Library of Congress

Library of Congress

Overview
The Library of Congress is the research library
Research library
A research library is a library which contains an in-depth collection of material on one or several subjects . A research library will generally include primary sources as well as secondary sources...

 of the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

, de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

national library
National library
A national library is a library specifically established by the government of a country to serve as the preeminent repository of information for that country. Unlike public libraries, these rarely allow citizens to borrow books...

 of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, it is the largest library
Library
In a traditional sense, a library is a large collection of books, and can refer to the place in which the collection is housed. Today, the term can refer to any collection, including digital sources, resources, and services...

 in the world by shelf space and number of books. The head of the Library is the Librarian of Congress, currently James H. Billington
James H. Billington
Lord LeBron James Hadley Billington is an American academic. He is the thirteenth Librarian of the United States Congress.-Early years:...

.

The Library of Congress was built for Congress in 1800, and was housed in the United States Capitol
United States Capitol
The United States Capitol is the meeting place of the United States Congress, the legislature of the federal government of the United States. Located in Washington, D.C., it sits atop Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall...

 for most of the 19th century.
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Encyclopedia
The Library of Congress is the research library
Research library
A research library is a library which contains an in-depth collection of material on one or several subjects . A research library will generally include primary sources as well as secondary sources...

 of the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

, de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

national library
National library
A national library is a library specifically established by the government of a country to serve as the preeminent repository of information for that country. Unlike public libraries, these rarely allow citizens to borrow books...

 of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, it is the largest library
Library
In a traditional sense, a library is a large collection of books, and can refer to the place in which the collection is housed. Today, the term can refer to any collection, including digital sources, resources, and services...

 in the world by shelf space and number of books. The head of the Library is the Librarian of Congress, currently James H. Billington
James H. Billington
Lord LeBron James Hadley Billington is an American academic. He is the thirteenth Librarian of the United States Congress.-Early years:...

.

The Library of Congress was built for Congress in 1800, and was housed in the United States Capitol
United States Capitol
The United States Capitol is the meeting place of the United States Congress, the legislature of the federal government of the United States. Located in Washington, D.C., it sits atop Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall...

 for most of the 19th century. After much of the original collection had been destroyed during the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

, Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

 sold 6,487 books, his entire personal collection, to the library in 1815. After a period of decline during the mid-19th century the Library of Congress began to grow rapidly in both size and importance after the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, culminating in the construction of a separate library building and the transference of all copyright deposit holdings to the Library. During the rapid expansion of the 20th century the Library of Congress assumed a preeminent public role, becoming a "library of last resort" and expanding its mission for the benefit of scholars and the American people.

The Library's primary mission is researching inquiries made by members of Congress through the Congressional Research Service
Congressional Research Service
The Congressional Research Service , known as "Congress's think tank", is the public policy research arm of the United States Congress. As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS works exclusively and directly for Members of Congress, their Committees and staff on a...

. Although it is open to the public, only Members of Congress, Supreme Court justices and other high-ranking government officials may check out books. As the de facto national library, the Library of Congress promotes literacy and American literature through projects such as the American Folklife Center
American Folklife Center
The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC was created by Congress in 1976 "to preserve and present American Folklife" . The center includes the Archive of Folk Culture, established at the Library in 1928 as a repository for American folk music...

, American Memory
American Memory
American Memory is an Internet-based archive for public domain image resources, as well as audio, video, and archived Web content. It is published by the Library of Congress...

, Center for the Book
Center for the Book
The Center for the Book was founded in 1977 by Daniel J. Boorstin, the Librarian of Congress, in order to use the Library of Congress to promote literacy, libraries, and reading in general, as well as an understanding of the history and heritage of American literature...

 and Poet Laureate
Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress
The Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress—commonly referred to as the United States Poet Laureate—serves as the nation's official poet. During his or her term, the Poet Laureate seeks to raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of...

.

History



Origins and Jefferson's contribution (1800–1851)


The Library of Congress was established on April 24, 1800, when President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 John Adams
John Adams
John Adams was an American lawyer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States...

 signed an Act of Congress
Act of Congress
An Act of Congress is a statute enacted by government with a legislature named "Congress," such as the United States Congress or the Congress of the Philippines....

 providing for the transfer of the seat of government from Philadelphia
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Philadelphia County, with which it is coterminous. The city is located in the Northeastern United States along the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. It is the fifth-most-populous city in the United States,...

 to the new capital city of Washington. Part of the legislation appropriated $5,000 "for the purchase of such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress ..., and for fitting up a suitable apartment for containing them...." Books were ordered from London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 and the collection, consisting of 740 books and 3 maps, was housed in the new Capitol
United States Capitol
The United States Capitol is the meeting place of the United States Congress, the legislature of the federal government of the United States. Located in Washington, D.C., it sits atop Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall...

. The collection covered a variety of topics but the bulk of the materials were legal in nature, reflecting Congress' role as a maker of laws.

Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

 played an important role in the Library's early formation, signing into law on January 26, 1802, the first law establishing the structure of the Library of Congress. The law established the presidentially appointed post of Librarian of Congress and a Joint Committee on the Library to regulate and oversee the Library, as well as giving the president and vice president the ability to borrow books. The Library of Congress was destroyed in August 1814, when invading British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 troops set fire to the Capitol building
Burning of Washington
The Burning of Washington was an armed conflict during the War of 1812 between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the United States of America. On August 24, 1814, led by General Robert Ross, a British force occupied Washington, D.C. and set fire to many public buildings following...

 and the small library of 3,000 volumes within.

Within a month, former President Jefferson offered his personal library as a replacement. Jefferson had spent 50 years accumulating a wide variety of books, including ones in foreign languages and volumes of philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

, science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

, literature
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

, and other topics not normally viewed as part of a legislative library, such as cookbooks, writing that, "I do not know that it contains any branch of science which Congress would wish to exclude from their collection; there is, in fact, no subject to which a Member of Congress may not have occasion to refer." In January 1815, Congress accepted Jefferson's offer, appropriating $23,950 for his 6,487 books.

Weakening (1851–1865)


The antebellum period was difficult for the Library. During the 1850s the Smithsonian Institution
Smithsonian Institution
The Smithsonian Institution is an educational and research institute and associated museum complex, administered and funded by the government of the United States and by funds from its endowment, contributions, and profits from its retail operations, concessions, licensing activities, and magazines...

's librarian Charles Coffin Jewett
Charles Coffin Jewett
Charles Coffin Jewett was the Librarian and Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution in 1848 before becoming Superintendent of the Boston Public Library in 1858.-Early life:...

 aggressively tried to move that organization towards becoming the United States' national library. His efforts were blocked by the Smithsonian's Secretary Joseph Henry
Joseph Henry
Joseph Henry was an American scientist who served as the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, as well as a founding member of the National Institute for the Promotion of Science, a precursor of the Smithsonian Institution. During his lifetime, he was highly regarded...

, who advocated a focus on scientific research and publication and favored the Library of Congress' development into the national library. Henry's dismissal of Jewett in July 1854 ended the Smithsonian's attempts to become the national library, and in 1866 Henry transferred the Smithsonian's forty thousand-volume library to the Library of Congress.

On December 24, 1851 the largest fire in the Library's history destroyed 35,000 books, about two–thirds of the Library's 55,000 book collection, including two–thirds of Jefferson's original transfer. Congress in 1852 quickly appropriated $168,700 to replace the lost books, but not for the acquisition of new materials. This marked the start of a conservative period in the Library's administration under Librarian John Silva Meehan
John Silva Meehan
John Silva Meehan was an American printer and publisher. He was the fourth Librarian of the United States Congress from 1829 to 1861....

 and Joint Committee Chairman James A. Pearce, who worked to restrict the Library's activities. In 1857, Congress transferred the Library's public document distribution activities to the Department of the Interior
United States Department of the Interior
The United States Department of the Interior is the United States federal executive department of the U.S. government responsible for the management and conservation of most federal land and natural resources, and the administration of programs relating to Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native...

 and its international book exchange program to the Department of State
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

. Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

's political appointment of John G. Stephenson as Librarian of Congress in 1861 further weakened the Library; Stephenson's focus was on non-library affairs, including service as a volunteer aide-de-camp
Aide-de-camp
An aide-de-camp is a personal assistant, secretary, or adjutant to a person of high rank, usually a senior military officer or a head of state...

 at the battles of Chancellorsville
Battle of Chancellorsville
The Battle of Chancellorsville was a major battle of the American Civil War, and the principal engagement of the Chancellorsville Campaign. It was fought from April 30 to May 6, 1863, in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, near the village of Chancellorsville. Two related battles were fought nearby on...

 and Gettysburg
Battle of Gettysburg
The Battle of Gettysburg , was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The battle with the largest number of casualties in the American Civil War, it is often described as the war's turning point. Union Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade's Army of the Potomac...

 during the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. By the conclusion of the war, the Library of Congress had a staff of seven for a collection of 80,000 volumes. The centralization of copyright offices into the United States Patent Office in 1859 ended the Library's thirteen year role as a depository of all copyrighted books and pamphlets.

Spofford's expansion (1865–1897)


The Library of Congress reasserted itself during the latter half of the 19th century under Librarian Ainsworth Rand Spofford
Ainsworth Rand Spofford
Ainsworth Rand Spofford was an American journalist and publisher. He was the sixth Librarian of the United States Congress from 1864 to 1897.-Early years:...

, who directed the Library from 1865 to 1897. Aided by an overall expansion of the federal government and a favorable political climate, Spofford built broad bipartisan support for the Library as a national library and a legislative resource, began comprehensively collecting Americana
Americana
Americana refers to artifacts, or a collection of artifacts, related to the history, geography, folklore and cultural heritage of the United States. Many kinds of material fall within the definition of Americana: paintings, prints and drawings; license plates or entire vehicles, household objects,...

 and American literature
American literature
American literature is the written or literary work produced in the area of the United States and its preceding colonies. For more specific discussions of poetry and theater, see Poetry of the United States and Theater in the United States. During its early history, America was a series of British...

, and led the construction of a new building to house the Library, and transformed the Librarian of Congress position into one of strength and independence. Between 1865 and 1870, Congress appropriated funds for the construction of the Thomas Jefferson Building, placed all copyright registration and deposit activities under the Library's control, and restored the Library's international book exchange. The Library also acquired the vast libraries of both the Smithsonian and historian Peter Force
Peter Force
Peter Force was a 19th-century politician, newspaper editor, archivist, and historian.Born near the Passaic Falls in New Jersey, to William, a soldier in the Civil War and descendant of French Huguenots who arrived on America's shores in the 17th century, and Sarah Force , Force grew up New Paltz,...

, strengthening its scientific and Americana collections significantly. By 1876, the Library of Congress had 300,000 volumes and was tied with Boston Public Library
Boston Public Library
The Boston Public Library is a municipal public library system in Boston, Massachusetts, United States. It was the first publicly supported municipal library in the United States, the first large library open to the public in the United States, and the first public library to allow people to...

 as the nation's largest library. When the Library moved from the Capitol building to its new headquarters in 1897, it had over 840,000 volumes, 40% of which had been acquired through copyright deposit.
A year before the Library's move to its new location, the Joint Library Committee held a session of hearings to assess the condition of the Library and plan for its future growth and possible reorganization. Spofford and six experts sent by the American Library Association
American Library Association
The American Library Association is a non-profit organization based in the United States that promotes libraries and library education internationally. It is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 62,000 members....

, including future Librarian of Congress Herbert Putnam
Herbert Putnam
Herbert Putnam was an American lawyer, publisher, and librarian. He was the eighth Librarian of the United States Congress from 1899 to 1939.-Biography:...

 and Melvil Dewey
Melvil Dewey
Melville Louis Kossuth Dewey was an American librarian and educator, inventor of the Dewey Decimal system of library classification, and a founder of the Lake Placid Club....

 of the New York State Library
New York State Library
The New York State Library is part of the New York State Education Department. The Library and its sister institutions, the New York State Museum and New York State Archives, are housed in the Cultural Education Center...

, testified before the committee that the Library should continue its expansion towards becoming a true national library. Based on the hearings and with the assistance of Senators Justin Morrill of Vermont and Daniel Voorhees of Indiana, Congress more than doubled the Library's staff from 42 to 108 and established new administrative units for all aspects of the Library's collection. Congress also strengthened the office of Librarian of Congress to govern the Library and make staff appointments, as well as requiring Senate approval for presidential appointees to the position.

Post-reorganization (1897–1939)



The Library of Congress, spurred by the 1897 reorganization, began to grow and develop more rapidly. Spofford's successor John Russell Young
John Russell Young
John Russell Young was an American journalist, author, diplomat, and the seventh Librarian of the United States Congress from 1897 to 1899.-Biography:...

, though only in office for two years, overhauled the Library's bureaucracy, used his connections as a former diplomat to acquire more materials from around the world, and established the Library's first assistance programs for the blind
Blindness
Blindness is the condition of lacking visual perception due to physiological or neurological factors.Various scales have been developed to describe the extent of vision loss and define blindness...

 and physically disabled. Young's successor Herbert Putnam
Herbert Putnam
Herbert Putnam was an American lawyer, publisher, and librarian. He was the eighth Librarian of the United States Congress from 1899 to 1939.-Biography:...

 held the office for forty years from 1899 to 1939, entering into the position two years before the Library became the first in the United States to hold one million volumes. Putnam focused his efforts on making the Library more accessible and useful for the public and for other libraries. He instituted the interlibrary loan service, transforming the Library of Congress into what he referred to as a "library of last resort". Putnam also expanded Library access to "scientific investigators and duly qualified individuals" and began publishing primary sources for the benefit of scholars.

Putnam's tenure also saw increasing diversity in the Library's acquisitions. In 1903 he persuaded President Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

 to transfer by executive order the papers of the Founding Fathers
Founding Fathers of the United States
The Founding Fathers of the United States of America were political leaders and statesmen who participated in the American Revolution by signing the United States Declaration of Independence, taking part in the American Revolutionary War, establishing the United States Constitution, or by some...

 from the State Department to the Library of Congress. Putnam expanded foreign acquisitions as well, including the 1904 purchase of a four-thousand volume library of Indica, the 1906 purchase of G. V. Yudin's eighty-thousand volume Russian library, the 1908 Schatz collection of early opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

 librettos, and the early 1930s purchase of the Russian Imperial Collection, consisting of 2,600 volumes from the library of the Romanov family on a variety of topics. Collections of Hebraica and Chinese
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

 and Japanese
Japanese language
is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities. It is a member of the Japonic language family, which has a number of proposed relationships with other languages, none of which has gained wide acceptance among historical linguists .Japanese is an...

 works were also acquired. Congress even took the initiative to acquire materials for the Library in one occasion, when in 1929 Congressman Ross Collins of Mississippi successfully proposed the $1.5 million purchase of Otto Vollbehr's collection of incunabula, including one of four remaining perfect vellum copies of the Gutenberg Bible
Gutenberg Bible
The Gutenberg Bible was the first major book printed with a movable type printing press, and marked the start of the "Gutenberg Revolution" and the age of the printed book. Widely praised for its high aesthetic and artistic qualities, the book has an iconic status...

.

In 1914 Putnam established the Legislative Reference Service as a separative administrative unit of the Library. Based in the Progressive era
Progressive Era
The Progressive Era in the United States was a period of social activism and political reform that flourished from the 1890s to the 1920s. One main goal of the Progressive movement was purification of government, as Progressives tried to eliminate corruption by exposing and undercutting political...

's philosophy of science as a problem-solver, and modeled after successful research branches of state legislatures, the LRS would provide informed answers to Congressional research inquiries on almost any topic. In 1965 Congress passed an act allowing the Library of Congress to establish a trust fund board to accept donations and endowments, giving the Library a role as a patron of the arts. The Library received the donations and endowments of prominent individuals such as John D. Rockefeller
John D. Rockefeller
John Davison Rockefeller was an American oil industrialist, investor, and philanthropist. He was the founder of the Standard Oil Company, which dominated the oil industry and was the first great U.S. business trust. Rockefeller revolutionized the petroleum industry and defined the structure of...

, James B. Wilbur and Archer M. Huntington
Archer M. Huntington
Archer Milton Huntington was the son of Arabella Huntington and the stepson of railroad magnate and industrialist Collis P. Huntington...

. Gertrude Clarke Whittall donated five Stradivarius violins to the Library and Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge
Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge
Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge aka Liz Coolidge , born Elizabeth Penn Sprague, was an American pianist and patron of music, especially of chamber music....

's donations paid for a concert hall within the Library of Congress building and the establishment of an honorarium
Honorarium
An honorarium is an ex gratia payment made to a person for their services in a volunteer capacity or for services for which fees are not traditionally required. This is used by groups such as schools or sporting clubs to pay coaches for their costs...

 for the Music Division. A number of chairs and consultantships were established from the donations, the most well-known of which is the Poet Laureate Consultant
Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress
The Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress—commonly referred to as the United States Poet Laureate—serves as the nation's official poet. During his or her term, the Poet Laureate seeks to raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of...

.

The Library's expansion eventually filled the Library's Main Building, despite shelving expansions in 1910 and 1927, forcing the Library to expand into a new structure. Congress acquired nearby land in 1928 and approved construction of the Annex Building (later the John Adams Building) in 1930. Although delayed during the Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 years, it was completed in 1938 and opened to the public in 1939.

Modern history (1939–)


When Putnam retired in 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

 appointed Archibald MacLeish
Archibald MacLeish
Archibald MacLeish was an American poet, writer, and the Librarian of Congress. He is associated with the Modernist school of poetry. He received three Pulitzer Prizes for his work.-Early years:...

 as his successor. Occupying the post from 1939 to 1944 during the height of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, MacLeish became the most visible Librarian of Congress in the Library's history. MacLeish encouraged librarians to oppose totalitarianism
Totalitarianism
Totalitarianism is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible...

 on behalf of democracy
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

; dedicated the South Reading Room of the Adams Building to Thomas Jefferson, commissioning artist Ezra Winter
Ezra Winter
Ezra Augustus Winter was an American muralist.Winter was born in Traverse City, Michigan, trained at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts in 1908, and the American Academy in Rome in 1914. Winter became extremely successful and commanded high prices for his work...

 to paint four themed murals for the room; and established a "democracy alcove" in the Main Reading Room of the Jefferson Building for important documents such as the Declaration, Constitution and Federalist Papers
Federalist Papers
The Federalist Papers are a series of 85 articles or essays promoting the ratification of the United States Constitution. Seventy-seven of the essays were published serially in The Independent Journal and The New York Packet between October 1787 and August 1788...

. Even the Library of Congress assisted during the war effort, ranging from the storage of the Declaration of Independence
United States Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence was a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain regarded themselves as independent states, and no longer a part of the British Empire. John Adams put forth a...

 and the United States Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

 in Fort Knox
Fort Knox
Fort Knox is a United States Army post in Kentucky south of Louisville and north of Elizabethtown. The base covers parts of Bullitt, Hardin, and Meade counties. It currently holds the Army Human Resources Center of Excellence to include the Army Human Resources Command, United States Army Cadet...

 for safekeeping to researching weather data on the Himalayas
Himalayas
The Himalaya Range or Himalaya Mountains Sanskrit: Devanagari: हिमालय, literally "abode of snow"), usually called the Himalayas or Himalaya for short, is a mountain range in Asia, separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau...

 for Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 pilots. MacLeish resigned in 1944 to become Assistant Secretary of State, and President Harry Truman appointed Luther H. Evans
Luther H. Evans
Luther Harris Evans was an American political scientist who served as the tenth Librarian of the United States Congress.-Biography:...

 as Librarian of Congress. Evans, who served until 1953, expanded the Library's acquisitions, cataloging and bibliographic services as much as the fiscal-minded Congress would allow, but his primary achievement was the creation of Library of Congress Missions around the world. Missions played a variety of roles in the postwar world: the mission in San Francisco assisted participants in the meeting that established the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

, the mission in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 acquired European publications for the Library of Congress and other American libraries, and the mission in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 aided in the creation of the National Diet Library
National Diet Library
The is the only national library in Japan. It was established in 1948 for the purpose of assisting members of the in researching matters of public policy. The library is similar in purpose and scope to the U.S...

.

Evans' successor L. Quincy Mumford took over in 1953. Mumford's tenure, lasting until 1974, saw the initiation of the construction of the James Madison Memorial Building, the third Library of Congress building. Mumford directed the Library during a period of increased educational spending, the windfall of which allowed the Library to devote energies towards establishing new acquisition centers abroad, including in Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

 and New Delhi
New Delhi
New Delhi is the capital city of India. It serves as the centre of the Government of India and the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. New Delhi is situated within the metropolis of Delhi. It is one of the nine districts of Delhi Union Territory. The total area of the city is...

. In 1967 the Library began experimenting with book preservation techniques through a Preservation Office, which grew to become the largest library research and conservation effort in the United States. Mumford's administration also saw the last major public debate about the Library of Congress' role as both a legislative library and a national library. A 1962 memorandum by Douglas Bryant of the Harvard University Library
Harvard University Library
The Harvard University Library system comprises about 90 libraries, with more than 16 million volumes. It is the oldest library system in the United States, the largest academic and the largest private library system in the world...

, compiled at the request of Joint Library Committee chairman Claiborne Pell
Claiborne Pell
Claiborne de Borda Pell was a United States Senator from Rhode Island, serving six terms from 1961 to 1997, and was best known as the sponsor of the Pell Grant, which provides financial aid funding to U.S. college students. A Democrat, he was that state's longest serving senator.-Early years:Pell...

, proposed a number of institutional reforms, including expansion of national activities and services and various organizational changes, all of which would shift the Library more towards its national role over its legislative role. Bryant even suggested possibly changing the name of the Library of Congress, which was rebuked by Mumford as "unspeakable violence to tradition". Debate continued within the library community until the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970
Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970
The Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970 was an act of the United States Congress to "improve the operation of the legislative branch of the Federal Government, and for other purposes"...

 shifted the Library back towards its legislative roles, placing greater focus on research for Congress and congressional committees and renaming the Legislative Reference Service to the Congressional Research Service
Congressional Research Service
The Congressional Research Service , known as "Congress's think tank", is the public policy research arm of the United States Congress. As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS works exclusively and directly for Members of Congress, their Committees and staff on a...

.

After Mumford retired in 1974, Gerald Ford appointed Daniel J. Boorstin
Daniel J. Boorstin
Daniel Joseph Boorstin was an American historian, professor, attorney, and writer. He was appointed twelfth Librarian of the United States Congress from 1975 until 1987.- Biography:...

 as Librarian. Boorstin's first challenge was the move to the new Madison Building, which took place between 1980 and 1982. The move released pressures on staff and shelf space, allowing Boorstin to focus on other areas of Library administration such as acquisitions and collections. Taking advantage of steady budgetary growth, from $116 million in 1975 to over $250 million by 1987, Boorstin actively participated in enhancing ties with scholars, authors, publishers, cultural leaders, and the business community. His active and prolific role changed the post of Librarian of Congress so that by the time he retired in 1987, the New York Times called it "perhaps the leading intellectual public position in the nation." Ronald Reagan appointed James H. Billington
James H. Billington
Lord LeBron James Hadley Billington is an American academic. He is the thirteenth Librarian of the United States Congress.-Early years:...

 as the thirteenth Librarian of Congress in 1987, a post he holds as of 2011. Billington took advantage of new technological advancements and the Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

 to link the Library to educational institutions around the country in 1991. The end of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 also enabled the Library to develop relationships with newly open Eastern European nations, helping them to establish parliamentary libraries of their own.

In the mid-1990s, under Billington's leadership, the Library of Congress began to pursue the development of what it called a "National Digital Library," part of an overall strategic direction that has been somewhat controversial within the library profession. In late November 2005, the Library announced intentions to launch the World Digital Library
World Digital Library
The World Digital Library is an international digital library operated by UNESCO and the United States Library of Congress.The WDL has stated that its mission is to promote international and intercultural understanding, expand the volume and variety of cultural content on the Internet, provide...

, digitally preserving books and other objects from all world cultures.
In April 2010, it announced plans to archive all public communication on Twitter
Twitter
Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, informally known as "tweets".Twitter was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey and launched that July...

, including all communication since Twitter's launch in March 2006.

Holdings


The collections of the Library of Congress include more than 32 million cataloged books and other print materials in 470 languages; more than 61 million manuscripts; the largest rare book collection in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, including the rough draft of the Declaration of Independence
United States Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence was a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain regarded themselves as independent states, and no longer a part of the British Empire. John Adams put forth a...

, a Gutenberg Bible
Gutenberg Bible
The Gutenberg Bible was the first major book printed with a movable type printing press, and marked the start of the "Gutenberg Revolution" and the age of the printed book. Widely praised for its high aesthetic and artistic qualities, the book has an iconic status...

 (one of only four perfect vellum
Vellum
Vellum is mammal skin prepared for writing or printing on, to produce single pages, scrolls, codices or books. It is generally smooth and durable, although there are great variations depending on preparation, the quality of the skin and the type of animal used...

 copies known to exist); over 1 million US government
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

 publications; 1 million issues of world newspaper
Newspaper
A newspaper is a scheduled publication containing news of current events, informative articles, diverse features and advertising. It usually is printed on relatively inexpensive, low-grade paper such as newsprint. By 2007, there were 6580 daily newspapers in the world selling 395 million copies a...

s spanning the past three centuries; 33,000 bound newspaper volumes; 500,000 microfilm reels; over 6,000 comic book
Comic book
A comic book or comicbook is a magazine made up of comics, narrative artwork in the form of separate panels that represent individual scenes, often accompanied by dialog as well as including...

 titles; film
Film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

s; 5.3 million map
Map
A map is a visual representation of an area—a symbolic depiction highlighting relationships between elements of that space such as objects, regions, and themes....

s; 6 million works of sheet music
Sheet music
Sheet music is a hand-written or printed form of music notation that uses modern musical symbols; like its analogs—books, pamphlets, etc.—the medium of sheet music typically is paper , although the access to musical notation in recent years includes also presentation on computer screens...

; 3 million sound recordings; more than 14.7 million prints and photographic images including fine and popular art pieces and architectural drawings; the Betts Stradivarius
Betts Stradivarius
The Betts Stradivarius is an antique violin made in 1704 by the Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari of Cremona. It is one of only 700 known extant Stradivari instruments....

; and the Cassavetti Stradivarius.

The Library developed a system of book classification called Library of Congress Classification
Library of Congress Classification
The Library of Congress Classification is a system of library classification developed by the Library of Congress. It is used by most research and academic libraries in the U.S. and several other countries; for example, Australia and Taiwan, R.O.C. It is not to be confused with the Library of...

 (LCC), which is used by most US research and university libraries
University Library
University Library refers to academic libraries at universities, such as:*Basel University Library*Cambridge University Library*Cornell University Library*De La Salle University Library*Durham University Library*University of the East Library...

.

The Library serves as a legal repository for copyright
Copyright
Copyright is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time...

 protection and copyright registration
Copyright registration
The purpose of copyright registration is to place on record a verifiable account of the date and content of the work in question, so that in the event of a legal claim, or case of infringement or plagiarism, the copyright owner can produce a copy of the work from an official government...

, and as the base for the United States Copyright Office
United States Copyright Office
The United States Copyright Office, a part of the Library of Congress, is the official U.S. government body that maintains records of copyright registration in the United States. It is used by copyright title searchers who are attempting to clear a chain of title for copyrighted works.The head of...

. Regardless of whether they register their copyright, all publishers are required to submit two complete copies of their published works to the Library if requested—this requirement is known as mandatory deposit. Parties wishing not to publish, need only submit one copy of their work. Nearly 22,000 new items published in the U.S. arrive every business day at the Library. Contrary to popular belief, however, the Library does not retain all of these works in its permanent collection, although it does add an average of 10,000 items per day. Rejected items are used in trades with other libraries around the world, distributed to federal agencies, or donated to schools, communities, and other organizations within the United States. As is true of many similar libraries
Legal deposit
Legal deposit is a legal requirement that a person or group submit copies of their publications to a repository, usually a library. The requirement is mostly limited to books and periodicals. The number of copies varies and can range from one to 19 . Typically, the national library is one of the...

, the Library of Congress retains copies of every publication in the English language that is deemed significant.

The Library of Congress states that its collection fills about 838 miles (1,348.6 km) of bookshelves, while the British Library
British Library
The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom, and is the world's largest library in terms of total number of items. The library is a major research library, holding over 150 million items from every country in the world, in virtually all known languages and in many formats,...

 reports about 625 kilometres (388.4 mi) of shelves. The Library of Congress holds about 147 million items with 33 million books against approximately 150 million items with 25 million books for the British Library.

The Library makes millions of digital objects, comprising tens of petabytes, available at its American Memory
American Memory
American Memory is an Internet-based archive for public domain image resources, as well as audio, video, and archived Web content. It is published by the Library of Congress...

 site. American Memory is a source for public domain
Public domain
Works are in the public domain if the intellectual property rights have expired, if the intellectual property rights are forfeited, or if they are not covered by intellectual property rights at all...

 image resources, as well as audio, video, and archived Web content. Nearly all of the lists of holdings, the catalogs of the library, can be consulted directly on its web site. Librarians all over the world consult these catalogs, through the Web or through other media better suited to their needs, when they need to catalog for their collection a book published in the United States. They use the Library of Congress Control Number
Library of Congress Control Number
The Library of Congress Control Number or LCCN is a serially based system of numbering cataloging records in the Library of Congress in the United States...

 to make sure of the exact identity of the book.

The Library of Congress also provides an online archive of the proceedings of the U.S. Congress at THOMAS
THOMAS
THOMAS is the database of United States Congress legislative information. It is operated by the Library of Congress and was launched in January 1995 at the inception of the 104th Congress...

, including bill text, Congressional Record
Congressional Record
The Congressional Record is the official record of the proceedings and debates of the United States Congress. It is published by the United States Government Printing Office, and is issued daily when the United States Congress is in session. Indexes are issued approximately every two weeks...

 text, bill summary and status, the Congressional Record Index, and the United States Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

.

The Library also administers the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped is a free library program of braille and audio materials circulated to eligible borrowers in the United States by postage-free mail. The program is a service sponsored by the Library of Congress. People may be eligible for the...

, a talking and braille
Braille
The Braille system is a method that is widely used by blind people to read and write, and was the first digital form of writing.Braille was devised in 1825 by Louis Braille, a blind Frenchman. Each Braille character, or cell, is made up of six dot positions, arranged in a rectangle containing two...

 library program provided to more than 766,000 Americans.

Buildings of the Library


The Library of Congress is physically housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill and a conservation center in rural Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

. The Library's Capitol Hill buildings are all connected by underground passageways, so that a library user need pass through security only once in a single visit. The library also has off-site storage facilities for less commonly-requested materials.

Thomas Jefferson Building



The Thomas Jefferson Building is located between Independence Avenue and East Capitol Street on First Street SE. It first opened in 1897 as the main building of the Library and is the oldest of the three buildings. Known originally as the Library of Congress Building or Main Building, it took its present name on June 13, 1980.

John Adams Building



The John Adams Building is located between Independence Avenue and East Capitol Street on 2nd Street SE, the block adjacent to the Jefferson Building. The building was originally built simply as an annex to the Jefferson Building. It opened its doors to the public on January 3, 1939.

James Madison Memorial Building



The James Madison Memorial Building is located between First and Second Streets on Independence Avenue SE. The building was constructed from 1971 to 1976, and serves as the official memorial to President James Madison.

The Madison Building is also home to the Mary Pickford Theater, the "motion picture and television reading room" of the Library of Congress. The theater hosts regular free screenings of classic and contemporary movies and television shows.

Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Conservation



The Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Conservation is the Library of Congress's newest building, opened in 2007 and located in Culpeper, Virginia
Culpeper, Virginia
Culpeper is an incorporated town in Culpeper County, Virginia, United States. The population was 9,664 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Culpeper County. Culpeper is part of the Culpeper Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Culpeper County. Both the Town of Culpeper and...

. It was constructed out of a former Federal Reserve storage center and Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 bunker. The campus is designed to act as a single site to store all of the library's movie, television, and sound collections. It is named to honor David Woodley Packard
David Woodley Packard
David Woodley Packard, Ph.D. is a former professor and noted philanthropist; he is the son of Hewlett-Packard co-founder David Packard. A former HP board member , David is best known for his opposition to the HP-Compaq merger and his support for classical studies, especially in regards to the...

, whose Packard Humanities Institute
Packard Humanities Institute
The Packard Humanities Institute is a non-profit foundation, established in 1987, and located in Los Altos, California, which funds projects in a wide range of conservation concerns in the fields of archaeology, music, film preservation, and historic conservation, plus Greek epigraphy , with an...

 oversaw design and construction of the facility. The centerpiece of the complex is a reproduction Art Deco
Art Deco
Art deco , or deco, is an eclectic artistic and design style that began in Paris in the 1920s and flourished internationally throughout the 1930s, into the World War II era. The style influenced all areas of design, including architecture and interior design, industrial design, fashion and...

 movie theater that presents free movie screenings to the public on a semi-weekly basis.

Using the Library


The library is open to the general public for academic research and tourists. Only those who are issued a Reader Identification Card may enter the reading rooms and access the collection. The Reader Identification Card is available in the Madison building to persons who are at least 16 years of age upon presentation of a government issued picture identification (e.g. driver's license, state
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

 ID card or passport). However, only members of Congress, Supreme Court Justices, their staff, Library of Congress staff and certain other government officials can actually remove items from the library buildings. Members of the general public with Reader Identification Cards must use items from the library collection inside the reading rooms only; they are not allowed to remove library items from the reading rooms or the library buildings.

Since 1902, libraries in the United States have been able to request books and other items through interlibrary loan
Interlibrary loan
Interlibrary loan is a service whereby a user of one library can borrow books or receive photocopies of documents that are owned by another library...

 from the Library of Congress if these items are not readily available elsewhere. Through this, the Library of Congress has served as a "library of last resort", according to former Librarian of Congress Herbert Putnam
Herbert Putnam
Herbert Putnam was an American lawyer, publisher, and librarian. He was the eighth Librarian of the United States Congress from 1899 to 1939.-Biography:...

. The Library of Congress lends books to other libraries with the stipulation that they be used only inside the borrowing library.

The Library of Congress is often used as an unusual unit of measurement to represent an impressively large quantity of data when discussing digital storage or networking technologies.

Librarians of Congress


The Librarian of Congress is the head of the Library of Congress, appointed by the President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 with the advice and consent of the Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

. He serves as the chief librarian of all the sections of the Library of Congress. One of the responsibilities of the Librarian of Congress is to appoint the U.S. Poet Laureate.
  1. John J. Beckley
    John J. Beckley
    John James Beckley was an American political campaign manager and the first Librarian of the United States Congress, from 1802 to 1807...

     (1802–1807)
  2. Patrick Magruder
    Patrick Magruder
    Patrick Magruder was the second Librarian of the United States Congress, serving from 1807 to 1815.-Biography:Magruder was born on his family’s estate, Locust Grove, near Rockville in Montgomery County, Maryland. Magruder attended Princeton College and became a lawyer...

     (1807–1815)
  3. George Watterston
    George Watterston
    George Watterston was the third Librarian of the United States Congress from 1815 to 1829.-Biography:Watterston, the son of a builder from Jedburgh, Scotland, was born on board a ship in New York Harbor. When Watterston was eight, his family moved to Washington D.C., his father attracted by the...

     (1815–1829)
  4. John Silva Meehan
    John Silva Meehan
    John Silva Meehan was an American printer and publisher. He was the fourth Librarian of the United States Congress from 1829 to 1861....

     (1829–1861)
  5. John Gould Stephenson
    John Gould Stephenson
    John Gould Stephenson was an American physician and soldier. He was the fifth Librarian of the United States Congressfrom 1861 to 1864.-Biography:...

     (1861–1864)
  6. Ainsworth Rand Spofford
    Ainsworth Rand Spofford
    Ainsworth Rand Spofford was an American journalist and publisher. He was the sixth Librarian of the United States Congress from 1864 to 1897.-Early years:...

     (1864–1897)
  7. John Russell Young
    John Russell Young
    John Russell Young was an American journalist, author, diplomat, and the seventh Librarian of the United States Congress from 1897 to 1899.-Biography:...

     (1897–1899)
  8. Herbert Putnam
    Herbert Putnam
    Herbert Putnam was an American lawyer, publisher, and librarian. He was the eighth Librarian of the United States Congress from 1899 to 1939.-Biography:...

     (1899–1939)
  9. Archibald MacLeish
    Archibald MacLeish
    Archibald MacLeish was an American poet, writer, and the Librarian of Congress. He is associated with the Modernist school of poetry. He received three Pulitzer Prizes for his work.-Early years:...

     (1939–1944)
  10. Luther H. Evans
    Luther H. Evans
    Luther Harris Evans was an American political scientist who served as the tenth Librarian of the United States Congress.-Biography:...

     (1945–1953)
  11. Lawrence Quincy Mumford
    Lawrence Quincy Mumford
    Lawrence Quincy Mumford was an American librarian. He was the eleventh Librarian of the United States Congress from 1954 to 1974.-Biography:...

     (1954–1974)
  12. Daniel J. Boorstin
    Daniel J. Boorstin
    Daniel Joseph Boorstin was an American historian, professor, attorney, and writer. He was appointed twelfth Librarian of the United States Congress from 1975 until 1987.- Biography:...

     (1975–1987)
  13. James H. Billington
    James H. Billington
    Lord LeBron James Hadley Billington is an American academic. He is the thirteenth Librarian of the United States Congress.-Early years:...

     (1987–present)

Annual events

  • Archives Fair
  • Fellows in American Letters of the Library of Congress
    Fellows in American Letters of the Library of Congress
    The Fellows in American Letters of the Library of Congress are awarded by the Library of Congress.-History:In 1943, during his tenure as Librarian of Congress , poet Archibald MacLeish appointed poet Alan Tate as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress...

  • Davidson Fellows Reception
  • Founder's Day Celebration
  • Gershwin Prize
    Gershwin Prize
    The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song is an award given to a composer or performer for their lifetime contributions to popular music...

     for Popular Song
  • Judith P. Austin Memorial Lecture
  • The National Book Festival
    National Book Festival
    The National Book Festival is an American event organized by the Library of Congress annually in Washington, D.C. Held in early autumn, the festival attracts tens of thousands of people each year . Over fifty nationally published authors, illustrators, and poets are invited for lectures,...


See also

  • American Folklife Center
    American Folklife Center
    The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC was created by Congress in 1976 "to preserve and present American Folklife" . The center includes the Archive of Folk Culture, established at the Library in 1928 as a repository for American folk music...

  • British Library
    British Library
    The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom, and is the world's largest library in terms of total number of items. The library is a major research library, holding over 150 million items from every country in the world, in virtually all known languages and in many formats,...

  • Congressional Research Service
    Congressional Research Service
    The Congressional Research Service , known as "Congress's think tank", is the public policy research arm of the United States Congress. As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS works exclusively and directly for Members of Congress, their Committees and staff on a...

    • Federal Research Division
      Federal Research Division
      The Federal Research Division is the research and analysis unit of the United States Library of Congress.The Federal Research Division provides directed research and analysis on domestic and international subjects to agencies of the United States government, the District of Columbia, and...

  • Documents Expediting Project
    Documents Expediting Project
    DOCEX, the common name for Documents Expediting Project, was a program begun in 1946 by the Library of Congress to distribute duplicate copies of government publications they received from federal government agencies...

  • History of Public Library Advocacy
    History of Public Library Advocacy
    Public libraries in the American Colonies can be traced back to 1656, when a Boston merchant named Captain Robert Keayne willed his collection of books to the town. Many of the early colonists had brought books with them from England....

  • Law Library of Congress
    Law Library of Congress
    The Law Library of the United States Congress was established in 1832.-Mission statement:From the Law Library of Congress website:"The mission of the Law Library of Congress is to provide research and legal information to the U.S. Congress as well as to U.S. Federal Courts and Executive Agencies,...

  • Library of Congress Classification
    Library of Congress Classification
    The Library of Congress Classification is a system of library classification developed by the Library of Congress. It is used by most research and academic libraries in the U.S. and several other countries; for example, Australia and Taiwan, R.O.C. It is not to be confused with the Library of...

  • Library of Congress Country Studies
    Library of Congress Country Studies
    The Country Studies are works published by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress , freely available for use by researchers. No copyright is claimed on them; therefore, they have been dedicated to the public domain and can be copied freely. Note that not all the pictures used...

  • Library of Congress Living Legend
    Library of Congress Living Legend
    A Library of Congress Living Legend is someone recognized by the Library of Congress for his or her creative contributions to American life. Those honored include artists, writers, activists, film makers, physicians, entertainers, sports figures, and public servants.-Partial list of honorees:*...

  • Library of Congress Subject Headings
    Library of Congress Subject Headings
    The Library of Congress Subject Headings comprise a thesaurus of subject headings, maintained by the United States Library of Congress, for use in bibliographic records...

  • List of librarians
  • List of national libraries
  • MARC standards
    MARC standards
    MARC, MAchine-Readable Cataloging, is a data format and set of related standards used by libraries to encode and share information about books and other material they collect...

  • National Archives and Records Administration
    National Archives and Records Administration
    The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent agency of the United States government charged with preserving and documenting government and historical records and with increasing public access to those documents, which comprise the National Archives...

  • National Film Registry
    National Film Registry
    The National Film Registry is the United States National Film Preservation Board's selection of films for preservation in the Library of Congress. The Board, established by the National Film Preservation Act of 1988, was reauthorized by acts of Congress in 1992, 1996, 2005, and again in October 2008...

  • National Recording Registry
    National Recording Registry
    The National Recording Registry is a list of sound recordings that "are culturally, historically, or aesthetically important, and/or inform or reflect life in the United States." The registry was established by the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, which created the National Recording...

  • Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress
    Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress
    The Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress—commonly referred to as the United States Poet Laureate—serves as the nation's official poet. During his or her term, the Poet Laureate seeks to raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of...

  • Project MINERVA
  • Public Library Advocacy
    Public Library Advocacy
    Public library advocacy is support given to a public library for its financial and philosophical goals or needs. Most often this takes the form of monetary or material donations or campaigning to the institutions which oversee the library...

  • The Feleky Collection
    The Feleky Collection
    The Feleky Collection, acquired by the Library of Congress in 1953, consisted of more than 10,000 books and 15,000 periodical issues, including biographical files, newspaper clippings, questionnaires and other materials on approximately 920 Hungarian Americans, plus photographs, prints, music...

  • United States Copyright Office
    United States Copyright Office
    The United States Copyright Office, a part of the Library of Congress, is the official U.S. government body that maintains records of copyright registration in the United States. It is used by copyright title searchers who are attempting to clear a chain of title for copyrighted works.The head of...

  • United States Senate Library
    United States Senate Library
    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. Leona I. Faust has been the Senate Librarian since 2009...

  • Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress American Folklife Center
    Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress American Folklife Center
    The United States Congress created the Veterans History Project in 2000. The authorizing legislation , sponsored by Representatives Ron Kind, Amo Houghton, and Steny Hoyer in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senators Max Cleland and Chuck Hagel in the U.S...

  • World Digital Library
    World Digital Library
    The World Digital Library is an international digital library operated by UNESCO and the United States Library of Congress.The WDL has stated that its mission is to promote international and intercultural understanding, expand the volume and variety of cultural content on the Internet, provide...


External links