One of many medallions and plaques adorning the walls of the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is the grand testament of American scholarship in every academic field and has the most complete archives in the United States. You can find information in every form on a broad range of subjects. Every student, teacher and librarian should journey to the Library of Congress at least once. (We have completed four pilgrimages there so far.)

An example of the vast online resources that the Library of Congress freely makes available to the public is this audio recording of a speech by author James Baldwin: It is one of 25 million records available online through the Library of Congress.

The Library of Congress is also the home of the Center for the Book (, which is a catalyst for the enjoyment of reading by all, founded in 1977 and long under the directorship of librarian and historian John Y. Cole. It also helped yield state-level Centers for the Book, the first of which was the Florida Center for the Book.

James Baldwin portrait
Portrait of James Baldwin by Beauford Delaney, The Broad Museum, Los Angeles ©Author Adventures

The Library of Congress is the third stop on our District of Columbia Trail!

Patricia Smart