The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

October 7, 2012

Library of Congress magazine debuts


The Library of Congress has posted the first issue of its new publication, “Library of Congress Magazine,” free on the Internet at (click on “Download PDF 14.55 MB”). According to the library’s news release, this bi-monthly general-interest magazine is designed to feature educational and entertaining articles about both current and historical events.

“Like our online offerings and exhibitions, the new magazine pulls the library’s amazing collections off the shelves and out of the archive boxes, bringing information, images and history together in an entertaining and informative package,” said Gayle Osterberg, the library’s director of communications and executive editor.

This issue’s cover story, “Out of the Ashes,” tells about the congressional library, which was burned by the British during the War of 1812, but “has grown (into) the world’s largest repository of knowledge.” An article tells of the economic impact of the War of 1812; another article, “Growing a Library,” tells how the library got its books, films, maps, personal papers, and more.

This issue also includes a copy of the “Star-Spangled Banner” signed by composer Francis Scott Key. The article, “Words to the Wise: Aesop’s Fables,” includes a “new app for users of the iPad, iPhone and Android devices (which) features the text of selected fables plus color pictures, video and interactive animations that will charm readers of all ages.”

Regular departments of the magazine will include “How Do I?,” “Online Offerings” and ”Shop the Library.”

Well illustrated, this magazine is sure to become a favorite of many readers.

Digital collections

From the Library of Congress website (mentioned above), one can click on “Digital Collections” (in the toolbar across the top of the page) and be taken to a page having links to such digital collections as American History & Culture (documents, etc., from American Memory), Historic Newspapers, International Collections (from overseas libraries from Global Gateway), Legislative Information (searchable text of bills, Congressional Record, etc.), Performing Arts (collections, articles and special presentations on music, theater and dance materials), Prints and Photographs (catalog with more than 1 million digital images), Veterans History (first-person stories), and Early Sound Recordings (with more than 10,000 78-rpm disc sides issued by Victor, 1900-1925). There are also links to Manuscript Collections (writings of Lincoln, Jefferson and others, as well as slave narratives), map collections and more.

“The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 151 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. 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, publication and exhibitions.”

Queries, as well as a general exchange of genealogical material that readers would like to share, will be printed in the column for free. Contact Joan Griffis by e-mailing