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Library Of Congress Celebrates 200th Birthday

John Adams, with the stroke of a pen, authorized the Library of Congress in 1800 to use $5,000 to begin purchasing books for members of Congress. Now, 200 years later, the Library has become the world's biggest.

To celebrate its 200th birthday, the library held a birthday bash, opened a new web site for kids and showed off a reconstruction of Thomas Jefferson's own library, the core of the world's biggest collection, according to published reports. Jefferson sold the government almost 6,500 books, one of the best collections in the country, after the British burned the library in the early 1800s.

The new web site features 3,000 items for children and families.

The library features almost 9.5 million books, music, bound newspapers and other printed materials, in addition to more than 53 million manuscripts and 13 million films, prints, photos, drawings and posters, according to reports.

April 24, 2000