The first library in the United States was the Library of Congress, established in 1800 when President Adams authorized $5000 to fund it.  It was housed in the Capital building until 1814 when the British destroyed it.  In 1815, Thomas Jefferson offered his extensive collection of 50 years accumulation to replace the destroyed library and it was purchased a year later for $23,000+.  In 1886, congress voted to construct a new building in the Italian Renaissance style.

“Today’s Library of Congress is an unparalleled world resource. The collection of more than 144 million items includes more than 33 million cataloged books and other print materials in 460 languages; more than 63 million manuscripts; the largest rare book collection in North America; and the world’s largest collection of legal materials, films, maps, sheet music and sound recordings.”  (Quote taken from the website http://www.loc.gov/about/history.html)  If you haven’t been to this building be sure to go see it.  It is fantastic.  Otherwise, look at the web page http://www.loc.gov  to view all the great information.

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