Library of Congress, District of Columbia ©Author Adventures
Library of Congress, District of Columbia ©Author Adventures

Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is a grand and robust testament of scholarship in every academic field and has the most complete United States national archives. You can find information in every form available on a broad range of subjects.

According to its website: “The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at, and register creative works of authorship at”

We recommend every student, teacher and librarian plan a visit to the Library of Congress at least once.  It also helps to know that the Library of Congress makes millions of items easily accessible online for free.

Portrait of James Baldwin by Beauford Delaney, The Broad Museum, Los Angeles

Sample Item

An example of the vast online resources the Library of Congress freely makes available to the public is an audio recording of a speech by author James Baldwin (the speech begins at 04:38, after he is welcomed by thunderous applause and a brief introduction). Click here to listen: This speech is one of 25 million records accessible through the Library of Congress website at

Center for the Book

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 spawned state-level Centers for the Book in several US states, beginning with the Florida Center for the Book, which was originally housed in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

John Y. Cole is the author of several books, including and not limited to Encyclopedia of the Library of Congress: For Congress, the Nation & The World (2004) and America’s Greatest Library: An Illustrated History of the Library of Congress (2017).

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

Library of Congress Jefferson Building Plaque, District of Columbia ©Author Adventures

Patricia Smart