Pic of the Week: Happy 216th Library of Congress!

The Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building. Photo by Shawn Miller.

The Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building. Photo by Shawn Miller.

The Library of Congress celebrates its 216th birthday on Sunday. Founded on April 24, 1800, thanks to an appropriation approved by Pres. John Adams of $5,000 for the purchase of “such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress.” What started with a whopping 740 books and three maps has evolved to more than 162 million items, including more than 38 million books and other print materials, 5.5 million maps, 70 million manuscripts, 14 million photographs, 7.1 million pieces of sheet music and 3.6 million recordings.

The Library adds materials for its collections at a rate of more than 12,000 items per working day — chosen from the roughly 15,000 received daily.

Today, the Library makes freely available online more than 60.9 million primary source files, including manuscripts, newspapers, films, sound recordings and photographs. You can browse by topic the Library’s online collection items.

Pic of the Week: An Encore for the Poet Laureate

Juan Felipe Herrera, U.S. poet laureate consultant in poetry, has been appointed a second term – an appointment announced, then celebrated in the Coolidge Auditorium on Wednesday night. “What a great joy, what a great joy this is,” Herrera, the 21st laureate, told the audience. “How beautiful it is to be here. How beautiful the Library of Congress is. […]

Pic of the Week: Alice’s Adventures in the Library

In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s classic “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” the Young Readers Center in the Library of Congress hosted Alice herself, who read from her adventures and led a parade through the halls of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building. The Library of Congress has multiple illustrated editions of Carroll’s noted […]

Pic of the Week: Ask Us Anything on Rosa Parks

Library experts involved in making the papers of Rosa Parks available online answered questions in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) session on Tuesday. During the Reddit AMA, experts from the Library of Congress Manuscripts Division, the Prints and Photographs Division and Educational Outreach took questions about Rosa Parks and about how the Library cataloged, preserved, digitized, and […]

Pic of the Week: It’s Bloomin’ Time

This week marks the beginning of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, an annual event held in Washington, D.C. to commemorate the gift of some 3,000 Yoshino cherry trees given to the city in 1912 as a symbol of friendship between Japan and the United States. The grounds of the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building are home […]

Pic of the Week: Hedge Coke Honored as Witter Bynner Fellow

On Wednesday, poet Allison Hedge Coke was honored as the 2016 Witter Bynner Fellow. She was selected and introduced by Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress, Juan Felipe Herrera. In his selection, Herrera said he sought to honor Hedge Coke “for her precision of Earth, of suffering in and out of […]

Pic of the Week: Read Across America

“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read with a child.” ~ Dr. Seuss On Wednesday, children gathered at the Library’s Young Readers Center for “Read Across America” day, which also coincides with the birthday of Dr. Seuss. The National Education Association’s signature program is now in its […]

Pic of the Week: My Life in Medicine

Louis W. Sullivan, former secretary of Health and Human Services, discussed his new book, ”Breaking Ground: My Life in Medicine” (University of Georgia Press, 2014), on Wednesday during an author talk presented by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. A video of the presentation will be available in the coming weeks. Sullivan spent […]

Pic of the Week: Combating Illiteracy

 The Library of Congress on Wednesday honored the recipients of the Library of Congress Literacy Awards – three groups working to alleviate the scourge of illiteracy in this country and around the world. Recipients were First Book ($150,000 David M. Rubenstein Prize), United Through Reading ($50,000 American Prize) and Beanstalk ($50,000 International Prize).The Literacy Awards, first announced in January 2013, help […]

Pic of the Week: A Party of Pulitzers

Thirteen Pulitzer Prize winners visited the Library last week while in Washington for festivities celebrating the esteemed award. Steve Benson, who won the prize for editorial cartooning in 1993; former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove (poetry, 1987); Jennifer Egan (fiction, 2011); Paul Giblin (local reporting, 2009); Joan Hedrick (biography, 1995); David Levering Lewis (biography, 1994 and 2001); Jeffrey Marx (investigative reporting, 1986); Philip Schultz […]