The World’s Largest Library

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In case you didn’t know, the world’s largest library is the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.  Their collection currently contains 142 million items.  Of that, 4.4 million are related to science and technology.  When you think about libraries, especially the Library of Congress, you shouldn’t just think books.  The Library houses cultural items like a piano that belonged to George and Ira Gershwin and the original sketches for the Spiderman comic book series.

During spring break, I traveled to Washington, D.C., where I toured the Library of Congress.  The tour guide shared many interesting facts and debunked a common myth, the Library of Congress does not hold a copy of every book ever printed in the U.S.!   However, the Library does function as a copyright clearinghouse, so books are assigned copyright there and cataloged.  But not EVERY book is added to the collection.

You might also find it interesting that in addition to employing many, many librarians, catalogers, and archivists, the Library has chemists and engineers on staff, all concerned with the preservation of U.S. and World artifacts.  If you have a chance to visit the Library of Congress, I’d recommend it; if not, you can visit virtually at http://www.loc.gov.

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  1. Kathy Turner on

    I attended the American Library Association conference in D.C. (in 1998!) and enjoyed a behind-the-scenes tour of the Library of Congress. Awesome!