July 14, 2011 C-SPAN Goes Behind the Scenes at World's Largest Library July 18

Press Contact: Sheryl Cannady, Library of Congress, (202) 707-6456 | Howard Mortman, C-SPAN, (202) 626-6527
Contact: Watch the documentary online.

If you read one book a day, how many years would it take to read every book cataloged in the Library of Congress, the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge? This is one of the little-known facts that viewers will learn from watching C-SPAN’s 90-minute feature documentary, “The Library of Congress.” This original production will debut on the public affairs cable TV network on Monday, July 18 at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. (ET).

The documentary about the Library is C-SPAN’s latest original feature on America’s iconic government institutions and buildings. It follows the network’s previous specials on the Capitol, the White House and the Supreme Court. This in-depth examination of the Library takes an intimate look at the oldest U.S. federal cultural institution, providing a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the history of the world’s largest library and its vast collection of books, photographs, maps and manuscripts.

Viewers will be treated to some fun facts as they tour the historic Jefferson Building, which has been referred to as a “celebration in stone.” “My favorite part of this building is the Main Reading Room—it’s just a combination of inspiration all around you,” says Librarian of Congress James H. Billington during the program. In describing her experience shooting in the Jefferson’s Main Reading Room, the documentary’s producer Connie Doebele says “A part of me felt like I was in a church where knowledge was my God and books were my path to a higher power.”

On display for audiences to witness will be some of the Library’s most coveted and rarely seen treasures. Among them are Lewis & Clark’s “TripTik®” to the new world, a map drawn by George Washington that spans decades, an unusual copy of Adolph Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” enlightening correspondence between two historic figures, the document that changed the course of human history, a tragedy marked in the pages of a president’s diary, photos that created a movement and personal artifacts of Abraham Lincoln.

The documentary also examines how the Library is using science and technology to protect the nearly 150 million items in its collections, including how technology unearthed a revealing change to the Declaration of Independence and the way that conservators painstakingly “wash” rare documents. The Library of Congress is the only library in the world with its own preservation-science laboratory.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. It seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at myLOC.gov.

Created by the cable TV industry and now in over 100 million TV households, C-SPAN programs three public affairs television networks in both SD and HD; C-SPAN Radio, heard in Washington, D.C. and nationwide via XM Satellite Radio; and a video-rich website which hosts the C-SPAN Video Library (www.c-span.org External).


PR 11-130
ISSN 0731-3527