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How to Use the C-SPAN Video Library

Whether you missed the latest presidential speech or want to research a Congressional hearing from 20 years ago, the new C-SPAN Video Library can connect you to the national political debate -- on your computer, in an instant. A free information source for reporters, students, educators -- anyone who's interested in politics and public policy -- the C-SPAN Video Library brings you Washington, your way.


  • Step 1: Understand the C-SPAN library Get the background on the library. C-SPAN, a nonprofit public service created by the cable television industry, programs three public affairs TV networks. Soon after airing, every televised event is available for viewing in the Video Library. The archives date back to 1987 and already offer more than 160,000 hours of programming -- many with searchable text!
  • Step 2: Get started To get started, go to and click on Video Library, or go directly to Then, type what you're looking for into the Search box. Narrow the field by using the "modify search" tools on the left.
  • TIP: Programs are indexed by subject, speaker name, committee, format, keyword, location, and more.
  • Step 3: Find what you're looking for Pinpoint the exact moments you're interested in with the transcript results feature, which highlights the parts of the video that contain the term you searched for so you can skip directly to those sections.
  • Step 4: Narrow search to Congress Want to see what your representatives in Washington are up to? Check out the Video Library's companion site "Congressional Chronicle," where video recordings of House and Senate floor proceedings are indexed by speaker, with full text and video search capabilities.
  • Step 5: Feel free to browse Not sure what event you want to watch? Hit the "browse" button for suggestions, like that day's featured programs and the videos most watched by other users. Or check out the site's blog for timely topics that may interest you.
  • Step 6: Check out people's bios Review people's bios: every person who's ever been on C-SPAN has a bio page that lists all their appearances, organized by year and the position they held at the time. It's easy to find what you want, and you might even stumble across some interesting information you weren't looking for.
  • Step 7: Share the wealth The C-SPAN Video Library makes it easy to share what you discover via e-mail, Twitter or Facebook. You can also create video clips to share. And if the video is embeddable, you can post it on your blog -- making it even easier to connect more people to what's happening in Washington, your way.
  • FACT: The C-SPAN Video Library features video gems like Barack Obama speaking on a 1998 policy panel on the revitalization of U.S. cities, when he was an Illinois state senator.

You Will Need

  • Internet access

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