“This is a place where you can touch history and imagine your future. I invite you to visit the Library of Congress – through this book…There never has been a library – or an institution – quite like it”—Carla D. Hayden, 14th Librarian of Congress
The Library of Congress occupies an important crossroads in American life, a place where the nation’s political and literary cultures intersect. Created by Congress in 1800, it has evolved into a multi-faceted cultural institution serving a national and international audience through a wide array of programs, activities, and outreach. It is the major research arm of the US Congress, America’s national library, the nation’s copyright agency, and an important innovator and partner in electronic and digital network development.
In America’s Greatest Library, Library of Congress Historian John Y. Cole highlights the history, personalities, collections, and events that have created and sustained this singular institution. Packed with fascinating stories, compelling images, and little-known nuggets of information, this illustrated history traces the growth of the collections of the world’s largest library through a combination of concise chronological milestones, brief essays, vivid photographs, and illustrations.
The book highlights such important acquisitions and episodes as:
For more than 50 years, beginning in 1966 when he joined its staff as an administrative intern, librarian and historian John Y. Cole has sought to increase public understanding of the key role of the Library of Congress in American government, scholarship, and culture. As the director of the Library’s Center for the Book from its founding in 1977 until 2016, he helped establish the Books & Beyond author series (1996), the Library of Congress National Book Festival (2001), the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature program (2008), the Library of Congress Young Readers Center (2009), and the Library of Congress Literacy Awards (2013). The author or editor of eight books and dozens of articles about the institution and its history and activities, he was named to a new position as the Library’s first official historian in 2016