May 16, 2012 Library of Congress Commences "Celebration of the Book"

“Books That Shaped America” Exhibition to Begin Project

Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217

The Library of Congress – the world’s largest repository of knowledge and information – will begin an ongoing “Celebration of the Book” with an exhibition this summer of “Books That Shaped America.” It will be part of a larger series of programs, symposia and other events that explore the important and varied ways that books influence our lives.

The “Books That Shaped America” exhibition will be on view from June 25 through Sept. 29 in the Southwest Gallery, on the second floor of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, located at 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. The exhibition will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The Library's Great Hall and exhibitions are open on federal holidays except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. All other parts of the Library are closed on all federal holidays. This exhibition is made possible through the support of the National Book Festival Fund.

The Library’s “Celebration of the Book” includes its 12th annual National Book Festival, which will be held Sept. 22-23 on the National Mall. The festival draws hundreds of thousands of book lovers each year.

The initial selection of “Books That Shaped America” will not be definitive; rather, it will mark the beginning of an ongoing recognition of culturally significant books from all genres of writing. Members of the public will be asked to nominate books for subsequent lists of “Books That Shaped America.” In 2013, the Library will recognize “Books That Shaped the World.”

“The ‘Celebration of the Book’ at the Library of Congress demonstrates our recognition of books as the cornerstones of American culture and democracy,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “We want to involve all Americans in a conversation about books and how they have affected them.”

The Library of Congress, with collections that are universal and comprise all media, has a long history of acknowledging the importance of books. It sponsors book symposia and author discussions, held year-round; exhibitions, such as the display of Thomas Jefferson’s Library, which formed the “seed” of today’s Library of Congress; and its annual National Book Festival.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library 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


PR 12-074
ISSN 0731-3527