Saturday, December 26, 2009

Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and serves as the research arm of Congress. It is also the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections.

The Library's mission is to make its resources available and useful to the Congress and the American people and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations.

Not only does the Library of Congress have an online catalog where you can look up books and media in all kinds of formats, but they also have an extensive website with lots of neat information. Click "American Memory" and then "Go" in the box on the right to see what's currently on exhibit, or scroll down to Chronicling America to see newspapers from all eras in American history. Learn how to copyright something or find a library near you that lends braille materials.

There's a section for Kids and Families that has great information for school projects. Teachers can also find materials for use in the classroom, such as primary sources, lesson plans, and activities. Some sections are themed and may change, so keep checking back for more topics.

If you have a question, you can even ask a librarian by clicking the link at the top of many screens.

The Library has a powerful online catalog, which is useful for verifying information or doing preliminary research. Full-text is not available and you can't borrow directly from the Library (unless you live in the area or are planning a visit), but you can get citations to take to your local library. Chances are your local librarian can borrow what you need on your behalf, although usually not from the Library of Congress but from another US library. Ask for details. Besides books you can also search for audio files or photographs. There's even a way to search for copyright information.

Whether you're looking for something to read or you need information for school, try the Library of Congress. The website is packed full of useful stuff, and you'll certainly find something interesting.

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