The Library of Congress is unlike any other library in the world. The world’s largest library, it is home to more than 100 million books, maps, recordings, manuscripts, films and photos including items from Thomas Jefferson’s personal collection. Former President Jefferson stepped in to help the new Library after the War of 1812. In 1814, the British burned the small congressional library’s north wing. Jefferson offered to sell his extensive library of 6,487 books to “recommence” its own library.
Today, the John Adams and James Madison Buildings are also a part of the Library of Congress and honor these two Presidents for their commitment to improving the library. The library was originally created to assist members of congress with research and today it still serves as a haven of knowledge and resources to the congress as well as to the American people. In the Visitor’s Center, just inside the Jefferson Building, guests can find out about the many resources available as well as the numerous events, concerts, exhibits and lectures sponsored by the library. Here you can also get maps and see a film that gives valuable information about the library. Stop by the Great Hall in the Jefferson Building for a guided tour and be sure to see the gift shop featuring a variety of memorabilia.