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.

Easter Week Illuminations

(The following is a guest post by Levon Avdoyan, Armenian and Georgian area specialist in the African and Middle Eastern Division.) The feast of Easter is arguably the holiest of holidays for the various Christian denominations but especially for the Eastern Churches – among those, the Armenian Church. For it, Easter Week (Avag Shabat, the […]

Looking Back on the Bus Boycott

(The following post is by Jeanne Theoharis, distinguished professor of political science at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York and the author of the award-winning “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks.” A revised edition of the book has just been published with a new introduction drawn from the recently opened papers […]

A Friendly Feast

This Thanksgiving, I’ll be celebrating “Friendsgiving” – a thankful gathering for those of us unable to spend the holiday with our families. The veritable smorgasbord of dishes everyone is bringing got me thinking about everyone’s food traditions, since Turkey Day usually revolves around sharing a meal. I imagine my friends’ dishes come from old family […]

Opening Day … For the Library

Until 1897, the Library of Congress was housed in the U.S. Capitol Building itself. Librarian of Congress Ainsworth Rand Spofford (1864–97) was the first to propose that the Library be moved to a dedicated building. He also was instrumental in establishing the copyright law of 1870, which placed the Copyright Office in the Library and […]

Let’s Take a Spooky Road Trip!

America is full of weird and spooky places, and what better time to highlight some of them than Halloween! The Library’s collections have a wealth of materials on all kinds of topics, so it wasn’t hard to find places worthy of a frightful road trip! Zzyzx (pronounced zye-zex), located in San Bernadino County, California, was […]

The Future is Now

Jumping gigawatts! Today, the future has arrived! If you were around in 1989, Oct. 21, 2015, may have seemed light-years away, and you might have thought we would all be riding around in flying cars or something. Well, your imagination isn’t as far-fetched as you think. On this day, Marty McFly jumped through time to […]

Pinterest This: For Hire

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, monthly job gains averaged 235,000 over the last three months. Many of these jobs and industries didn’t even exist 10, 20, even 30 years ago – coder, software engineer, social media strategist, Zumba instructor, to name a few. But, just as new jobs are created, others become completely […]