Librarians Day launches family history gathering
Genealogy is among top topics for library visitors, sponsor says
History & Genealogy Reading Room at the Library of Congress in
Even the Library of Congress is heavily involved in genealogical research.
\"It's always been a staple,\" he said. But in recent years, with all the automation, it has just expanded tremendously.\"
Local History & Genealogical Reading Room is one of 20 reading
rooms that are open to the public. Last year, he said, the library was
visited by 1.6 million patrons. It has, at latest count, 141,874,810
items in its collection; new items are added to the collection at an
average rate of just more than 10,000 per year.
is a superlative library,\" Sweany said. \"And talking about the
highlights of the collection is sort of like trying to take a drink of
water out of a fire hydrant.\"
library dates to 1815, when Thomas Jefferson sold his private library
to Congress, after the original collection was burned by the British in
the War of 1812.
collection had between 9,000 and 10,000 volumes, including some
European books such as the English Domsday Book and the Peerage of
Ireland. Up until then, \"the library was primarily a law library, for
use of Congress only,\" said Sweany, \"but Jefferson said he could not
conceive of a subject that should not be of interest to Congress.\"
Over the years, it has \"expanded to the breadth and depth we enjoy today.\"
way most people now access the extensive library collection is online,
he said, where it is possible to search by keyword as well as employ
advanced search methods. Materials are also available through
questions can be asked through the \"Ask a Librarian\" program. And some
9 million items that document U.S. history and culture have now been
digitized through the \"American Memory\" program, with more being added
all the time. American Memory collections include such things as a
survey of historic buildings, first-person narratives of the American
South, panoramic maps, diaries and letters from the trails to Utah and
the Pacific from 1846-1869, historic newspapers, Civil War photographs
\"We are not able to do any research,\" said Sweany, \"but we can offer suggestions on where to look.\"
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