As most readers of the Information Bulletin know, the Library of Congress will be 200 on April 24, 2000. The celebration of the Bicentennial of the nation's oldest national cultural institution began in 1999 and will continue throughout this year and the early part of 2001.
April 24, however, will be a special day, and the public is invited to attend the birthday party of America's Library. Following is the schedule of Bicentennial events to come. For the most current information, visit the Web site at www.loc.gov/bicentennial.
Can't make the trip to Washington? There are associated activities nationwide, such as the second-day issue events for the Library's commemorative stamp (see this issue, "Libraries Asked to Join Celebration"). The Library's Bicentennial celebrates not only the Library of Congress but all libraries and the vital role they plan in American democracy.
Bicentennial Celebration Activities
For updates and the latest information, see the Library's Bicentennial Web site at www.loc.gov/bicentennial.
October 1999 - May 2002
I Hear America Singing
Bicentennial Concert Series at the Library.
Whether in Washington or on the Web, visitors can enjoy a three-year series of free concerts at the Library of Congress with "I Hear America Singing." Taking its title from a Walt Whitman poem, the series encompasses both classical and popular compositions, exploring the range, diversity and originality of American music.
Concerts for the 1999-2000 season began October 1 with Bobby Short & His Orchestra and will close with a Stephen Sondheim Salute on his 70th birthday. The series comprises a rich array of performances that includes a celebration of the centennial of the birth of one of the nation's finest composers, Aaron Copland, in a special program on November 18, 2000, and concerts by the Juilliard String Quartet, the Martha Graham Dance Company and the Four Tops.
"I Hear America Singing" will look back to our heritage of popular song and our roles as listeners as well as performers -- in schools and parades, at worship and social gatherings. Information about the concert series is available online. For recorded information, call the concert line, (202) 707-5502.
April 2, 9, 16 & 23, 2000, 9 p.m.
A series of four one-hour interviews with Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, W.S. Merwin, Rita Dove & Louise Glück.
A series of four one-hour programs for public radio, featuring interviews by Grace Cavalieri. Guests are Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, former Laureate Rita Dove, and Pulitzer Prize winners Louise Glück and W.S. Merwin. The poets, recorded at the Library of Congress, honor the Library's Bicentennial as well as National Poetry Month, April 2000. Each program presents the poet reading work, a discussion of the writing process, a portrait of the poet through conversation and interview, with an entertaining look at the personal and poetic lives of each of these literary figures. "Favorite Poets" is a special Bicentennial offering of "The Poet and the Poem from the Library of Congress," Grace Cavalieri's public radio series featuring poets visiting the Library.
"Favorite Poets" will be distributed nationally via National Public Radio satellite for airing in local markets during April, National Poetry Month. Check with local public radio stations for times and dates of airing. In Washington DC, the series will be heard on WPFW, 89.3 FM, Sundays at 9 p.m.
April 3-4, 2000
Poetry in America
With Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, Rita Dove, W.S. Merwin, Louise Glück & others.
Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky launched his Favorite Poem Project in 1997 with President and Mrs. Clinton reading their favorite poems at the White House. On April 3 at 7:30 p.m., he will present to the Library of Congress tapes made during the last two years of Americans from all walks of life reading their favorite poems. The archives will reside permanently at the Library as one of its Bicentennial "Gifts to the Nation."
Mr. Pinsky, the first Poet Laureate to serve three consecutive terms, will be joined in this two-day event (a symposium on April 4 begins at 8:45 a.m.) on Poetry in America by three Pulitzer Prize-winning poets, Rita Dove, Louise Glück and W.S. Merwin, who have been named Special Consultants in Poetry for the Bicentennial. The event will be cybercast live and archived afterward at www.loc.gov.
April 21, 2000
Opening of "The Wizard of Oz: An American Fairy Tale"
An exhibition marking the 100th anniversary of one of the best-known copyrights ever issued by the Library's Copyright Office.
The "yellow brick road" leads to the Library with the opening of an exhibition marking the 100th anniversary of one of the best-known copyrights ever issued: L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Drawing on the Library's unparalleled collections of books, posters, films, sheet music, manuscripts and sound recordings, "The Wizard of Oz" will examine the creation of this timeless American classic and trace its rapid and enduring success, including the 1939 film starring Judy Garland that continues to enchant millions of people around the world.
Because of its unique role as the nation's copyright depository, the Library's collections contain many rare or unique items related to The Wizard of Oz and its impact on American popular culture. Among the items that will be on display are Baum's original, handwritten copyright application; a first edition of his book, published in 1900; an early advertisement for the book; some of the copies of the 13 other books that Baum later wrote about the Land of Oz; posters for stage and screen versions; an imaginative literary map of Oz; publicity shots and photographs taken on the set of the 1939 film; and ceramic figurines depicting Oz characters dating from the 1970s. Film clips and sound recordings will be a highlight of the exhibition.
"The Wizard of Oz," comprising some 80 objects, will also include film props and colorful costumes, such as Dorothy's ruby slippers, Ray Bolger's Scarecrow costume, the Cowardly Lion's wig (worn by Bert Lahr) and a complete Munchkin outfit; and memorabilia borrowed from other institutions and private collectors. It is sure to delight visitors to the Library and children of all ages, when they follow "the yellow brick road" to the Library of Congress in April.
The exhibition will be on view through Sept. 23 in the South Gallery of the Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson Building. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday-Saturday. For information, call (202) 707-4604, or visit the Library's web site at www.loc.gov.
April 24, 2000
The Library of Congress Bicentennial Birthday Celebration
All events will be held in the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street, S.E.
9:30-10:30 a.m., Great Hall
Commemorative Stamp and Coins Issuance Ceremonies
The Postmaster General and Director of the U.S. Mint join the Librarian of Congress for the issuance of these special items. Stamps and coins will be on sale the entire day. The stamp designer will be available to autograph first day covers (envelope with cachet design, stamp, and "first day issue" cancellation) and engravers will be available to autograph the "certificates of authenticity."
The commemorative coin is the first bimetallic (gold and platinum) commemorative coin in U.S. history, making it highly collectible. The coin is one of only two commemoratives to be issued in 2000. Proceeds from the coins will allow Americans to support the educational goals of the Library.
10:00 a.m., Northwest
Gallery and Pavilion
Opening of Major Exhibition, "Thomas Jefferson"
The first time since 1815 that his library has been reassembled in one place in his original order.
Thomas Jefferson -- founding father, farmer, architect, inventor, slaveholder, book collector, scholar, diplomat and third president of the United States -- was a complex figure who contributed immeasurably to the creation of the new democracy in America. Drawing on the extraordinary written legacy of Thomas Jefferson that is held in the Library's collections, the exhibition traces Jefferson's ever-expanding realm of influence: the American Revolutionary government, the creation of the American nation, the evolution in individual rights in America and the world, the Revolution in France, and the burgeoning republican revolutionary movement throughout the world.
Thomas Jefferson's influence is still felt today in the Library of Congress, where his personal book collection, sold to Congress when its library was burned by the British in 1814, became the seed from which today's wide-ranging and universal collections grew. One of the highlights of the exhibition is the reconstitution for the first time of Jefferson's library -- the 6,487 books that arrived in Washington from Monticello in the spring of 1815 -- in one place, in the order that Jefferson himself devised for their classification. Because of an 1851 fire in the Library, many of those original books had been lost. Spurred by a very generous gift by Jerry and Gene Jones, members of the Library's Madison Council, as a Bicentennial project, the Library has been reassembling copies of the same editions of the works that Jefferson held. The Jefferson library should be more than 90 percent complete by April 24.
Some 150 items in this major exhibition will illustrate and help to provide a context for the life and character of Thomas Jefferson in eight sections: "Jefferson Today," "One Man's World," "Creating a Virginia Republic," "Declaration of Independence," "Establishing a Federal Republic," "The West," "A Revolutionary World," and "Epitaph." The ninth and final section will be the re-creation of the "Jefferson Library." Visitors to the exhibition will see such items as the only surviving fragment of the earliest known draft of the Declaration of Independence; Martha Jefferson's thread case; Jefferson's instructions to Lewis and Clark; political cartoons of the day lampooning Jefferson; Jefferson's favorite copying machine, with which he made copies of the letters that he sent; and the last letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote, to the mayor of the city of Washington just 10 days before he died, espousing his vision of the Declaration of Independence and the American nation as signals of the blessings of self-government to an ever-evolving world.
Hours for the exhibition, on display through Oct. 31, are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Saturday. For information, call (202) 707-4604, or visit the Library's web site at www.loc.gov.
Launch of new Web site for families, and public service campaign with the Ad Council.
The Library's new Web site for families will be launched. Entertaining and easy-to-use, America's Library (www.americaslibrary.gov) will bring America's story alive through words, sounds, and images. Through a partnership with the Ad Council, this educational initiative will be widely publicized through public service announcements.
noon-1:30 p.m., Neptune Plaza
Library of Congress National Birthday Party with "Living Legends"
A Bicentennial birthday celebration will include well-known invited performing artists and "Living Legends" (including Colin Powell, Mickey Hart, Pete Seeger, Julia Child, Quincy Jones, Isaac Stern, Big Bird and others), whose creativity is represented in the Library's vast collections.
April 25, 2000
Second-Day Issue of Commemorative Stamp
On April 25, 2000, through the end of May, libraries across the United States will hold second-day issue events where patrons can have the Library of Congress commemorative stamp marked with a special cancellation.
May 23, 2000
A Celebration of America's Local Legacies
Americans everywhere have been documenting their unique local traditions and sending that documentation to the Library for inclusion in its American Folklife Center.
The Local Legacies projects, which were selected by members of Congress in every state and four territories -- American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands -- celebrate the nation's diversity as a source of its strength and vitality. From zydeco music to decoy carving, rodeos to dogsled races, parades to food festivals, Local Legacies reached into every corner of the nation to document America's folk heritage.
Working with their members of Congress, Americans participated in this unprecedented effort. On May 23, all participants and members of Congress will be invited to the Library of Congress to celebrate their cultural and historic contributions to the Bicentennial. Selections from the Local Legacies projects will be digitized and shared electronically over the Internet at www.loc.gov, where Americans for generations to come will be able to learn about their cultural heritage at the end of the century.
October 23 - 27, 2000
National Libraries of the World: Interpreting the Past and Shaping the Future
The Library of Congress will host an international symposium, "National Libraries of the World: Interpreting the Past, Shaping the Future," on Oct. 23-27, 2000. Librarians from around the world will explore the influences that have shaped national libraries in the past and issues confronting them today and in the next century.
October 30-31, 2000
To Preserve and Protect: Linking Preservation and Security
Library preservation and security policymakers will consider future directions in their fields. Topics include establishing preservation and security standards, measuring effectiveness, establishing budgets and allocating funds for preservation and security, opportunities and barriers to cooperation, and challenges posed by the electronic information and digitization age.
November 15-17, 2000
The Library of Congress Bicentennial Conference on Bibliographic Control for the New Millennium: Confronting the Challenges of Networked Resources and the Web
During the last five years, libraries have seen an explosion of digital resources available on the World Wide Web, and these resources have presented a number of cataloging problems related to their bibliographic control. Leaders in the library cataloging and Internet information communities will meet to discuss policy and procedures of producing standardized records to enable bibliographic control and access to resources in a variety of formats. The 2 1/2-day event will include presentations, panel discussions, breakout sessions and technology demonstrations by vendors and project managers. Visit the web site.
National Digital Library Program's "Gift to the Nation"
This Web site, drawing on items from the Library's incomparable American history collections, as well as materials from other repositories, is called "American Memory." It has been listed among the top Web sites by Time magazine, Family PC Magazine and PC Week and recently received the GII Award for Excellence in Education. Among the primary sources freely available are photographs from the Civil War and Depression era, panoramic views of America's cities and towns, examples of popular culture (baseball cards, folk songs), manuscripts of American presidents, Thomas Edison's motion pictures, documents of the women's suffrage and civil rights movements, and letters of Frederick Douglass and other abolitionists. This public-private initiative has been funded through the generosity of the U.S. Congress and private donors.
January 2001 (permanent)
World Treasures of the Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is more than America's library, it is a world library in the scope of its collections, gathered from every corner of the globe.
The exhibition "World Treasures of the Library of Congress" will expand the focus of the Library's first permanent exhibition, "American Treasures," which features more than 270 items representing a cross section of the Library's vast repository of rare books, music, manuscripts, maps, photographs, drawings, audio clips and videotapes.
Items to be included in this popular exhibition are the 1478 Washington Haggadah, Sumerian cuneiform tablets from 2040 B.C., posters illustrated by Toulouse Lautrec and musical manuscripts by Beethoven, Mozart and Mendelssohn.