Press Contacts: Guy Lamolinara, Library of Congress (202) 707-9217;Linda Wallace, American Library Association (800) 545-2433, ext. 5042;Bicentennial Program Office: see below

August 18, 1999

Library of Congress-American Library Association Free Promotion/Activity Materials Available

Tip Sheet and Toolkit Celebrate Library of Congress Bicentennial and Libraries Nationwide

"Celebrating America's Library and America's Libraries" is a joint Tip Sheet of the Library of Congress and the American Library Association available free to any library or other repository that wants to participate in promotional activities ranging from creating a time capsule and hosting a local "living legends" event to sponsoring a library card sign-up competition and celebrating National Library Week.

The Tip Sheet is available with a Library of Congress Bicentennial Toolkit that contains materials for implementing many of the Tip Sheet's suggested events and programs. Also included is a full- color "Why Do You Love Libraries?" poster suitable for displaying in any library.

The Library of Congress Bicentennial, whose theme is "Libraries, Creativity, Liberty," is intended as a celebration of all libraries and the important role they play in community life. Founded April 24, 1800, the Library is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution. It preserves a collection of 115 million items -- more than two-thirds of which are in media other than books. These include the world's largest map and film and television collections. In addition to its primary mission of serving the research needs of Congress, the Library serves all Americans through its popular Web site ( and in its 22 reading rooms on Capitol Hill.

"We will celebrate with pride our first 200 years of Library history," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. During that time, the Library has grown into the world's largest repository of knowledge and creativity, which it has preserved for all generations of Americans. "We want to take advantage of this opportunity to energize national awareness of the critical role that all libraries play in keeping the spirit of creativity and free inquiry alive in our society."

The American Library Association is the world's largest library association. It provides leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

The Tip Sheet and Toolkit were mailed to public libraries nationwide and also were distributed during the American Library Association Annual Meeting in New Orleans in June.

"The Tip Sheet and Toolkit are filled with fun and interesting ways to engage your patrons in recognizing how important your library is to the community it serves," said Dr. Billington and Sarah Ann Long, 1999-2000 president of the American Library Association.

Institutions that want to participate in the Library of Congress Bicentennial while at the same time promote their services should contact the Library by calling (202) 707-2000; toll free (800) 707-7145; fax (202) 707-7440. You can also submit your request at:

Among the materials in the Toolkit are:

  • A brief history of the public library system in America, which can be photocopied and distributed to patrons from a stand-up dispenser (also provided). Another fact sheet, "What the Library of Congress Does for You," details the public services of the national library.
  • Forms for patrons who are participants in suggested events such as creating a time capsule; a day to honor local "Living Legends," a "Favorite Poem" day, a "Library Appreciation" day.
  • A stand-up guide to the American Memory on-line collections of the Library of Congress. For additional information about the Library of Congress Bicentennial, visit:

For more information about National Library Week and other promotion opportunities for libraries see the ALA Web site at (external link).

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PR 99-111
ISSN 0731-3527

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