Smokey Robinson at Gershwin’s Piano

(The following is a guest post by Director of Communications Gayle Osterberg.)

This Friday (Feb. 10) PBS stations nationwide (9 pm Eastern – check your local listings) will share with America the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song tribute concert honoring Motown legend Smokey Robinson.

It was a great pleasure to host Smokey, Berry Gordy, family and friends at the Library the day before the concert was taped back in November. Library of Congress staff shared treasures from Motown and African-American music history, like maps from Detroit in the late fifties with handwritten notes by Alan Lomax, historic recordings of Jelly Roll Morton and the original copyright deposit of “I Cry”, a song he co-wrote with Gordy and his first copyright submission.

The highlight of the visit, for me, was to watch Smokey sit down at George Gershwin’s favorite piano – on permanent display in the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building – and talk with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden.

To say Dr. Hayden is a Smokey fan is an understatement, and she had a series of questions for the honoree, who tells her about Gershwin’s influence on his childhood, when he decided singing was his passion and what music he’s listening to now. He also opens up in an emotional moment about his relationship with Berry Gordy and Gordy’s impact on his life.

We’ve been looking forward to sharing this touching conversation with you ahead of Friday’s broadcast.

I hope you enjoy it!

Library in the News: December 2016 Edition

Happy New Year! Let’s look back on some of the Library’s headlines in December. Topping the news was the announcement of the new selections to the National Film Registry. Outlets really picked up on the heavy 80s influence of the list. “It’s loaded with millennials,” said Christie D’Zurilla of The Los Angeles Times. “Ten of […]

World War I: On the Firing Line With the Germans (1915)

(The following post was written by Mike Mashon of the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division and originally appeared on the Now See Hear! blog.) During the centenary observance of World War I, we’ve been prioritizing the preservation of films in our collection pertaining to the conflict. Foremost among these is a film called “On […]

Library in the News: November 2016 Edition

Smokey Robinson made headlines as the Library celebrated his work and career during the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song celebration concert. “Amid multiple standing ovations from an audience filled with political dignitaries at DAR Constitution Hall, the Motown star reflected on his humble Detroit roots as he accepted the prestigious Gershwin Prize for Popular Song,” […]

Library in the News: October 2016 Edition

The month of October continued to see the arrival of Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden in the news. Featured on the cover of Library Journal, Hayden sat down with the magazine to outline her vision for the Library. Her underlying agenda, noted reporter Meredith Schwartz, is to “make LC the library of the American people, […]

Pic of the Week: Diary of a Wimpy Kid

New York Times bestselling children’s author Jeff Kinney stopped by the Library of Congress on Tuesday to launch his world tour and debut his new book, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down.” The Library’s Coolidge Auditorium was filled with young fans from area schools eager to ask questions. This wasn’t the first time Kinney has […]

World War I: “Kim,” the Life Saver

(The following is a guest blog post by Mark Diminution, chief of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division, and Elizabeth Gettins, Library of Congress digital library specialist.) There are the occasional stories that one hears about a book saving a life due to an informational or even spiritual message, but how many people can claim a […]

First Word: The 14th Librarian of Congress

(The following is a feature in the September/October 2016 issue of the Library of Congress Magazine, LCM.) Carla Hayden discusses her decision to become a librarian and her plans as the new Librarian of Congress. You are about to be sworn in as the 14th Librarian of Congress. How does that feel? It’s such an honor […]

Carla Hayden Swearing-In To Be Broadcast on YouTube

Carla D. Hayden will be sworn in as the 14th Librarian of Congress in a historic ceremony in the Thomas Jefferson Building Wednesday, Sept. 14 at noon. The ceremony will be broadcast live, beginning at 11 a.m., on the Library of Congress YouTube channel. The YouTube broadcast will be captioned. The ceremony marks two milestones: Hayden will […]

Happy 265th James Madison!

James Madison is known as the Father of the Constitution because of his pivotal role in the document’s drafting as well as its ratification. Madison also drafted the first 10 amendments — the Bill of Rights. When the federal Constitution was approved by the states and went into effect in 1789, the absence of a […]