Established as a department within the Library of Congress in 1914 (and originally called Legislative Reference Service), the Congressional Research Service’s (CRS) legislative mandate is to provide analysis and research reports that help legislators make informed decisions about policy matters.  In keeping with their key values, the information they provide is authoritative, non-partisan, and objective, which makes it a great source for becoming familiar with public policy topics.

Unfortunately for those outside the halls of Congress, another key value for CRS is confidentiality; however, that doesn’t keep legislators from posting information online.  You can find some reports by doing a PowerSearch – Advanced Search in our Gale Databases and searching for your topic as a key word or subject (using one word or phrase) AND Congressional Research Service as either a Publication Title or Publisher Name.  There’s also the CRS search tool from that harnesses the power of Google Custom Search Engines to find reports.  You can find other search tools and archives by searching the web with Google or your favorite search engine.

With election rhetoric clouding our airwaves and bandwidth, reading CRS reports is one way to learn about an issue without all the hype.