Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

March 20, 2014

Q&A on the Library of Congress

By U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley
The Daily Iowegian

---- — By U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley

Q: What is the Library of Congress?

A: Known as the nation’s library, the Library of Congress is located on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. It serves as the primary research arm of Congress. Home to 36 million books and more than 121 million maps, films, audio and video recordings, photographs and other treasures of human knowledge and creativity, the Library of Congress shelves its vast collection of materials in the Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and James Madison buildings located across the street from the U.S Capitol. Registered visitors age 16 and older may use the books and other materials on-site. Free public tours are available Monday through Saturday. The library welcomes 1.6 million visitors each year. Iowans visiting the nation’s capital ought to make time to stop in and see the Great Hall of the Jefferson Building. Perhaps one of the best-kept secrets on Capitol Hill, the stunning space rises 75 feet from marble floor to stained glass ceiling. Guided kid-friendly family tours are available, and the library’s online calendar at includes information regarding lectures, concerts, films, exhibitions and other programs scheduled throughout the year. For general information about visiting the library, I also invite Iowans to contact my office at or (202) 224-3744. Information about touring other sites in Washington, D.C., is available at under Constituent Services.

Q: How can Iowa educators take advantage of the Library of Congress without a visit to Washington, D.C?

A: Just like virtually all facets of life in the 21st century, technology has transformed the way people access information. In fact, the Library of Congress offers teachers, school librarians, home school educators and parents across the country free access to more than 19 million primary sources, such as photos, posters, maps, and other historical digitized documents. Users may take advantage of tools and instructional guides to engage school students and children at home to take an inquisitive look at these raw materials of history. By visiting, educators in Iowa have access to the Library of Congress’ reservoir of primary source materials at their fingertips. The collection includes original historical artifacts from all 50 states. During my annual visits to each of Iowa’s 99 counties, I’m glad to have the opportunity to visit frequently with students in schools across the state. Representative government is a two-way street, and it’s encouraging to answer public policy questions from the next generation of leaders. Whether asking a question to an elected official or analyzing a historical document, map or photograph, it’s important to America’s posterity that today’s parents and educators inspire America’s next generation to think critically, investigate, innovate and create. The Library of Congress provides a good place to get started with lesson plans, activities and primary resources to jump-start the dialogue with students. From poetry and literature; sports, recreation and leisure; or government, law and politics, the Library of Congress chronicles America’s treasures of creativity, knowledge and history from A to Z.