Library of Congress

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by nan82
Last updated 3 years ago

Social Studies
American History

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Library of Congress

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On April 24, 1800 President John Adams approved legislation authorizing $5,000 to purchase "such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress" -- a reference library, and "for putting up a suitable apartment for containing them therein." With that historic purchase, the Library of Congress was established. The library's first catalog, dated April 1882 listed 964 volumes and 9 maps. The books, arriving in 1801 from London, were stored in the US Capitol until August of 1814, when British troops set fire to the Capitol Building, burning the contents of the small collection which had, by then, grown to 3,000 volumes. For more information, read the attachment (move your mouse over the picture of John Adams in upper right hand corner of the Glog -- click on the paperclip)!

Thomas Jefferson

1800 - Established as a library1802 - Functions and role of library defined1814 - US Capitol burned by the British, destroying library's contents1815 - Congress bought Thomas Jefferson's library of 6,487 books to replace the lost volumes1870 - Copyright Law established, requiring 2 copies of each work to be submitted to the LOC1886 - Construction begins on new building1897 - Library of Congress opens its doors to the public

After the US Capitol, home to the first Library of Congress, was burned by the British army, Thomas Jefferson offered his personal library to replenish the volumes that were lost. Congress approved the purchase of 6,487 books for a price of $23,950. Jefferson's collection included volumes of foreign languages and volumes of philosophy, science, literature, and other topics not normally viewed as part of a legislative library.

Lasting Impact

The Library of Congress has been a continual guiding force of knowledge in our country. We still stand behind Jefferson's beliefs that a "democracy depends on knowledge".

Citations and Resources

Additional Resources:More Than a LibrarySources:About the library: Fascinating facts. (n.d.). Retrieved from About the library: History. (n.d.). Retrieved from Cooper, R. (2014). Library of congress photos - washington dc. Retrieved from (2014). Retrieved from the library of congress with kurt maier Library of Congress: Journeys and Crossings. [Video podcast]. Retrieved from than a library. About the library. [Video podcast]. Retrieved from



The Library of Congress

Library of Congress

1. What do you think Jefferson meant by the quote, "democracy depends on knowledge"?2. What are the two main purposes of the library of Congress and are these its' only purpose? (See attachment)3. In what ways could teachers and educators use the resources at the Library of Congress?4.What role did Thomas Jefferson play in making sure America had a place for resources in America? How has this shaped our country?5. How often does the library update their records and why do you think this is important?