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Screen 1: More Than a Library

The Library of Congress, the largest library in the world, was established in 1800 to meet the research needs of Congress. While that is still our primary mission, we have expanded our services to all Americans and to researchers from around the world. As you will see, during the past 200 years, the Library of Congress has evolved into something "more than a library."

Screen 2: Extensive American Archives

Through 21 reading rooms and on our Web site, we provide access to the world's largest collection of manuscripts, photographs, films, maps, sound recordings, drawings, posters and other visual records. Visit us in Washington, D.C., or explore this amazing electronic educational resource online. From presidential papers to comic books, the Library keeps, preserves and makes available a vast record of American culture.

  • Rare Documents, Newspapers, Maps
  • Films, Video, Sound Recordings
  • Photos, Drawings, Prints, Posters

Screen 3: Research Center for the Nation's Lawmakers

The Library of Congress was originally established as a research library for U.S. senators and representatives. Today, our Congressional Research Service provides Congress with objective research and analysis, fulfilling more than 500,000 requests a year. When Congress is interested in the laws of other nations, it looks to the Law Library of Congress, whose multi-lingual specialists provide analyses of foreign legislation.

  • Unbiased Research and Analysis for Congress
  • Legislative Support through Unparalleled Collections
  • International Law

Screen 4: Vast Internet Resource

The Library’s Web site is a treasure house of free educational materials for all ages. For kids, there is "America's Story from America's Library." Teachers will find lessons and more on "The Learning Page." Researchers will use our online catalog and reading room sites. And, for life-long learners, there are fascinating sites such as THOMAS, for legislative information; and the vast collections of U.S. History in “American Memory.”

  • Thousands of Special Features
  • Millions of Educational Items
  • Billions of Hits Annually

Screen 5: Protector of Creativity

Most people don’t realize that the U.S. Copyright Office is a part of the Library of Congress. The Copyright Office protects the rights of authors of books as well as those of creators of music, designs, sound recordings, films, and digital materials so that they may benefit from their work.

  • U.S. Copyright Office
  • Secures Rights for Creators
  • Music, Film, Art, Books, Digital Works

Screen 6: Reading and Literary Center

The Library promotes the joy of reading through several national programs. The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped provides reading materials to persons with disabilities. The Center for the Book encourages reading and a passion for literature through centers in 50 states. Our annual National Book Festival brings together famous authors, storytellers and book-lovers. And, the Poet Laureate is appointed each year by the Librarian of Congress to promote the art of poetry.

  • Service to Persons with Disabilities
  • Center for the Book
  • National Book Festival
  • Poet Laureate

Screen 7: Partner in the Classroom

Our educational outreach program works with an extensive network of teachers across the country to bring our collections to life in the classroom. We develop online lesson plans using primary source material. We support curriculum goals, host workshops and symposia. And we offer an online reference desk for educators. In addition, we visit schools across the country to show how our resources can be interpreted for the classroom as well as for the scholar.

  • Outreach and Partnership
  • Lesson Plans and Curriculum Assistance
  • Interpreting Collections for Educators

Screen 8: Center for International Studies

If you think most of our printed collections are in English, you're wrong. About half of these materials are in other languages. The depth, breadth and variety of our collections in hundreds of languages attract scholars from all over the world. They come to the Library's reading rooms and to our John W. Kluge Center, where selected scholars use our collections and share their wisdom with government policymakers and the public.

  • Extensive Non-English Materials
  • Worldwide Research Center
  • Kluge Center for Scholars

Screen 9: Performing Arts Center

No matter what your taste in music may be, you can hear it live at the Library. Classical, jazz, American theater, folk, ethnic, pop … all performed at free concerts. Or, you can research music in our recorded sound collections, on our Web site or in our reading rooms. Also, we have commissioned hundreds of original musical works, including "Appalachian Spring," Aaron Copland's masterpiece written for dancer and choreographer Martha Graham.

  • Free Concerts
  • Classical, Jazz, Folk, Pop
  • New Commissioned Works

Screen 10: Renowned Exhibition Gallery

The Library is a sanctuary for the rare, the unique, the unexpected and the mundane, reflecting the full range of human experience. Our staff members — world experts in their fields — assemble exhibitions that display these treasures, which can also be viewed online. From Sigmund Freud to Dagwood Bumstead, Thomas Jefferson to Bob Hope, ancient civilization to modern philosophy, these exhibitions are as varied as the collections of the Library itself.

  • Exhibitions of Treasures in Washington
  • Permanent Exhibitions Online

Screen 11: Publisher of Information

Not only are the Library's collections made available in Washington and on the Internet, many are featured through richly illustrated books and calendars, concert-quality music discs, and free periodicals. We publish these ourselves or in cooperation with commercial publishers. Most are available online and from our sales shop in Washington.

  • Books & Calendars
  • Music
  • Periodicals
  • Sales Shop

Screen 12: Conservator of National Traditions

Our nation's rich diversity is preserved and made available in our American Folklife Center. The center celebrates America's cultural heritage in its collections of oral histories and recordings of musicians, writers and storytellers — from the famous performer to the everyday citizen. The Folklife Center is also home to the Veterans History Project, which works to preserve the unique stories of our nation's veterans.

  • Documenting Folklife
  • Capturing Veterans’ Stories
  • Collecting Local Legacies

Screen 13: Preservation Laboratory

With the responsibility of collecting materials comes the challenge of preserving them. For more than 200 years, we have provided expert care of our books, photos, maps, recordings, and other works. Advanced techniques that were first developed at the Library are now in use around the world.

  • Innovations in Physical Preservation
  • World Leadership in Conservation Practices

Screen 14: International Digital Leadership

More and more people get the information they need in digital formats, whether through the Internet or in electronic publications. We call this "born digital." Much of this information will be lost to future generations if it's not preserved. With the help of other key partners worldwide, the Library is developing a national strategy for collecting and preserving valuable digital resources. We call this initiative the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program.

  • Preserving "Born Digital" Materials
  • Web Sites, Databases, E-Journals, E-Books
  • Collaborating with Public and Private Partners
  • National Digital Information Infrastructure & Preservation Program

Screen 15: The Nation's Library

As America's library, we also serve other public and research libraries in the U.S., and we collaborate with national libraries worldwide. As the world's largest repository of knowledge and creativity, the Library serves you in many ways: as a protector of rights, as a preserver of collections, and as a vital, living center for learning, performance and discovery.

The Library of Congress: More than a library.

  • Leadership and Service to Libraries Worldwide
  • Preservation and Dissemination of Knowledge and Culture
  • More than a Library

Epilogue

For more information on the Library of Congress, click through the sections in the pages that follow and read more about the Library. A section of links is provided that will allow you to connect directly to the Library's award-winning Web site.