joy magnetism: I cannot live without books




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Thursday, April 24, 2008

I cannot live without books

Magnet #62 - Library of Congress

Today's the day (in 1800) that John Adams approved a whopping $5,000 to establish the Library of Congress, now the largest library in the world. A year later, we had the first books ordered (from London, natch), shipped and delivered. A year after that, Jefferson got our nation's library in order.

Back in my publishing days, I used to submit manuscripts to the LOC to get a catalog number. And in my head, I pictured dusty tomes and very, very, very slow people sending me information.

Three things changed my mind (about the dusty tomes, I mean, never about the slow people):

1) That really good, but not executed so great Jerry Bruckheimer reality show about the teams running around the world on a treasure hunt. (Supercool clues that they had to solve, but stupid teams.) They filmed an episode here, where they had to run around the stacks to find the next clue.

2) That really good, but not executed so great Jerry Bruckheimer movie, National Treasure 2, where they filmed in the vast space of the LOC. Where they had to run around the stacks to find the supersecret Presidential book of, well, secrets.

3) A really good - no, I mean really good - (and free!) tour of the LOC. Sometimes I love how you can just take free tours of our government buildings. I find that AWEsome - it's our government! And we can see our government! In action! Too loving of big government? Sorry.

Anyway, would highly recommend the LOC tour. It's just too cool to hear about its earnest beginnings, and the money we've spent over the years - just to make sure that we have, and are preserving, the most "universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations."

This magnet is what they call the Jefferson Doors - actually, it's the main entrance to the TJ Building. There's three of them, and they weigh like 3 tons. You can't see them very well in this tiny thing, but they are supposed to show Tradition, Writing and Printing (and something about how man has preserved and disseminated history, religion, the sciences and literature).

Ok. Fine. They're supercool doors.
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2 comments:

Julie said...

yay! 2 mentions in the joy magnet blog (first the vatican and now this!). jen's mad 'cause she never gets a shout out in a blog post. she must not read mine anymore.

joy said...

Awwww, is that why jenny doesn't post on my blog anymore?

Ok. Now it's on.