In this time, when disillusionment about our national government is at its peak, it is nice to stop and reflect about something government does that we can all be proud of!
One might ask: What can that possibly be? The answer is today is the 211th anniversary of the creation of the Library of Congress, our national library in Washington, DC, which holds our most significant national treasures, along with the Smithsonian Institution and the National Archives!
Approved under John Adams for its first appropriation, the Thomas Jefferson personal library became the basis of much of the early library holdings.
Despite two major fires in the War of 1812 by the British and in the 1850s by pure coincidence, the library continued to grow, and is considered the largest library in the world, as well as the national library of the United States, containing the manuscript collections of most of the Presidents through Calvin Coolidge, as well as thousands of other famous Americans in all fields of endeavor.
Additionally, more than 17 million books are contained within the Library, which has three major buildings, and includes all published monographs in the nation, as well as many from overseas, with all published books having a Library of Congress number.
Also, there are millions of maps, photographs, audio and video recordings, prints, and drawings within the various departments of the Library of Congress, and the Congressional Research Service does heavy duty work for all members of the legislative branch.
Some of the best days of the author’s life were spent years ago doing research in the Library of Congress, spending many months researching for eight hours a day for the book he published, with the hours going by very quickly, often forgetting lunch, being fascinated by the documents and manuscripts one was holding in his own hand!
The quest for knowledge goes on, and it is the best part of what American government does, and as one thinks about the problems and crises of the past, it gives one hope that somehow we will deal with the future as we coped with the past!
In any case, knowledge is power, and one must NEVER forget that!