2000 33¢ Library of Congress
Issue Date: April 24, 2000
City: Washington, DC
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
The Library of Congress is America’s oldest federal institution and the largest repository of knowledge in the world. The Library celebrates its 200th birthday on April 24, 2000. The Library’s initial purpose was to serve the research needs of Congress. It has grown into much more. Today, the Library of Congress is an authority on books, maps, photographs, motion pictures, and music.
On August 14, 1814, British soldiers burned the U.S. Capitol, and with it, more than 3,000 items the Library had obtained. Congress then accepted an offer by Thomas Jefferson to sell the government his collection of 6,487 books for $23,950. But a faulty chimney flue started a fire that destroyed nearly two-thirds of the Jefferson collection on December 24, 1851. The Library of Congress has tried, with some success, to find copies of the destroyed books.
In 1865, Congress enacted the requirement that one copy of every copyrighted “book, pamphlet, map, chart, musical composition, print, engraving, or photo” created in the U.S. be sent to the library. Today, two copies must go to the library, and the U.S. Copyright Office is headquartered there. The Library of Congress is now three buildings: the Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Madison Memorial buildings.