April 24:  Library of Congress Day

On this date in 1800, President John Adams approved an appropriation of $5,000 to purchase books, establishing the Library of Congress. The books were ordered from London and a total of 740 volumes were housed in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Invading British troops destroyed the library when they set fire to the Capitol Building in 1814. In 1815, Congress accepted an offer by retired President Thomas Jefferson to replace the library with his own eclectic collection of 6,487 books.

The library moved to its current location, the Thomas Jefferson Building across the street from the U.S. Capitol, in 1897. Two additional buildings were added in 1939 and 1980: The John Adams Building and the James Madison Memorial Building.

Today, the Library of Congress is the largest library in the world.  Its more than 38 million books are stored on approximately 838 miles of bookshelves.

While the Library of Congress plays an important role in the government of the United States and is the de facto national library of the U.S., just as important are the thousands of local libraries around the world.  Too often we take these spaces for granted. Here are a few choice quotations to remind us the value of libraries:

Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.Walter Cronkite

Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future.Ray Bradbury

Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest. -Lady Bird Johnson

Today’s Challenge:  The Future of Books

What is the future of libraries?  In the age of the Internet and all the changes in the way people access information and the ways they read, are physical libraries filled with physical books still important?   Research what people are saying about libraries and about the future of physical books.  Then, make your argument about what role libraries and books will play in the future, and use evidence from your research to support your reasoning.  (Common Core Writing 1 – Argument)

Quotation of the Day: Outside of a dog, books are man’s best friend; inside of a dog it’s too dark to read anyways. -Groucho Marx

1 – Library of Congress website. https://www.loc.gov/about/fascinating-facts/

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