Happy Birthday Library of Congress

On April 24, 1800, President John Adams signed the bill authorizing the creation of The Library of Congress in Washington D.C., which has become the world’s largest library. Bill Bennett, author of The American Patriot’s Almanac, says that it is “perhaps the greatest collection of stored knowledge in history.” Here’s the rest of his piece celebrating the LOC….
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It contains more than 140 million items, including maps, photographs, films, and recordings, on 650 miles of bookshelves. About 10,000 items are added every workday.

Congress established the library on April 24, 1800, when President John Adams signed a bill appropriating $5,000 for “the purchase of such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress” after it moved to Washington, the new capital city. The first books, ordered from London, arrived in 1801. The original collection consisted of 740 volumes and 3 maps.

The first collection was destroyed during the War of 1812 when the British burned the Capitol. Thomas Jefferson offered to replace it by selling Congress his personal library, one of the finest in the country. In 1815 Congress appropriated $23,950 to buy his 6,487 books. The Jefferson collection became the core of the Library of Congress.

The library serves as the research arm of Congress and the “storehouse of the national memory.” Unlike many other national libraries, its collection is not for scholars only. Anyone over high school age may use it. It also makes available, via the Internet, millions of files containing digitized versions of its collections. A library of the people, it has become a symbol of Americans’ faith in the power of learning.

For the love of books…

I liked this poster, and thought to share it with my blog readers. You can click through to the artist’s site. He has a couple more I liked…
~ pdb

Great libraries of the world…

One of my life long dreams was to have a beautiful home library, replete with fine, built-in bookcases. For my 50th birthday, my wife Laurel (and friend Paul Kitchen) made this dream come true. My home study is a wonderful place, with a portion of my library beautifully displayed!


Interestingly enough, just today I noticed that the website “Curious Expeditions” has posted over a hundred photos of some of the greatest libraries of the world — amazing to see. Here are a few that caught my eye…


Real Gabinete Portugues De Leitura Rio De Janeiro

George Vanderbilt’s Biltmore House Library, Asheville, N.C., USA

pdb

Moving a thousand books – again

The offices at our church were damaged by water coming through the flat roof last spring. When the leak was spotted, my kids and I were able to remove my pastor’s library (over 1,200 books) to another room in under 20 minutes! Thankfully only a couple were damaged by water. The rooms are now ready for occupancy again — nicely painted, with brand new, tile floors. And it’s time to move all those books back in. Of course, they need to be reorganized (so they can be found as needed), and shelved appropriately. So far, I have several hours invested in this process! But it is, for me, a labor of love.

These dear books, accumulated over 20+ years since seminary days, stand alongside the Word of God as the “tools” of a preacher’s trade. Dr George Grant writes in a similar vein about the great prince of preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, of the last century….

But in the midst of the busyness of his life and ministry, he always found time to read. Books were his most constant companions and bookstores were his most regular haunts. He was born in the little Essex village of Kelvedon in 1834. Both his father and grandfather were pastors and so he was raised around books, reading, and piety. As a youngster, he began a life long habit of diligent and unending reading—typically he read six books per week, and was able to remember what he had read and where he had read it many years later. He particularly loved old books. He claimed in his autobiography that before he was ten years old, he preferred to go into his grandfather’s study and pull down an old Puritan classic and read rather than go outside and play with friends.

…In time, his personal library numbered more than twelve thousand volumes.

The books were all shelved in Spurgeon’s study at Westwood, his family home. Of course, Spurgeon was not merely a collector. He was utilitarian, if anything. He viewed his books as the tools of his trade. And the shops where he found them were essentially his hardware stores. As a result, the books were used. They were hardly museum pieces, despite their scarcity or value. They were the natural extensions of his work and ministry. He once wrote, “My books are my tools. They also serve as my counsel, my consolation, and my comfort. They are my source of wisdom and the font of my education. They are my friends and my delights. They are my surety, when all else is awry, that I have set my confidence in the substantial things of truth and right.”

Thankful for the privilege of studying and preaching the Word,
pdb