Contact: Matt Raymond, (202) 707-0020; Danny Maiello (202) 828-8899

November 19, 2008

Library of Congress Unveils Interactive Customization Features for Visitors, Extends Hours for the Public

“Passport to Knowledge” Allows Visitors To Build Individual Collections of Library’s Treasures; “Knowledge Quest” Game An Exciting Journey of Discovery

Beginning Dec. 11, a series of innovative features at the Library of Congress will greet visitors, seamlessly integrating the onsite experience in the Thomas Jefferson Building with the Library’s online experience, all part of the new "Library of Congress Experience," which launched this past spring.

Visitors will receive a "Passport to Knowledge" as they enter the building, enabling them to personalize their visit while exploring the Library’s collections, educational content and related materials onsite and, later, online.

Each passport bears a unique barcode that connects to personalized accounts on the Library’s interactive companion site, myLOC.gov, which is also being revamped and enhanced. As visitors physically and virtually navigate through the Library’s most treasured collections, they will be able to build their own collection of items of interest at myLOC interactive kiosks located throughout the Thomas Jefferson Building. Upon returning home or to the classroom, visitors will be able to access their customized collections on myLOC.gov and continue exploring the Library’s vast resources online.

"The Library of Congress is a vast educational resource for Congress and the public," said James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress. "These new interactive features will bring to life much of the incredible knowledge stored here–in engaging and stimulating ways–for people of all ages."

Beyond building personalized collections, the Passport to Knowledge will invite visitors to participate in Knowledge Quest, an educational adventure that lets players investigate unique artifacts from the Library’s buildings and exhibitions. As with their virtual tour of the Thomas Jefferson Building, a visitor’s Knowledge Quest will also be able to continue online at myLOC.gov.

In addition to the Passport to Knowledge and Knowledge Quest, other educational content will be featured in the Library of Congress Experience. Through myLOC.gov, teachers will gain access to an even greater range of educational resources that will transform a visit to the Library into a meaningful learning experience for students. Onsite and online multimedia activities will engage young people to think critically, inspiring lifelong learning and future exploration of the Library’s collections.

"The Library of Congress Experience is about providing an educational and engaging interface with some of the Library’s unparalleled collections, not just for the millions of people who come through our doors, but also for the hundreds of millions who use our Web site," said Jo Ann Jenkins, the Library’s Chief Operating Officer.

Since launching the "Library of Congress Experience" in April 2008, the Library has seen an overall 25 percent increase in visitors to the Thomas Jefferson Building. This increase is expected to continue with the debut of the Capitol Visitor Center on Dec. 2 and the opening of new underground passageway that same day, which directly connects the U.S. Capitol to the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building.

With the opening of the Capitol Visitor Center, the Library will be extending the Thomas Jefferson Building’s regular public hours to Monday through Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Beginning with Presidents Day 2009, the Library also will be open to visitors on all federal holidays except Christmas and Thanksgiving, which in total represents more than an additional 400 hours open to the public each year. (Reading room hours for researchers will remain unchanged.) The Library will be closed on Inauguration Day.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity, and to further human understanding and wisdom, by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its Web site at www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions at myLOC.gov.

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PR 08-220
11/19/08
ISSN 0731-3527

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