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A Piñata of Awesomeness

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(The following is a guest post from the Library’s Director of Communications, Gayle Osterberg.)

Rep. Dan Lungren (from left), Rep. Gregg Harper and Librarian of Congress James H. Billington introduced the Congress.gov beta site to the public on Wednesday. / Cecelia Rogers

It’s been a big week for the Library of Congress, as we’ve launched two exciting new resources to serve our many and varied audiences in the years ahead, and are rolling into our biggest event of the year on the National Mall this weekend.

To recap:

The new Congress.gov website is a rebuild of the THOMAS legislative information system from the ground up, enabling modern, user-friendly features that will make finding and learning about legislation and the legislative process more accessible to all. We are gratified at the positive response to the site so far and are looking forward to hearing your ongoing feedback during the site’s beta stage so it can be further refined to serve Congress and the public.

The new Library of Congress Magazine, LCM, available online, is a window into the unparalleled collections and expertise the Library offers researchers, authors, educators, creators of all kinds, and of course, Members of Congress, their staff and other government entities. As Librarian of Congress James Billington notes in the magazine’s Last Word column, we hope it will lead you to explore the millions of books, manuscripts, photos, movies, maps and music in our collection, either in person or online.

Both projects reflect more than a year of study, surveys, review of best practices, design, focus grouping, data management, content development, workflow adjustment and a litany of other details.

They are the result of the hard work of many dedicated public servants here at the Library, across many different offices. In the case of Congress.gov, many other legislative staff from the House, Senate and Government Printing Office are contributing data and expertise to ensure the site becomes and remains the go-to place for fact-based legislative information.

Finally, this weekend brings the 12th annual Library of Congress National Book Festival on the National Mall. Made possible by many generous private sponsors, the festival brings together more than 120 authors of all kinds with something for all ages. It is one of our favorite events, and we hope you can join the expected 200,000 other book fans for this literary extravaganza.

Library of Congress National Book Festival. September 24, 2011. / Abby Brack Lewis

The week encapsulates the many ways the Library is working to not only collect and preserve knowledge and creativity but also to make it

accessible to the nation as well. Through our web presence, exhibitions, publications and public events, we are working every day to fulfill this important piece of our mission on behalf of Congress and the nation.

This week one person tweeted that using the Library’s resources is “like having a piñata stuffed to the brim with awesomeness!!!” I could not think of a more colorful way to sum up the week.

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