HOME

TheInfoList




The Library of Congress (LC) is the research
library A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order to meet the user's needs on a daily basis. A library provid ...

library
that officially serves the
United States Congress The United States Congress is the legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with ...

United States Congress
and is the ''
de facto ''De facto'' ( ; , "in fact") describes practices that exist in reality, even though they are not officially recognized by laws. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with ''de jure'' ("by law"), which refers to th ...
''
national library A national library is a library established by a government as a country's preeminent repository of information. Unlike public library, public libraries, these rarely allow citizens to borrow books. Often, they include numerous rare, valuable, or ...

national library
of the United States. It is the oldest federal
cultural institution A cultural institution or cultural organization is an organization within a culture/subculture that works for the preservation or promotion of culture. The term is especially used of public and charitable organizations, but its range of meaning can ...
in the United States. The library is housed in three buildings on
Capitol Hill Capitol Hill, in addition to being a metonym for the United States Congress, is the largest historic residential neighborhoods in Washington, D.C., neighborhood in Washington, D.C., stretching easterly in front of the United States Capitol along ...

Capitol Hill
in
Washington, D.C. ) , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockwise from top left: the Washington Monument The Washington Monument is an obelisk within the National Mall The National Mall is a Landscape architecture, landscaped ...
; it also maintains a conservation center in
Culpeper, Virginia Culpeper (formerly Culpeper Courthouse, earlier Fairfax) is the only incorporated town in Culpeper County, Virginia Virginia (), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atla ...
. The library's functions are overseen by the
Librarian of Congress The librarian of Congress is the head of the Library of Congress The Library of Congress (LC) is the research library that officially serves the United States Congress and is the '' de facto'' national library of the United States. It is ...
, and its buildings are maintained by the
Architect of the Capitol The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) is the Federal government of the United States, federal Government agency, agency responsible for the maintenance, operation, development, and preservation of the United States Capitol Complex. It is an agency of ...
. The Library of Congress is one of the largest libraries in the world. Its "collections are universal, not limited by subject, format, or national boundary, and include research materials from all parts of the world and in more than 450 languages." Congress moved to Washington, D.C., in 1800 after holding sessions for 11 years in the temporary national capitals in
New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of ...

New York City
and
Philadelphia Philadelphia (colloquially known simply as Philly) is the largest city in the Commonwealth (U.S. state), Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the United States. It is the List of United States cities by population, sixth-most-populous city in the ...

Philadelphia
. In both cities, members of the U.S. Congress had access to the sizable collections of the
New York Society Library The New York Society Library (NYSL) is the oldest cultural institution in New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States cities by population, most populous city in the United States. With an e ...

New York Society Library
and the
Library Company of Philadelphia The Library Company of Philadelphia (LCP) is a non-profit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a c ...

Library Company of Philadelphia
. The small Congressional Library was housed in the
United States Capitol The United States Capitol, often called The Capitol or the Capitol Building, is the meeting place of the and the of the of the . It is located on at the eastern end of the in Though no longer at the geographic center of the , the Capitol ...

United States Capitol
for most of the 19th century until the early 1890s. Most of the original collection was
burnt Burned or burnt may refer to: * Anything which has undergone combustion * Burned (image), quality of an image transformed with loss of detail in all portions lighter than some limit, and/or those darker than some limit * Burnt (film), ''Burnt'' (fi ...
by the British during the
War of 1812 The War of 1812 (18 June 1812 – 17 February 1815) was a conflict fought by the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country in . It ...
, with the library beginning efforts to restore its collection in 1815. The library purchased
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and who served as the third from 1801 to 1809. He had previously served as the second under and as the first under ...

Thomas Jefferson
's entire personal collection of 6,487 books, and its collection slowly expanded in the following years, although it suffered another fire in its Capitol chambers in 1851. This destroyed a large amount of the collection, including many of Jefferson's books. After the
American Civil War The American Civil War (also known by Names of the American Civil War, other names) was a civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865, fought between northern U.S. state, states loyal to the Union (American Civil War), Union and sout ...
, the importance of the Library of Congress increased with its growth, and there was a campaign to purchase replacement copies for volumes that had been burned. The library received the right of transference of all copyrighted works to deposit two copies of books, maps, illustrations, and diagrams printed in the United States. It also began to build its collections. Its development culminated between 1888 and 1894 with the construction of its own separate, large library building across the street from the Capitol. Two additional buildings have been constructed nearby to hold collections and provide services, one in the 1930s and one in the 1970s. The library's primary mission is to research inquiries made by members of Congress, which is carried out through the
Congressional Research Service The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a public policy Public policy is an institutionalized proposal to solve relevant and real-world problems, guided by a conception and implemented by programs as a course of action created and/or enact ...

Congressional Research Service
. It also houses and oversees the
United States Copyright Office The United States Copyright Office (sometimes abbreviated USCO), a part of the Library of Congress The Library of Congress (LC) is the research library A library is a curated collection of sources of information and similar resou ...
. The library is open to the public for research, although only high-ranking government officials and library employees may check out (i.e., remove from the premises) books and materials.


History


1800–1851: Origin and Jefferson's contribution

James Madison James Madison Jr. (March 16, 1751June 28, 1836) was an American statesman, diplomat, expansionist, philosopher, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited wi ...

James Madison
of
Virginia Virginia (), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a in the and regions of the , between the and the . The geography and climate of the are shaped by the and the , which provide habitat for much of its flora and fauna. The capit ...

Virginia
is credited with the idea of creating a congressional library, first making such a proposition in 1783.Murray, Stuart. The Library: An Illustrated History (New York, Skyhouse Publishing, 2012): 155. The Library of Congress was subsequently established on April 24, 1800, when President
John Adams John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific stud ...

John Adams
signed an act of Congress also providing for the transfer of the seat of government from
Philadelphia Philadelphia (colloquially known simply as Philly) is the largest city in the Commonwealth (U.S. state), Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the United States. It is the List of United States cities by population, sixth-most-populous city in the ...

Philadelphia
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, and the collection consisted of 740 books and three maps, which were housed in the new
United States Capitol The United States Capitol, often called The Capitol or the Capitol Building, is the meeting place of the and the of the of the . It is located on at the eastern end of the in Though no longer at the geographic center of the , the Capitol ...

United States Capitol
. President
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and who served as the third from 1801 to 1809. He had previously served as the second under and as the first under ...

Thomas Jefferson
played an important role in establishing the structure of the Library of Congress. On January 26, 1802, he signed a bill that allowed the president to appoint the
librarian of Congress The librarian of Congress is the head of the Library of Congress The Library of Congress (LC) is the research library that officially serves the United States Congress and is the '' de facto'' national library of the United States. It is ...
and establishing a
Joint Committee on the LibraryThe Joint Committee on the Library is a Joint Committee of the United States Congress devoted to the affairs and administration of the Library of Congress The Library of Congress (LC) is the research library that officially serves the United ...
to regulate and oversee it. The new law also extended borrowing privileges to the president and vice president. In August 1814, after routing an American militia at Bladensburg, the
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and common culture * British English, ...

British
bloodlessly occupied Washington, D.C. In retaliation for the American destruction of Port Dover, the British ordered the destruction of numerous public buildings in the city. British troops burned the Library of Congress, including its collection of 3,000 volumes. These volumes had been held in the Senate wing of the Capitol. One of the few congressional volumes to survive was a government account book of receipts and expenditures for 1810. It was taken as a souvenir by British naval officer Sir George Cockburn, whose family returned it to the United States government in 1940. Within a month, Thomas Jefferson offered to sell his large personal library as a replacement. Congress accepted his offer in January 1815, appropriating $23,950 to purchase his 6,487 books. Some members of the House of Representatives opposed the outright purchase, including New Hampshire representative
Daniel Webster Daniel Webster (January 18, 1782 – October 24, 1852) was an American lawyer and statesman who represented New Hampshire New Hampshire ( ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a ...

Daniel Webster
. He wanted to return "all books of an atheistical, irreligious, and immoral tendency". Jefferson had spent 50 years accumulating a wide variety of books in several languages, and on subjects such as philosophy, history, law, religion, architecture, travel, natural sciences, mathematics, studies of classical Greece and Rome, modern inventions, hot air balloons, music, submarines, fossils, agriculture, and meteorology. He had also collected books on topics not normally viewed as part of a legislative library, such as cookbooks. But, he believed that all subjects had a place in the Library of Congress. He remarked:
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.
Jefferson's collection was unique in that it was the working collection of a scholar, not a gentleman's collection for display. With the addition of his collection, which doubled the size of the original library, the Library of Congress was transformed from a specialist's library to a more general one. His original collection was organized into a scheme based on
Francis Bacon Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban, (; 22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626), also known as Lord Verulam, was an English philosopher and statesman who served as Attorney General for England and Wales, Attorney General and as Lord Chancellor of K ...

Francis Bacon
's organization of knowledge. Specifically, Jefferson had grouped his books into Memory, Reason, and Imagination, and broke them into 44 more subdivisions. The library followed Jefferson's organization scheme until the late 19th century, when librarian
Herbert Putnam George Herbert Putnam (September 20, 1861 – August 14, 1955) was an American librarian. He was the eighth (and also the longest-serving) Librarian of Congress from 1899 to 1939. He implemented his vision of a universal collection with strength ...
began work on a more flexible Library of Congress Classification structure. This now applies to more than 138 million items.


1851–1865: Weakening

On December 24, 1851, the largest fire in the library's history destroyed 35,000 books, about two–thirds of the library's collection and two-thirds of Jefferson's original transfer. Congress appropriated $168,700 to replace the lost books in 1852 but not to acquire new materials (By 2008, the librarians of Congress had found replacements for all but 300 of the works that had been documented as being in Jefferson's original collection.) This marked the start of a conservative period in the library's administration by librarian John Silva Meehan and joint committee chairman James A. Pearce, who restricted the library's activities. Meehan and Pearce's views about a restricted scope for the Library of Congress reflected those shared by members of Congress. While Meehan was librarian, he supported and perpetuated the notion that "the congressional library should play a limited role on the national scene and that its collections, by and large, should emphasize American materials of obvious use to the U.S. Congress." In 1859, Congress transferred the library's public document distribution activities to the
Department of the Interior The United States Department of the Interior (DOI) is a federal executive department of the Federal government of the United States, U.S. government. It is responsible for the management and conservation of most federal lands and natural resource ...
and its international book exchange program to the
Department of State The United States Department of State (DOS), or State Department, is an executive department of the U.S. federal government responsible for the nation's foreign policy ''Foreign Policy'' is an American news publication, founded in 1970 and ...
. During the 1850s,
Smithsonian Institution The Smithsonian Institution ( ), or simply, the Smithsonian, is a group of museums and education and research centers, the largest such complex in the world, created by the U.S. government "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge". Founded ...

Smithsonian Institution
librarian
Charles Coffin Jewett Charles Coffin Jewett (August 12, 1816 – January 9, 1868) was an American librarian, in 1848 becoming the Librarian and Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution before being appointed Superintendent of the Boston Public Library in 18 ...
aggressively tried to develop the Smithsonian as the United States' national library. His efforts were blocked by Smithsonian secretary
Joseph Henry Joseph Henry (December 17, 1797 – May 13, 1878) was an American scientist who served as the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution The Smithsonian Institution ( ), or simply, the Smithsonian, is a group of museums and educat ...

Joseph Henry
, who advocated a focus on scientific research and publication. To reinforce his intentions for the Smithsonian, Henry established laboratories, developed a robust physical sciences library, and started the '' Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge'', the first of many publications intended to disseminate research results. For Henry, the Library of Congress was the obvious choice as the national library. Unable to resolve the conflict, Henry dismissed Jewett in July 1854. In 1865 the Smithsonian building, also called the Castle due to its Norman architectural style, was severely damaged by fire. This incident presented Henry with an opportunity related to the Smithsonian's non-scientific library. Around this time, the Library of Congress was making plans to build and relocate to the new
Thomas Jefferson Building The oldest of the four United States Library of Congress The Library of Congress (LC) is the research library that officially serves the United States Congress and is the '' de facto'' national library of the United States. It is the olde ...
, designed to be fireproof. Authorized by an act of Congress, Henry transferred the Smithsonian's non-scientific library of 40,000 volumes to the Library of Congress in 1866. President
Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln (; February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American statesman and lawyer who served as the 16th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of governme ...

Abraham Lincoln
appointed John G. Stephenson as librarian of Congress in 1861; the appointment is regarded as the most political to date. Stephenson was a physician and spent equal time serving as librarian and as a physician in the Union Army. He could manage this division of interest because he hired
Ainsworth Rand Spofford Ainsworth Rand Spofford (September 12, 1825 – August 11, 1908) was an American journalist and the sixth Librarian of Congress The librarian of Congress is the head of the Library of Congress The Library of Congress (LC) is the research ...

Ainsworth Rand Spofford
as his assistant. Despite his new job, Stephenson focused on the war. Three weeks into his term as Librarian of Congress, he left Washington, D.C. to serve as a volunteer aide-de-camp at the battles of and
GettysburgGettysburg may refer to: Events * Gettysburg Campaign, a series of American Civil War military engagements in the Main Eastern Theater. ** Battle of Gettysburg, July 1–3 military engagements during the 1863 Gettysburg Campaign ** Retreat from Get ...

Gettysburg
during the
American Civil War The American Civil War (also known by Names of the American Civil War, other names) was a civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865, fought between northern U.S. state, states loyal to the Union (American Civil War), Union and sout ...
. Stephenson's hiring of Spofford, who directed the library in his absence, may have been his most significant achievement.


1865–1897: Spofford's expansion

Librarian
Ainsworth Rand Spofford Ainsworth Rand Spofford (September 12, 1825 – August 11, 1908) was an American journalist and the sixth Librarian of Congress The librarian of Congress is the head of the Library of Congress The Library of Congress (LC) is the research ...

Ainsworth Rand Spofford
, who directed the Library of Congress from 1865 to 1897, built broad bipartisan support to develop it as a national library and a legislative resource. He was aided by expansion of the federal government after the war and a favorable political climate. He began comprehensively collecting
Americana Americana artifacts are related to the history, geography, folklore and cultural heritage of the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a ...

Americana
and
American literature American literature is literature Literature broadly is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In ...
, 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 The oldest of the four United States Library of Congress The Library of Congress (LC) is the research library that officially serves the United States Congress and is the '' de facto'' national library of the United States. It is the olde ...
, placed all copyright registration and deposit activities under the library's control, and restored the international book exchange. The library also acquired the vast libraries of the Smithsonian and of historian
Peter Force Peter Force  (November 26, 1790 – January 23, 1868)  was an American politician, newspaper editor, printer, archivist, and early American historian. He was twice elected the twelfth Mayor of the District of Columbia, Mayor of Washington ...
, strengthening its scientific and Americana collections significantly. By 1876, the Library of Congress had 300,000 volumes; it was tied with the
Boston Public Library The Boston Public Library is a municipal public library system in Boston, Massachusetts, United States, founded in 1848. The Boston Public Library is also the Library for the Commonwealth (formerly ''library of last recourse'') of the Commonwealth ...

Boston Public Library
as the nation's largest library. It moved from the Capitol building to its new headquarters in 1897 with more than 840,000 volumes, 40 percent of which had been acquired through copyright deposit. A year before the library's relocation, the Joint Library Committee held 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 The American Library Association (ALA) is a nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a ...
testified that the library should continue its expansion to become a true national library. Based on the hearings, Congress authorized a budget that allowed the library to more than double its staff, from 42 to 108 persons. Senators Justin Morrill of Vermont and Daniel W. Voorhees of Indiana were particularly helpful to gaining this support. The library also established new administrative units for all aspects of the collection. In its bill, Congress strengthened the role of Librarian of Congress: it became responsible to govern the library and make staff appointments. As with presidential Cabinet appointments, the Senate was required to approve presidential appointees to the position.


1897–1939: Post-reorganization

With this support and the 1897 reorganization, the Library of Congress began to grow and develop more rapidly. Spofford's successor
John Russell Young John Russell Young (November 20, 1840 – January 17, 1899) was an American journalist, author, diplomat, and the seventh Librarian A librarian is a person who works professionally in a library A library is a curated collection of source ...

John Russell Young
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 Blind may refer to: * The state of Visual impairment, blindness, being unable to see * A window blind, a covering for a window Blind may also refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Films * Blind (2007 film), ''Blind'' (2007 film), a 2007 Dut ...
and physically disabled. Young's successor
Herbert Putnam George Herbert Putnam (September 20, 1861 – August 14, 1955) was an American librarian. He was the eighth (and also the longest-serving) Librarian of Congress from 1899 to 1939. He implemented his vision of a universal collection with strength ...
held the office for forty years from 1899 to 1939. Two years after he took office, the library became the first in the United States to hold one million volumes. Putnam focused his efforts to make 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 In the study of history History (from Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study of the past. Events occurring before the invention of writing systems are considered prehistory. "History" is ...
for the benefit of scholars. During Putnam's tenure, the library broadened the diversity of its acquisitions. In 1903, Putnam persuaded President
Theodore Roosevelt Theodore Roosevelt Jr. ( ; October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919), often referred to as Teddy or his initials T. R., was an American politician, statesman, conservationist, naturalist, historian, and writer who served as the 26th president o ...

Theodore Roosevelt
to use executive order to transfer the papers of the
Founding Fathers The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited with establishing their nation. National founders are typically those who played an influential role in setting up the systems of governance, ...
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__NOTOC__ Indica is classical Greek and Latin for "of India". It may refer to: Indian Species plant for example Mangifera indica (Mango tree) or Azadirachta indica (Neem tree) Historical ethnographic accounts of India * Indica (Arrian), ''Indica' ...
, the 1906 purchase of G. V. Yudin's eighty-thousand volume Russian library, the 1908 Schatz collection of early opera
librettos A libretto (Italian for "booklet") is the text used in, or intended for, an extended musical work such as an opera Opera is a form of theatre in which music is a fundamental component and dramatic roles are taken by Singing, singers, but is ...
, 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 Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and their ancestors. It is the o ...
, Chinese, and Japanese works were also acquired. On one occasion, Congress initiated an acquisition: in 1929 Congressman Ross Collins (D-Mississippi) gained approval for the library to purchase Otto Vollbehr's collection of
incunabula File:Prohemium..JPG, Illumination with doodles and drawings (marginalia), including an open-mouthed human profile, with multiple tongues sticking out. Copulata, "De Anima", f. 2a. HMD Collection, WZ 230 M772c 1485 An incunable or incunabulum (p ...
for $1.5 million. This collection included one of three remaining perfect vellum copies of the
Gutenberg Bible The Gutenberg Bible (also known as the 42-line Bible, the Mazarin Bible or the B42) was the earliest major book printed using mass-produced movable metal type in Europe. It marked the start of the " Gutenberg Revolution" and the age of printed ...

Gutenberg Bible
. In 1914, Putnam established the Legislative Reference Service as a separative administrative unit of the library. Based in the
Progressive era The Progressive Era (1896–1916) was a period of widespread social activism Activism consists of efforts to promote, impede, direct, or intervene in Social change, social, Political campaign, political, Economics, economic, or Natural ...
's philosophy of science to be used to solve problems, 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 donations and endowments by such prominent wealthy individuals as
John D. Rockefeller John Davison Rockefeller Sr. (July 8, 1839May 23, 1937) was an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of Am ...

John D. Rockefeller
, James B. Wilbur, and Archer M. Huntington. Gertrude Clarke Whittall donated five Stradivarius violins to the library.
Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge aka Liz Coolidge (30 October 1864 – 4 November 1953), born Elizabeth Penn Sprague, was an American pianist and patron of music, especially of chamber music. Biography Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge's father was a weal ...

Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge
's donations paid for a
concert hall A concert hall is a cultural building with a stage (theatre), stage that serves as a performance venue and an auditorium filled with seats. While early halls built in the 18th and 19th century were designed for Classical music, classic ...

concert hall
to be constructed within the Library of Congress building and an
honorariumAn honorarium is an ''ex gratia'' payment, i.e., a payment made, without the giver recognizing themselves as having any Liability (financial accounting), liability or legal obligation, to a person for his or her services in a Volunteering, volunteer ...
established for the Music Division to pay live performers for concerts. A number of chairs and consultantships were established from the donations, the most well-known of which is the Poet Laureate Consultant. The library's expansion eventually filled the library's Main Building, although it used shelving expansions in 1910 and 1927. The library needed to expand into a new structure. Congress acquired nearby land in 1928 and approved construction of the Annex Building (later known as the
John Adams Building The John Adams Building is the second oldest of the four buildings of the Library of Congress The Library of Congress (LC) is the research library that officially serves the United States Congress and is the '' de facto'' national library ...
) in 1930. Although delayed during the
Depression Depression may refer to: Mental health * Depression (mood), a state of low mood and aversion to activity * Mood disorders characterized by depression are commonly referred to as simply ''depression'', including: ** Dysthymia ** Major depressive ...
years, it was completed in 1938 and opened to the public in 1939.


1939–present: Modern history

After Putnam retired in 1939, President
Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin Delano Roosevelt (, ; January 30, 1882April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American politician who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A member of the De ...

Franklin D. Roosevelt
appointed poet and writer
Archibald MacLeish Archibald MacLeish (May 7, 1892 – April 20, 1982) was an American poet and writer, who was associated with the modernist , Solomon Guggenheim Museum 1946–1959 Modernism is both a philosophy, philosophical movement and an art movement tha ...

Archibald MacLeish
as his successor. Occupying the post from 1939 to 1944 during the height of
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, MacLeish became the most widely known librarian of Congress in the library's history. MacLeish encouraged librarians to oppose
totalitarianism 259x259px, Democracy Index by the Economist Intelligence Unit (2020): perceived authoritarian regimes in red, democracies in green, and color intensity ≈ regime intensity Totalitarianism is a form of government and a political system that prohi ...

totalitarianism
on behalf of democracy; dedicated the South Reading Room of the Adams Building to Thomas Jefferson, and commissioning artist
Ezra Winter Ezra Augustus Winter (March 10, 1886 – April 6, 1949) was a prominent American muralist. Biography Winter was born in Traverse City, Michigan (the long crossing) , image_flag = Traverse City ( '' or '') is a city A c ...
to paint four themed murals for the room. He established a "democracy alcove" in the Main Reading Room of the Jefferson Building for important documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and ''
The Federalist Papers ''The Federalist Papers'' is a collection of 85 articles and essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay under the Pseudonym, collective pseudonym "Publius" to promote the History of the United States Constitution, ratifica ...
''. The Library of Congress assisted during the war effort, ranging from storage of the
Declaration of Independence#REDIRECT Declaration of independence {{Redirect category shell, {{R from other capitalisation ...

Declaration of Independence
and the
United States Constitution The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation An organization, or orga ...

United States Constitution
in
Fort Knox Fort Knox is a United States Army The United States Army (USA) is the land Land is the solid surface of Earth that is not permanently submerged in water. Most but not all land is situated at elevations above sea level (variable ove ...
for safekeeping, to researching weather data on the
Himalayas The Himalayas, or Himalaya (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It ar ...

Himalayas
for pilots. MacLeish resigned in 1944 when appointed as Assistant Secretary of State. President
Harry Truman Harry S. Truman (May 8, 1884December 26, 1972) was the 33rd president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs th ...
appointed Luther H. Evans as librarian of Congress. Evans, who served until 1953, expanded the library's acquisitions, cataloging and bibliographic services. But he is best known for creating 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, the mission in Europe acquired European publications for the Library of Congress and other American libraries, and the mission in Japan aided in the creation of the
National Diet Library The is the national library of Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat = Imperial Seal of Japan.svg , alt_coat ...
. Evans' successor
Lawrence Quincy Mumford Lawrence Quincy Mumford (11 December 1903 – 15 August 1982) was an American librarian. He was the eleventh Librarian of Congress, Librarian of the United States Congress from 1954 to 1974. Biography Mumford was born in Hanrahan, North Carolina ...

Lawrence Quincy Mumford
took over in 1953. During his tenure, lasting until 1974, Mumford directed the initiation of construction of the
James Madison Memorial Building The James Madison Memorial Building The James Madison Memorial Building is one of three United States Capitol Complex The United States Capitol Complex is a group of twenty buildings and facilities in Washington, D.C., that are used by the federa ...
, the third Library of Congress building on Capitol Hill. Mumford directed the library during a period of increased educational spending by the government. The library was able to establish new acquisition centers abroad, including in
Cairo Cairo ( ; ar, القاهرة, al-Qāhirah, , Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northern Afro-Asiatic language spoken in E ...

Cairo
and
New Delhi New Delhi (, ''Naī Dillī'') is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majusc ...

New Delhi
. In 1967, the library began experimenting with book preservation techniques through a Preservation Office. This has developed as the largest library research and conservation effort in the United States. During Mumford's administration, the last major public debate occurred about the Library of Congress's role as both a legislative library and a national library. Asked by Joint Library Committee chairman Senator
Claiborne Pell Claiborne de Borda Pell (November 22, 1918 – January 1, 2009) was an American politician and writer who served as a U.S. Senator from Rhode Island for six terms from 1961 to 1997. He was the sponsor of the 1972 bill that reformed the Basic E ...

Claiborne Pell
(D-RI) to assess operations and make recommendations, Douglas Bryant of
Harvard University Library The Harvard Library is the umbrella organization for the Harvard University Harvard University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success fo ...
proposed a number of institutional reforms. These included expansion of national activities and services and various organizational changes, all of which would emphasize the library's national role rather than its legislative role. Bryant suggested changing the name of the Library of Congress, a recommendation rebuked by Mumford as "unspeakable violence to tradition". The debate continued within the library community for some time. The
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." The act focused mainly on the rules that governed congres ...
renewed emphasis for the library on its legislative roles, requiring greater focus on research for Congress and congressional committees, and renaming the Legislative Reference Service as the
Congressional Research Service The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a public policy Public policy is an institutionalized proposal to solve relevant and real-world problems, guided by a conception and implemented by programs as a course of action created and/or enact ...

Congressional Research Service
. After Mumford retired in 1974, President
Gerald Ford Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr. ( ; born Leslie Lynch King Jr.; July 14, 1913December 26, 2006) was an American politician who served as the 38th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state ...

Gerald Ford
appointed historian Daniel J. Boorstin as librarian. Boorstin's first challenge was to manage the relocation of some sections to the new Madison Building, which took place between 1980 and 1982. With this accomplished, Boorstin focused 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 enhanced institutional and staff ties with scholars, authors, publishers, cultural leaders, and the business community. His activities changed the post of librarian of Congress so that by the time he retired in 1987, ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' is an American daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership. Founded in 1851, the ''Times'' has since won List of Pulitzer Prizes awarded to The New York Times, 132 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of a ...

The New York Times
'' called this office "perhaps the leading intellectual public position in the nation". President
Ronald Reagan Ronald Wilson Reagan ( ; February 6, 1911June 5, 2004) was an American politician who served as the 40th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of ...

Ronald Reagan
nominated historian as the 13th librarian of Congress in 1987, and the U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed the appointment. Under Billington's leadership, the library doubled the size of its analog collections from 85.5 million items in 1987 to more than 160 million items in 2014. At the same time, it established new programs and employed new technologies to "get the champagne out of the bottle". These included: * American Memory created in 1990, which became The National Digital Library in 1994. It provides free access online to digitized American history and culture resources, including primary sources, with curatorial explanations to support use in
K-12 education K-1 is a martial arts Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practiced for a number of reasons such as self-defense; military and law enforcement applications; combat sport, competition; physical, mental, and spiritual devel ...
. * thomas.gov website launched in 1994 to provide free public access to U.S. federal legislative information with ongoing updates; and congress.gov website to provide a state-of-the-art framework for both Congress and the public in 2012; * The National Book Festival, founded in 2000 with First Lady
Laura Bush Laura Lane Welch Bush (''née'' Welch; born November 4, 1946) is an American teacher, librarian, memoirist and author who was the first lady of the United States from 2001 to 2009. Bush previously served as the List of First Ladies and Gentlem ...

Laura Bush
, has attracted more than 1000 authors and a million guests to the National Mall and the Washington Convention Center to celebrate reading. With a major gift from
David Rubenstein David Mark Rubenstein (born August 11, 1949) is an American billionaire businessman and philanthropist. A former government official and lawyer, he is a co-founder and co-executive chairman of American private equity firm The Carlyle Group,
in 2013, the library established the Library of Congress Literacy Awards to recognize and support achievements in improving literacy in the U.S. and abroad; * The Kluge Center, started with a grant of $60 million from John W. Kluge in 2000, this brings international scholars and researchers to use library resources and to interact with policymakers and the public. It hosts public lectures and scholarly events, provides endowed Kluge fellowships, and awards The Kluge Prize for the Study of Humanity (now worth $1.5 million), the first Nobel-level international prize for lifetime achievement in the humanities and social sciences (subjects not included in the Nobel awards); * Open World Leadership Center, established in 2000, by 2015 this program administered 23,000 professional exchanges for emerging post-Soviet leaders in Russia, Ukraine, and other successor states of the former
USSR The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a socialist state that spanned Eurasia during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a Federation, federal union of multiple national Republics of ...

USSR
. Open World began as a Library of Congress project, and later was established as an independent agency in the legislative branch. * The Veterans History Project, congressionally mandated in 2000 to collect, preserve, and make accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans from WWI to the present day; * The National Audio-Visual Conservation Center opened in 2007 at a 45-acre site in Culpeper, Virginia, established with a gift of more than $150 million by the Packard Humanities Institute, and $82.1 million in additional support from Congress. Since 1988, the library has administered the National Film Preservation Board. Established by congressional mandate, it selects American films annually for preservation and inclusion in the new National Registry, a collection of American films. The library has made these available on the Internet for free streaming. By 2015, the librarian had named 650 films to the registry. The films in the collection date from the earliest to ones produced more than ten years ago; they are selected from nominations submitted to the board. * The Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, was launched in 2007 to honor the work of an artist whose career reflects lifetime achievement in song composition. Winners have included
Paul Simon Paul Frederic Simon (born October 13, 1941) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and actor whose career has spanned six decades. He is one of the most acclaimed songwriters in popular music. Simon was born in Newark, New Jersey, and gr ...

Paul Simon
,
Stevie Wonder Stevland Hardaway Morris (born May 13, 1950), known professionally as Stevie Wonder, is an American singer, songwriter, musician and record producer. Wonder is credited as a pioneer and influence by musicians across a range of genres that inclu ...

Stevie Wonder
, Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Carole King, Billy Joel, and Willie Nelson, as of 2015. The library also launched the Library of Congress Living Legend, Living Legend Awards in 2000 to honor artists, activists, filmmakers, and others who have contributed to America's diverse cultural, scientific, and social heritage; * The Fiction Prize (now the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction) was started in 2008 to recognize distinguished lifetime achievement in the writing of fiction. * The World Digital Library, established in association with UNESCO and 181 partners in 81 countries in 2009, makes copies of professionally curated primary materials of the world's varied cultures freely available online in multiple languages. * National Jukebox, launched in 2011, provides streaming free online access to more than 10,000 out-of-print music and spoken word recordings. * BARD was started in 2013; it is a digital, talking books mobile app for Braille and Audio Reading Downloads, in partnership with the library's National Library Service for the blind and physically handicapped. It enables free downloads of audio and Braille books to mobile devices via the App Store (iOS), Apple App Store. During Billington's tenure, the library acquired General Lafayette's papers in 1996 from a castle at La Grange, France; they had previously been inaccessible. It also acquired the only copy of the 1507 Waldseemüller map, Waldseemüller world map ("America's birth certificate") in 2003; it is on permanent display in the library's Thomas Jefferson Building. Using privately raised funds, the Library of Congress has created a reconstruction of Thomas Jefferson's original library. This has been on permanent display in the Jefferson building since 2008. Under Billington, public spaces of the Jefferson Building were enlarged and technologically enhanced to serve as a national exhibition venue. It has hosted more than 100 exhibitions. These included exhibits on the Vatican Library and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, several on the Civil War and Lincoln, on African-American culture, on Religion and the founding of the American Republic, the Early Americas (the Kislak Collection became a permanent display), on the global celebration commemorating the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, and on early American printing, featuring the Rubenstein Bay Psalm Book. Onsite access to the Library of Congress has been increased. Billington gained an underground connection between the new U.S. Capitol Visitors Center and the library in 2008 in order to increase both congressional usage and public tours of the library's Thomas Jefferson Building. In 2001, the library began a mass deacidification program, in order to extend the lifespan of almost 4 million volumes and 12 million manuscript sheets. Since 2002, new collection storage modules at Fort Meade have preserved and made accessible more than 4 million items from the library's analog collections. Billington established the Library Collections Security Oversight Committee in 1992 to improve protection of collections, and also the Library of Congress Congressional Caucus in 2008 to draw attention to the library's curators and collections. He created the library's first Young Readers Center in the Jefferson Building in 2009, and the first large-scale summer intern (Junior Fellows) program for university students in 1991. Under Billington, the library sponsored the Gateway to Knowledge in 2010–2011, a mobile exhibition to 90 sites, covering all states east of the Mississippi, in a specially designed 18-wheel truck. This increased public access to library collections off-site, particularly for rural populations, and helped raise awareness of what was also available online. Billington raised more than half a billion dollars of private support to supplement Congressional appropriations for library collections, programs, and digital outreach. These private funds helped the library to continue its growth and outreach in the face of a 30% decrease in staffing, caused mainly by legislative appropriations cutbacks. He created the library's first development office for private fundraising in 1987. In 1990, he established the James Madison Council, the library's first national private sector donor-support group. In 1987, Billington also asked the GAO to conduct the first library-wide audit. He created the first Office of the Inspector General at the library to provide regular, independent reviews of library operations. This precedent has resulted in regular annual financial audits at the library; it has received unmodified ("clean") opinions from 1995 onward. In April 2010, the library announced plans to archive all public communication on Twitter, including all communication since Twitter's launch in March 2006. , the Twitter archive remains unfinished. Before retiring in 2015, after 28 years of service, Billington had come "under pressure" as librarian of Congress. This followed a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that described a "work environment lacking central oversight" and faulted Billington for "ignoring repeated calls to hire a chief information officer, as required by law." When Billington announced his plans to retire in 2015, commentator George Weigel described the Library of Congress as "one of the last refuges in Washington of serious bipartisanship and calm, considered conversation," and "one of the world's greatest cultural centers." Carla Hayden was sworn in as the 14th librarian of Congress on September 14, 2016, the first woman and the first African American to hold the position. In 2017, the library announced the Librarian-in-Residence program, which aims to support the future generation of librarians by giving them the opportunity to gain work experience in five different areas of librarianship including: Acquisitions/Collection Development, Cataloging/Metadata, and Collection Preservation. On January 6, 2021, at 1:11 PM EST, the Library's James Madison Memorial Building, Madison Building and the Cannon House Office Building were the first buildings in the Capitol Complex to be ordered to evacuate as rioters breached security perimeters before 2021 storming of the United States Capitol, storming the Capitol building. Carla Hayden clarified two days later that rioters did not breach any of Library's buildings or collections and all staff members were safely evacuated.


Holdings

The collections of the Library of Congress include more than 32 million catalogued books and other print materials in 470 languages; more than 61 million manuscripts; the largest rare book collection in North America, including the rough draft of the
Declaration of Independence#REDIRECT Declaration of independence {{Redirect category shell, {{R from other capitalisation ...

Declaration of Independence
, a
Gutenberg Bible The Gutenberg Bible (also known as the 42-line Bible, the Mazarin Bible or the B42) was the earliest major book printed using mass-produced movable metal type in Europe. It marked the start of the " Gutenberg Revolution" and the age of printed ...

Gutenberg Bible
(originating from the Saint Blaise Abbey, Black Forest—one of only three perfect vellum copies known to exist); over 1 million Federal government of the United States, U.S. government publications; 1 million issues of world newspapers spanning the past three centuries; 33,000 bound newspaper volumes; 500,000 microfilm reels; U.S. and foreign comic books—over 12,000 titles in all, totaling more than 140,000 issues; films; 5.3 million maps; 6 million works of sheet music; 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; and the List of Stradivarius instruments#Violas, Cassavetti Stradivarius. The library developed a system of book classification called Library of Congress Classification (LCC), which is used by most US research and university library, university libraries. The library serves as a legal repository for copyright protection and copyright registration, and as the base for the
United States Copyright Office The United States Copyright Office (sometimes abbreviated USCO), a part of the Library of Congress The Library of Congress (LC) is the research library A library is a curated collection of sources of information and similar resou ...
. Regardless of whether they register their copyright, all publishers are required to submit two complete copies of their published works to the library—this requirement is known as ''mandatory deposit''. Nearly 15,000 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 12,000 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 Legal deposit, similar libraries, 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 of bookshelves, while the British Library reports about of shelves. The Library of Congress holds more than 167 million items with more than 39 million books and other print materials, against approximately 150 million items with 25 million books for the British Library. A 2000 study by information scientists Peter Lyman and Hal Varian suggested that the amount of uncompressed Text file, textual data represented by the 26 million books then in the collection was 10 terabytes. The library also administers the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, an audio book and braille library program provided to more than 766,000 Americans.


Digitization

The library's first digitization project was called "American Memory". Launched in 1990, it initially planned to choose 160 million objects from its collection to make digitally available on LaserDisc, laserdiscs and Compact disc, CDs that would be distributed to schools and libraries. After realizing that this plan would be too expensive and inefficient, and with the rise of the Internet, the library decided to instead make digitized material available over the Internet. This project was made official in the National Digital Library Program (NDLP), created in October 1994. By 1999, the NDLP had succeeded in digitizing over 5 million objects and had a budget of $12 million. The library has kept the "American Memory" name for its public domain website, which today contains 15 million digital objects, comprising over 7 petabytes. American Memory is a source for public domain 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 website. 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 to make sure of the exact identity of the book. Digital images are also available at Snapshots of the Past, which provides archival prints. The library has a budget of $6–8 million each year for digitization, meaning that not all works can be digitized. It makes determinations about what objects to prioritize based on what is especially important to Congress or potentially interesting for the public. The 15 million digitized items represent less than 10% of the library's total 160-million item collection. The library has chosen not to participate in other digital library projects such as Google Books and the Digital Public Library of America, although it has supported the Internet Archive project.


THOMAS and Congress.gov projects

In 1995, the Library of Congress established an online archive of the proceedings of the United States Congress, U.S. Congress, THOMAS. The THOMAS website included the full text of proposed legislation, as well as bill summaries and statuses, Congressional Record text, and the Congressional Record Index. The THOMAS system received major updates in 2005 and 2010. A migration to a more modernized Web system, Congress.gov, began in 2012, and the THOMAS system was retired in 2016. Congress.gov is a joint project of the Library of Congress, the House, the Senate and the Government Publishing Office.


Library of Congress buildings

The Library of Congress is physically housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill and a conservation center in rural
Virginia Virginia (), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a in the and regions of the , between the and the . The geography and climate of the are shaped by the and the , which provide habitat for much of its flora and fauna. The capit ...

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.


Thomas Jefferson Building

The Thomas Jefferson Building is located between Independence Avenue (Washington, D.C.), 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 known as The Annex to the Main Building, which had run out of space. It opened its doors to the public on January 3, 1939. Initially, it also housed the U.S. Copyright Office which moved to the Madison building in the 1970s.


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 U.S. Copyright Office and 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 (formerly Culpeper Courthouse, earlier Fairfax) is the only incorporated town in Culpeper County, Virginia Virginia (), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atla ...
. It was constructed out of a former Federal Reserve System, Federal Reserve storage center and Cold War 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, whose Packard Humanities Institute oversaw the design and construction of the facility. The centerpiece of the complex is a reproduction Art Deco movie theater that presents free movie screenings to the public on a semi-weekly basis.


Digital Millennium Copyright Act

The Library of Congress, through both the librarian of Congress and the Register of Copyrights, is responsible for authorizing exceptions t
Section 1201
of Title 17 of the United States Code as part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This process is done every three years, with the Register receiving proposals from the public and acting as an advisor to the librarian, who issues a ruling on what is exempt. After three years have passed, the ruling is no longer valid and a new ruling on exemptions must be made.


Access

The library is open for academic research to anyone with a Reader Identification Card. One may not remove library items from the reading rooms or the library buildings. Most of the library's general collection of books and journals are in the closed stacks of the Jefferson and Adams Buildings; specialized collections of books and other materials are in closed stacks in all three main library buildings, or are stored off-site. Access to the closed stacks is not permitted under any circumstances, except to authorized library staff, and occasionally, to dignitaries. Only the reading room reference collections are on open shelves. Since 1902, American libraries have been able to request books and other items through interlibrary loan from the Library of Congress if these items are not readily available elsewhere. Through this system, the Library of Congress has served as a "library of last resort", according to former Librarian of Congress
Herbert Putnam George Herbert Putnam (September 20, 1861 – August 14, 1955) was an American librarian. He was the eighth (and also the longest-serving) Librarian of Congress from 1899 to 1939. He implemented his vision of a universal collection with strength ...
. The Library of Congress lends books to other libraries with the stipulation that they be used only inside the borrowing library.


Standards

In addition to its library services, the Library of Congress is also actively involved in various standard activities in areas related to bibliographical and search and retrieve standards. Areas of work include MARC standards, Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS), Metadata Object Description Schema (MODS), Z39.50 and Search/Retrieve Web Service (SRW), and Search/Retrieve via URL (SRU). The Law Library of Congress seeks to further legal scholarship by providing opportunities for scholars and practitioners to conduct significant legal research. Individuals are invited to apply for projects which would further the multi-faceted mission of the law library in serving the U.S. Congress, other governmental agencies, and the public.


Annual events

* Fellows in American Letters of the Library of Congress * Gershwin Prize for Popular Song * Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction * Minor American Revolution holidays#Founder's Day, Founder's Day Celebration * National Book Festival * National Audio-Visual Conservation Center#Mostly Lost Film Identification Workshop, Mostly Lost Film Identification Workshop


Notable personnel

*Henriette Avram (1919-2006): Developed the MARC format (Machine Readable Cataloging), the international data standard for bibliographic and holdings information in libraries. *John Y. Cole: founder of the Center for the Book and first historian of the Library of Congress. * Cecil Hobbs (1943–1971): American scholar of Southeast Asian history, head of the Southern Asia Section of the Orientalia (now Asian) Division of the Library of Congress, and a major contributor to scholarship on Asia and the development of South East Asian coverage in American library collections *Julius C. Jefferson Jr., head of the
Congressional Research Service The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a public policy Public policy is an institutionalized proposal to solve relevant and real-world problems, guided by a conception and implemented by programs as a course of action created and/or enact ...

Congressional Research Service
, president of the
American Library Association The American Library Association (ALA) is a nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a ...
, 2020-2021, president of the Freedom to Read Foundation, 2013-2016.


See also

* Documents Expediting Project * Federal Research Division * Feleky Collection * Law Library of Congress * Library of Congress Classification * Library of Congress Country Studies * Library of Congress Living Legend * Library of Congress Subject Headings * Minerva Initiative * National Digital Library Program (NDLP) * National Film Registry * National Recording Registry * National Archives and Records Administration * United States Senate Library


References

* Mearns, David Chambers. ''The Story Up to Now: The Library Of Congress, 1800–1946'' (1947), detailed narrative


Architecture

* Cole, John Y. and Henry Hope Reed. ''The Library of Congress: The Art and Architecture of the Thomas Jefferson Building'' (1998
excerpt and text search
* Small, Herbert, and Henry Hope Reed. ''The Library of Congress: Its Architecture and Decoration'' (1983)


Further reading

* * * Bisbort, Alan, and Linda Barrett Osborne. ''The Nation's Library: The Library of Congress, Washington, D. C.'' (Library of Congress, 2000) * Cole, John Young. ''Jefferson's legacy: a brief history of the Library of Congress'' (Library of Congress, 1993) * Cole, John Young. "The library of congress becomes a world library, 1815–2005." ''Libraries & culture'' (2005) 40#3: 385–398
in Project MUSE
* Cope, R. L. "Management Review of the Library of Congress: The 1996 Booz Allen & Hamilton Report," ''Australian Academic & Research Libraries'' (1997) 28#
online
* Ostrowski, Carl. ''Books, Maps, and Politics: A Cultural History of the Library of Congress, 1783–1861'' (2004
online
* Rosenberg, Jane Aiken. ''The Nation's Great Library: Herbert Putnam and the Library of Congress, 1899–1939'' (University of Illinois Press, 1993) * *


External links


The Library of Congress website

Library of Congress YouTube channel

Search the Library of Congress catalog

Congress.gov
legislative information
Library Of Congress Meeting Notices and Rule Changes
from The Federal Registe
RSS Feed

Library of Congress photos on Flickr


at the Library of Congress * *
Library of Congress
at FamilySearch Research Wiki for genealogists *
C-SPAN's Library of Congress documentary and resources

The Library of Congress National Library Service (NLS)

Video: "Library of Congress in 1968 – Computer Automation"

Library of Congress Web Archives – search by URL
{{Authority control Library of Congress, 1800 establishments in Washington, D.C. Agencies of the United States Congress Archives in the United States Buildings of the United States government in Washington, D.C. Capitol Hill Deposit libraries Genealogical libraries Government agencies established in 1800 History museums in Washington, D.C. Legislative libraries, United States Libraries established in 1800 Libraries in Washington, D.C., Congress, Library of National libraries in the United States, Congress Research libraries World Digital Library partners