The Library of Congress is America's national library. It has millions of books and other objects. It has newspapers, popular publications and letters of historical interest. It also has maps, photographs, art prints, movies, sound recordings and musical instruments. All together, it has more than 100 million objects.
The Library of Congress is open to the public Monday through Saturday, except for government holidays. Anyone may go there and read anything in the collection. But no one is permitted to take books out of the building.
The Library of Congress was established in 1800. It started with eleven boxes of books in one room of the Capitol Building. By 1814, the collection had increased to about 3,000 books. They were all destroyed that year when the Capitol was burned during America's war with Britain.
In 1897, the Library moved to its own building across the street from the Capitol. Today, three buildings hold the library's collection.
The Library of Congress provides books and materials to the United States Congress. It also lends books to other American libraries, government agencies and foreign libraries. It buys some of its books and gets others as gifts. It also gets materials through its copyright office. Anyone who wants copyright protection for a publication must send two copies to the library. This means the Library of Congress receives almost everything published in the United States.