The Library of Congress Turns 220

In 1800, as part of an act of Congress providing for the removal of the new national government from Philadelphia to Washington, President John Adams approved an act of Congress providing $5,000 for books for the use of Congress—the beginning of the Library of Congress.

Since that beginning 220 years ago, the Library has grown to become the largest library in the world with a collection of more than 170 million items that document human creativity and achievement across the centuries and around the globe.

Collecting and providing access to these collections takes on a new meaning and significance in our current world. With social distancing as the norm, and more time spent at home, we want to continue to highlight ways to connect with our content, our knowledgeable staff, and each other during these times. From April 24 to 30, you can celebrate the Library’s 220th birthday by participating in online programs from across the Library, reading themed posts on our blogs and social media channels, and downloading our brand new app to explore the Library’s digital collections from home.


The Library of Congress buildings remain closed to the public, with all public events currently canceled through July 1. Visit our web site for full, up-to-date information about our response to COVID-19. In the meantime, we invite you to our virtual birthday celebration and to continue to engage with us through some of the resources listed below. We look forward to continuing to serve you during this season and beyond.


Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress




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