The Library of Congress 

The Library of the US Capitol is built on the private collection of books by Thomas Jefferson.

During the 1812 war when the US capitol was attacked, books on facts, statistics and laws of the United States were all burnt. Thomas Jefferson then offered to donate his books to Congress. Books were then moved from the library of Jefferson to start what has now become known as the Library of Congress.


Between 1851 and 1853, the library ached many losses due to fire. Close to 55,000 volumes of materials were destroyed by fire. Ideas then dawn on law makers that the Library of Congress needed to have separate structure independent of the capitol building. That idea was put into effect by Jefferson in 1886. By 1897, the new building was ready for the general public. Today, the Library of Congress enjoys the privilege of being the most prestigious and the best equipped library in the world with over 90 million items.


The Library of congress contains about 84 million articles, 74 million books. All these documents and articles are written in 365 languages. There are several buildings adjacent and across the Library of Congress that constitute and extension of the library. These houses include the Madison Building and John Adams Building. In the Madison building several services are located within it: the copyright office, geography room, law library, presidential papers, prints and photographs.


Also, in the Adams building you have the African, Asian, Hebrew, Near East, Science and social science reading rooms. In one of these buildings, a short film documentary is shown to visitors about the history of the Library of Congress.

To gain access to the library and to become a permanent member of library, you need to apply for a temporary library card or a permanent one. The services for membership cards are located on the first floor of the Jefferson building which is the main building of the library. It is the building that is located next to the Supreme Court.

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