Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the national library (National libraries) of the United States. Although its official primary role is to serve Congress (and, by extension, the other branches of the federal government), it also serves scholars as the premier research library in the country. LC plays a lead role in the library community through its cataloging program, and its reference and interlibrary loan services (ILL) make it the "library of last resort."
Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress was originally housed in part of the Capitol building. After British forces burned the Capitol during the War of 1812, former President Thomas Jefferson sold his extensive personal library (then one of the largest collections in the country) to the government to form the nucleus of a new Library of Congress.
In 1897, the Library got its own building (now known as the Jefferson Building) across the street from the Capitol. The Adams and Madison buildings would follow.
At the turn of the 20th century, the Library standardized its cataloging practices. During this time, LC staff developed the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) and Library of Congress Classification System. Both were developed for the Library of Congress' use, but LCSH became the dominant controlled vocabulary in American libraries, and the classification system is widely used in academic libraries.
Librarians of Congress
- 1802-1807 John J. Beckley
- 1807-1815 Patrick Magruder
- 1815-1829 George Watterston
- 1829-1861 John Silva Meehan
- 1861-1864 John G. Stephenson
- 1864-1897 Ainsworth Rand Spofford
- 1897-1899 John Russell Young
- 1899-1939 Herbert Putnam
- 1939-1944 Archibald MacLeish
- 1945-1953 Luther H. Evans
- 1954-1974 L. Quincy Mumford
- 1975-1987 Daniel J. Boorstin
- 1987- James H. Billington
- Library of Congress Official Web site
- Goodrum, Charles A. and Helen W. Dalrymple. The Library of Congress. Westview Press, 1982. ISBN: 0865313032.