On this day, 204 years ago something of great importance to Americans occurred. I'll give you a hint. It involved reading materials. Give up?
In 1802, Congress passed an act calling for a library to be established within the U.S. Capitol. The Library of Congress is our library, the oldest federal cultural institution in our nation, and it serves as the research arm of Congress.
The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, with more than 130 million items on approximately 530 miles of bookshelves. The collections include more than 29 million books and other printed materials, 2.7 million recordings, 12 million photographs, 4.8 million maps, and 58 million manuscripts.
The current Librarian of Congress is Dr. James Billington. He says 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." He is charged with the task of setting policy and directing and supporting programs and activities to accomplish this mission.