The Library of Congress is the National Library of the United States. It is located in the capital city of Washington, D.C., and is one of the most important and largest libraries in the world. It is particularly notable for the diversity of its collection of books and other valuable papers and documents.

The Library of Congress was founded in 1800 after President John Adams passed an act of Congress that moved the government from Philadelphia to Washington. The legislature needed reference literature, so books were needed to keep and file. For this purpose $5,000 has been appropriated for the purchase of books, and the library is to be located in the Capitol. It was there until 1814, when the Capitol was destroyed by the British army. After hostilities ended, a new library building was built across the street from the Capitol.

President Thomas Jefferson, now retired from office, sold his large collection of 6,487 books to the National Library. The other person credited with the development of the library collection was Ainsworth Rand Spofford, Librarian of Congress from 1864 to 1897. In 1870, he introduced a copyright law that required two copies of a work to be sent to the library if writers wanted to protect their copyrights. So following these premises, a new building was needed to accommodate the large amount of literature.

In 1886, a competition was held to design the new library. Twenty-two sculptors and twenty-six artists applied their skills to create this masterpiece. The inauguration of the grand new building took place in 1897. The façade of the library was decorated by a magnificent fountain, borrowed from the famous fountains of Rome.

Today's Library of Congress consists of three buildings - the original Thomas Jefferson Building, the John Adams Building, opened in 1938, and the James Madison Memorial Building, opened in 1981 as the headquarters for the entire library.

The Library of Congress holds 140 million items, including 30 million books alone, plus newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, manuscripts, miscellaneous publications, audio and video materials, photographs, maps, etc. Every year, the library's collection receives around 2 million new items.

The Library of Congress also has its own online resource where all materials stored in the library can be viewed. There are also catalogs of general information. Four thousand staff members at the library make sure that visitors are able to find their favorite author and have a pleasant and comfortable time in one of the 18 reading rooms. Books from the library may only be checked out by members of Congress and the Supreme Court.

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