The Library of Congress is simply one of my favorite places. President John Adams signed a bill in 1800 establishing a reference library in the new capital city of Washington, DC. The legislation provided that it contain “such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress — and for putting up a suitable apartment for containing them therein…”
Originally, it was housed in the Capitol. During the War of 1812 the British invaded and set fire to the Capitol Building burning most of the collection. Retired President Thomas Jefferson offered his personal collection which he had amassed over 50 years, and which was considered to be one of the finest in America.
I will try to curtail my enthusiasm for the architecture and my personal fondness for the building! However, a little information seems to be in order. The Library is comprised of three buildings, The Thomas Jefferson Building, the john Adams building and the James Madison Building. The Jefferson Building (1897), located next to the Supreme Court and across from the U.S. Capitol, is impressive. If you are interested, take a virtual tour of the building.
But on to books and reading. You have probably heard of the Library of Congress National Book Festival. It was started by then First Lady Laura Bush and the Librarian of Congress James H. Billington with the inaugural event in 2001. This year’s event is scheduled for August.
The Library has been sponsoring an ongoing .. and online!…celebration of the Festival with daily features of videos of the thousands of authors who have appeared at the Festival over the past nearly 20 years. Mondays focus on topical nonfiction; Tuesday: poetry or literature; Wednesday: history, biography, memoir, Thursday: popular fiction and Friday: authors who write for children and teens.
Check out the fascinating talks with such authors as Neil Patrick Harris, Colson Whitehead, Patricia Cornwell, Tara Westover, Edmund Morris, and Jacqueline Woodson to name a few of the thousands who have participated.
-posted by Brenda, Reference Services