where she teaches advanced legal research. She has a J.D. and M.S.L.S. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a B.A. in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

We will meet together for Session #59, online on June 15 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. (Eastern). Please RSVP for the session:

Technical requirements: We will be using collaborative software called Blackboard Collaborate. It requires that you be able to download Java onto your computer, but you do not need any special software. After you RSVP, we will send you a link that you can use to test the software. If you have any questions, please contact Lynda Kellam (lmkellam [at] uncg [dot] edu). You do not need a microphone as a chat system is available in the software, but you do need speakers or headphones.

The session will be recorded and made available after the live session, linked from the NCLA GRS web page ( and our YouTube channel:

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - 12:00pm - 1:00pm