Friday, April 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Library of Congress!

April 24, 1800. Only 24 years after the United States was established, Congress discovered the need for a library of their very own. They spent $5,000, and voila! A library. The first Library of Congress was burned down when the British invaded the Capitol in 1814. At this point Thomas Jefferson stepped in with his large collection of books and re-established the library. In 1851 35,000 volumes were destroyed by fire! Was the Library doomed? Third time's the charm - The Library of Congress is now comprised of 3 buildings, one of which, the James Madison Memorial Building, is the largest library building in the world. There are 130 million items in the Library of Congress today. Take that, British invading force of 1814! Enjoy your birthday, Library of Congress! You’ve earned the celebration.
Source: World Book Encyclopedia 2007; vol. 12 pp 264-263

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