Press contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022
Public contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221

February 4, 2005

New Encyclopedia of the Library of Congress Is Published

An Authoritative, One -Volume Reference Work 10 Years in the Making

The Library of Congress and Bernan Press recently published the "Encyclopedia of the Library of Congress: For Congress, the Nation & the World," an authoritative, one-volume reference work of newly written and researched essays, articles and statistical appendices. Edited by John Y. Cole and Jane Aikin, the volume describes the historical development of the collections, functions and services of the world’s largest library and research institution from its origin in 1800 through late 2004.

Developed in cooperation with the International Encyclopedia Society, the volume is 569 pages and contains 22 color photographs, 19 of them in an opening 15?page portfolio of the Library’s spectacular Thomas Jefferson Building. More than 350 black-and-white illustrations, many published for the first time, depict collections, services, administrative units and important people. Many of the volume’s essays, articles and photographs document the development of both the Library of Congress and American librarianship.

Initiated in 1995 by senior editor John Y. Cole, director of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and an authority on the Library’s history, the volume is co-edited by library historian Jane Aikin, who is senior academic adviser, Division of Research Programs, at the National Endowment for the Humanities. More than 50 Library of Congress subject specialists contributed to the book, which includes biographies of the 13 Librarians of Congress, a section on "Further Research and Reading" and a 36-page index.

"This is the most comprehensive book ever published about the Library of Congress," said Cole. "The 14 overview essays are thematic; the 79 shorter articles, alphabetically arranged, focus on specific functions, divisions and activities. The appendices are especially valuable since they bring together information never before compiled." The five appendices are: Senior Library Officials, 1802-2004: A Selective List; Library of Congress Legislative Appropriations, 1800-2004; Growth of the Library’s Collections, 1801?2003; Major Gifts and Endowments for the Library’s Collections, 1869-2004: A Selective List; and Chairmen of the Congressional Committees on the Library, 1805-2004.

Librarian and historian Cole has headed the Library’s Center for the Book since it was established in 1977. Since 1970 he has published four books and more than 100 articles about the Library of Congress and its activities. His first book was "For Congress and the Nation: A Chronological History of the Library of Congress" (1979); the most recent, "The Library of Congress: The Art and Architecture of the Thomas Jefferson Building," (1997, co-edited with architectural historian Henry Hope Reed).

Historian Jane Aikin has written widely about the Library of Congress and research libraries in general. Her publications include "The Nation’s Great Library: Herbert Putnam and the Library of Congress, 1899-1939" (1993), and "High Culture, Low Culture: The Singular Duality of the Library of Congress," which appeared in American Studies (Fall 2001).

"Encyclopedia of the Library of Congress: For Congress, the Nation & the World," a hardcover publication, is available for $125 from the Library of Congress Sales Shop, Washington, DC 20540-4985. Credit card orders are taken at (888) 682-3557. Online orders can be placed at www.loc.gov/shop/. It can also be ordered from Bernan Press (order no. BP9718) by telephone (800) 865-3457, fax (800) 865-3450, or online at www.bernanpress.com.

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PR 05-019
02/04/05
ISSN 0731-3527

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