James H. Billington
Librarian of Congress
On behalf of the Library of Congress and its staff, I welcome you to the American Library Association's Annual Conference. The Library of Congress is delighted to be hosting the All Conference Reception in our gloriously restored Jefferson Building on Saturday night, June 27, from 8 to 10:30 p.m. And please join us here at the Library for special tours, presentations, workshops, demonstrations, seminars, briefings and programs, all listed on our Web site.
Libraries are the key to a democratic society. The Library of Congress will be 200 years old in the year 2000, and we are inviting all librarians and libraries to join us in the commemoration. Our goal is nothing less than inspiring creativity in the century ahead by stimulating greater use of the Library of Congress and of libraries everywhere. Our slogan, "Libraries, Creativity, Liberty," will be emphasized in our Bicentennial program, and we hope you will join us at the state and local levels in making April 2000, the actual month of the Library of Congress's birthday, a celebration of all libraries.
One exciting Bicentennial project is now being developed with the American Library Association: a grassroots photo contest called "Picture the Library." We plan to launch this nationwide contest jointly in local libraries in January 1999 and then to extend the project into the next century through a traveling exhibition. More details are available from the ALA at this conference.
There will be many other opportunities for librarians to participate in the Library of Congress Bicentennial. They include continued cooperation with libraries in our National Digital Library Program, which will make millions of American history items available online by the end of the year 2000; "Local Legacies," which will document and make available, through the Library of Congress, distinctive records of regional, state and local history and the heritage of communities throughout America; "Frontiers of Knowledge," a series of conferences and publications beginning in June 1999 and extending through October 2000; and "Favorite Poem," which will record for the Library's archives a sampling of Americans reading their favorite poems aloud.
For additional details about the LC Bicentennial and information about how you and your library can become involved, see the Library's Web site. And have a wonderful conference!