So many books, so little time – Did you know the largest library in the world houses more than 170 million items? Established in 1800, it has materials in over 450 languages. Some of those materials include one of the smallest books in the world (you have to turn the pages with a needle), Stradivarius violins, and digitally archived Tweets.
Amazing, right?
Do you know where we need to travel in order to visit this library?
The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, newspapers, maps and manuscripts in its collections. The Library is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.
Library of Congress was instituted on April 24, 1800, when John Adams’ presidency countersigned an act of Congress calling for the transfer of the government’s seat from Philadelphia to the new capital city of Washington.
The law earmarked $ 5,000 “for the purchase of the books necessary for the needs of Congress and for the accommodation of an apartment suitable to contain them”.
The first library was based in the new Capitol until August 1814, when the British troops burned down the old building, destroying the approximately 3,000 books preserved in there.
The Library of Congress in Washington DC is essentially both the national library of the U.S. and the country’s oldest federal cultural institution.
Though it consists of only three buildings, it is the largest library in the world for shelf space and number of volumes.
While open to the public for on-site research and as a tourist attraction, as the research institution of Congress, only members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, and other specified government officials can check out books.
The library is formally known as the “library of last resort” in the U.S., charged with making certain items available to other national libraries if all other means have been exhausted.
The library’s holdings are vast, including more than 32 million books, more than 61 million manuscripts, a rough draft of the Declaration of Independence, one of only four perfect vellum copies of the Gutenberg Bible in the world, over one million newspapers from the last three centuries, over five million maps, six million pieces of sheet music, and more than 14 millions photos and prints.


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