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Admin On January - 9 - 2014

Library of Congress

The Library of Congress was established on April 24, 1800, Thomas Jefferson 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. Library_of_CongressThe Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States of America, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in four buildings in Washington, D.C., as well as the Packard Campus in Culpeper, Virginia, it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and number of books. The head of the Library is the Librarian of Congress, currently James H. Billington.

The Library of Congress was instituted for Congress in 1800, and was housed in the United States Capitol for most of the 19th century. After much of the original collection had been destroyed during the War of 1812, Thomas Jefferson 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, 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. As the de facto national library, the Library of Congress promotes literacy and American literature through projects such as the American Folklife Center, American Memory, Center for the Book and Poet Laureate.

The Library of Congress is physically housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill and a conservation center in rural Virginia. 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.

Buildings of Library of Congress

  • Thomas Jefferson Building: It first opened in 1897 as the main building of the Library
  • John Adams Building: It opened its doors to the public on January 3, 1939.
  • James Madison Memorial Building: 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.

Librarian of Congress

The Librarian of Congress is the head of the Library of Congress, appointed by the President of the United States with the advice and consent of the Senate, and 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.

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Categories: Library Science

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