Library of Congress

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by TracyHoman
Last updated 8 years ago

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Library of Congress

Discussion Questions1. Which of the facts in the 10 Amazing Facts video is most surprising to you and why?2. What contributed to the Library of Congress’ expansion and growth over the last 200 years? 3. Is the money spent to operate the Library of Congress ($629 million in 2011) money well-spent? Why or why not?4. What was Thomas Jefferson’s contribution and influence on the Library of Congress?5. What makes the Library of Congress a true “national library?”

1800—Library of Congress established by an act of Congress. It was to be a reference library for Congress only. It was established with $5,000 appropriated by the legislationAugust 1814—British troops set fire to Capitol Building, burning and pillaging the contents of the small library.Aug/Sept 1814—Thomas Jefferson offers his personal library as a replacement.January 1815—Congress accepts Thomas Jefferson’s offer, appropriating $23,950 for his 6,487 books.1851—A fire destroys two-thirds of its 55,000 volumes.1852—Congress appropriates $168,700 to restore the Library’s rooms in the Capitol and replace the lost books.1870—Ainsworth Rand Spofford, Librarian of Congress, is responsible for the copyright law of 1870, which requires all copyright applicants to send 2 copies of their work to the Library of Congress. The Library was sent books, pamphlets, maps, music, prints, and photographs.1873—With a shortage of shelf space, Congress authorizes a competition to design plans for the new Library.1886—After much controversy, Congress authorizes construction of a new Library building. The Italian Renaissance style building was designed by Washinton architects, John L. Smithmeyer and Paul J. Pelz.November 1, 1897—The Library of Congress building opens its doors to the public. It was known as, “the largest, the costliest, and the safest” library building in the world.April 4, 2000—The Library celebrated its bicentennial.

Library of Congress


10 Amazing Facts Video


The Library of Congress was created based on the philosophy and ideas of Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson believed that a democratic legislature needed a readily available resources in order to be able to research and make informed decisions. It was originally intended to be just for the use of Congress. They than began to let the President and Vice President check out materials, and then they also allowed the judicial branch to make use of the library. The use of the library was slowly opened to governmental agencies and then to the public in certain instances. Jefferson's philosopy is the reason that the Library of Congress is so comprehensive in regards to range of materials. The Library of Congress has become a true "national library."

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By Tracy Homan and Karie McIntosh



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