The Word’s Biggest Library
In terms of the shelf space occupied, the Library of Congress is the biggest in the world. Its collection stretches out to over 530 miles (850 km). The second biggest is the British Library at 388 miles (625 km).
The Library of Congress is made up of three buildings at Capitol Hill: the Thomas Jefferson Building, John Adams Building and James Madison Memorial Building. The library size and collections to be mentioned are from these three buildings combined.
The Library of Congress Facts and Figures
The library is divided into the following units: Office of Strategic Initiatives, Library Services, Law Library of Congress, U.S. Copyright Office, Congressional Research Service and the Office of the Librarian.
The items in the library are over 144 million. This includes 32 million books and printed materials. These are in 470 languages. There are 62 million manuscripts. The library has the biggest collection of rare books in the US. Its collection of maps, sheet music, sound recordings, films, legal materials is the largest on the planet.
If there is ever an ideal library size, the Library of Congress is probably it. In 2009 alone, it had more than 81 million visitors to its website. They gave references services to nearly 590,000 people via phone, in person and email.
There are 11,701,147 books in raised and large type in the collection. Also included are incunabula, books printed prior to 1501. The other printed materials included are technical reports, pamphlets, bound newspapers, serials and monographs.
The non-classified collections number 111,046,531 items. This collection includes 3,052,857 audio materials. The audio collection includes talking books, tapes, discs and various types of recording formats. There are also 6,001.971 pieces of sheet music, 16,206,259 microforms and 5,391,200 maps.
The visual materials total 14,426,474 items. The collection includes 554,645 prints and drawings, 101,449 posters, 12, 5557,200 photographs and 1,213,180 moving images.
In 2009, the Library registered 382,086 copyright claims and made 1,491 legal research reports for federal agencies. Their online site has more than 19 million source files. The Library of Congress has 3,624 employees.
Even though there is not one ideal library size for everyone, the dimensions of the Library of Congress can be considered as one of the most suitable for research.