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Jack Thompson
Jack Thompson

Is Every Book Published In The Library Of Congress Fixed



The Library has in its collections well over 100 million items, in hundreds of different languages and virtually every format--not just books and journals, but also prints, drawings, government documents, photographs, microforms, films, sound and video recordings, manuscripts, and other formats. As large and diverse as the Library's collections are, it does not have every book ever published. While virtually all subject areas are represented in the collections, the Library does not attempt to collect comprehensively in the areas of clinical medicine and technical agriculture, which are covered by the National Library of Medicine and the National Agricultural Library, respectively. Researchers should also note that the Library of Congress is distinct from the National Archives, which is the major repository for the official records of the United States government.




is every book published in the library of congress



Many of the items listed in the Library of Congress catalogs are available in other libraries. You can ask your local librarian about interlibrary loan service from participating libraries. Your library may be able to borrow a book from the Library of Congress provided it is not available at any other libraries.


The Library of Congress does not provide individuals with information on the current market value of books. Such a search would require extensive examination of published sources, and the results would not necessarily indicate the price that the item in your possession would bring in the market. Standard reference sources on book prices, available in most large libraries, contain records of auction sales and may list pertinent transactions. See a reference librarian at your local library for assistance.


The Library of Congress is a research library, and books are used only on the premises by members of the public. Anyone age 16 and older may use the collections. All patrons using the Library's reading rooms and/or collections must have a reader card with a photo on it. Learn more about how to research at the Library.


The Library of Congress does not sell books or other materials from its collections to the public, nor is it able to provide directions to where such materials might be purchased. For more information, see Surplus Books Program or Cataloging Distribution Service. Back to Top How can I buy a book with the following LCCN (Library of Congress Control Number)?An LCCN normally indicates only that LC has cataloged the book, not that LC has published it or can offer it for sale. If LC is listed as the publisher, it may be for sale from the Publishing Office, the Cataloging Distribution Service, or the Government Printing Office. Back to Top


A PCN is sort of like an identification number, so that even if a book is not accepted into the LOC, the LOC can still identify it. In order to be considered for a PCN, your book must be published within the United States, list a place of publication on the title or copyright page, and have an editorial office in the US where the LOC can contact you or someone else about the book and confirm bibliographical information.


Most of the original collection was burnt by British forces during the War of 1812. The library began to restore its collection in 1815. The library purchased Thomas Jefferson's entire personal collection of 6,487 books. Over the next few years, its collection slowly grew, but in 1851, another fire broke out in the Capitol chambers. This destroyed a large amount of the collection, including many of Jefferson's books. After the American Civil War, the importance of the Library of Congress increased with its growth, and there was a campaign to purchase replacement copies for volumes that had been burned. The library received the right of transference of all copyrighted works to deposit two copies of books, maps, illustrations, and diagrams printed in the United States. It also began to build its collections. Its development culminated between 1888 and 1894 with the construction of its own separate, large library, now known as the Thomas Jefferson Building, across the street from the Capitol. Two more adjacent library buildings, the John Adams Building, built in the 1930s, and the James Madison Memorial Building, built in the 1970s, hold expanded parts of the collection and provide space for additional library services.


The library's primary mission is to research inquiries made by members of Congress, which is carried out through the Congressional Research Service. It also houses and oversees the United States Copyright Office. The library is open to the public for research, although only high-ranking government officials and library employees may check out (i.e., remove from the premises) books and materials.[8]


James Madison of Virginia is credited with the idea of creating a congressional library, first making such a proposition in 1783.[9] The Library of Congress was established on April 24, 1800, when President John Adams signed an act of Congress, which also provided for the transfer of the seat of government from Philadelphia to the new capital city of Washington. Part of the legislation appropriated $5,000 "for the purchase of such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress ... and for fitting up a suitable apartment for containing them."[10] Books were ordered from London, and the collection consisted of 740 books and three maps, which were housed in the new United States Capitol.[11]


In August 1814, after routing an American army at Bladensburg, the British bloodlessly occupied Washington, D.C. In retaliation for the American destruction of Port Dover, the British ordered the destruction of numerous public buildings in the city. British troops burned the Library of Congress, including its collection of 3,000 volumes.[11] These volumes had been held in the Senate wing of the Capitol.[13][14] One of the few congressional volumes to survive was a government account book of receipts and expenditures for 1810.[15] It was taken as a souvenir by British naval officer Sir George Cockburn, whose family returned it to the United States government in 1940.[16]


Within a month, Thomas Jefferson offered to sell his large personal library[17][18][19] as a replacement. Congress accepted his offer in January 1815, appropriating $23,950 to purchase his 6,487 books.[11] Some members of the House of Representatives opposed the outright purchase, including New Hampshire representative Daniel Webster. He wanted to return "all books of an atheistical, irreligious, and immoral tendency".[20]


Jefferson had spent 50 years accumulating a wide variety of books in several languages, and on subjects such as philosophy, history, law, religion, architecture, travel, natural sciences, mathematics, studies of classical Greece and Rome, modern inventions, hot air balloons, music, submarines, fossils, agriculture, and meteorology.[9] He had also collected books on topics not normally viewed as part of a legislative library, such as cookbooks. But, he believed that all subjects had a place in the Library of Congress. He remarked:


Jefferson's collection was unique in that it was the working collection of a scholar, not a gentleman's collection for display. With the addition of his collection, which doubled the size of the original library, the Library of Congress was transformed from a specialist's library to a more general one.[21] His original collection was organized into a scheme based on Francis Bacon's organization of knowledge. Specifically, Jefferson had grouped his books into Memory, Reason, and Imagination, and broke them into 44 more subdivisions.[22] The library followed Jefferson's organization scheme until the late 19th century, when librarian Herbert Putnam began work on a more flexible Library of Congress Classification structure. This now applies to more than 138 million items.


Librarian Ainsworth Rand Spofford, who directed the Library of Congress from 1865 to 1897, built broad bipartisan support to develop it as a national library and a legislative resource.[32][33] He was aided by expansion of the federal government after the war and a favorable political climate. He began comprehensively collecting Americana and American literature, led the construction of a new building to house the library, and transformed the librarian of Congress position into one of strength and independence. Between 1865 and 1870, Congress appropriated funds for the construction of the Thomas Jefferson Building, placed all copyright registration and deposit activities under the library's control, and restored the international book exchange. The library also acquired the vast libraries of the Smithsonian and of historian Peter Force, strengthening its scientific and Americana collections significantly. By 1876, the Library of Congress had 300,000 volumes; it was tied with the Boston Public Library as the nation's largest library. It moved from the Capitol building to its new headquarters in 1897 with more than 840,000 volumes, 40 percent of which had been acquired through copyright deposit.[11]


Evans' successor Lawrence Quincy Mumford took over in 1953. During his tenure, lasting until 1974, Mumford directed the initiation of construction of the James Madison Memorial Building, the third Library of Congress building on Capitol Hill. Mumford led the library during the government's increased educational spending. The library was able to establish new acquisition centers abroad, including in Cairo and New Delhi. In 1967, the library began experimenting with book preservation techniques through a Preservation Office. This has developed as the most extensive library research and conservation effort in the United States.


During Mumford's administration, the last significant public debate occurred about the Library of Congress's role as both a legislative and national library. Asked by Joint Library Committee chairman Senator Claiborne Pell (D-RI) to assess operations and make recommendations, Douglas Bryant of Harvard University Library proposed several institutional reforms. These included expanding national activities and services and various organizational changes, all of which would emphasize the library's federal role rather than its legislative role. Bryant suggested changing the name of the Library of Congress, a recommendation rebuked by Mumford as "unspeakable violence to tradition." The debate continued within the library community for some time. The Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970 renewed emphasis for the library on its legislative roles, requiring a greater focus on research for Congress and congressional committees, and renaming the Legislative Reference Service as the Congressional Research Service.[11]


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