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A Spotlight on the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress was founded in the early days of the United States when the founders wanted to be sure they could access the same information they could from the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Libraries are storehouses of cultural artifacts and beacons of learning. Libraries aren’t only important for preserving books since they also help spread information. The Library of Congress was founded in the early days of the United States when the founders wanted to be sure they could access the same information they could from the Free Library of Philadelphia. Here is some more information about it.

In the Beginning

President John Adams approved the Library of Congress in 1800, but it would be his successor, Thomas Jefferson, who would guide its development and growth. Jefferson created the position of Librarian of Congress and then also restocked the Library after it was burned down during the War of 1812. Jefferson sold over 7,000 items out of his private collection.

The Civil War

Rebuilt in 1814, the Library of Congress would see decades of growth until the Civil War broke out. A fire destroyed the majority of the Jeffersonian collection, and after the War ended, the Library refocused its efforts on becoming a national library. Around 1900 it was large enough to require more than one building, especially to house the expanded collection and the laws and documents that guided the government during this time.

The 20th and 21st Centuries

The Library of Congress added to its reputation as a national library by housing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution during the early decades of the 20th century. During WWII, these two foundational documents were sent to Fort Knox for safekeeping. After the war, another building was raised as the Library kept on growing. The two earlier buildings were renovated to meet modern standards, and the Library saw the addition of the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in 2007 to keep up with the way technology has advanced.   Carla Hayden was named Librarian in 2016, which now has over 164,000 items of cultural artifacts and even some tweets sent out across social media, which means that while it has one foot in the past, it also has an eye towards the future.  

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