The oldest cultural institution in the nation's capital, the Library of Congress
occupies a unique place in American civilization. Established as a legislative
library in 1800, it grew into a national institution in the nineteenth century,
a product of American cultural nationalism. Since World War II, it has become an
international resource of unparalleled dimension and the world's largest library.
In its three massive structures on Capitol Hill, the Thomas Jefferson, John Adams,
and James Madison Memorial Buildings, the Library of Congress brings together the
concerns of government, learning, and librarianship--an uncommon combination, but
one that has greatly benefited American scholarship and culture.