Exploring Our National Heritage at the Library of Congress

There are few institutions as universally revered and critical to the workings of democracy as the Library of Congress. SteegeThomson is honored to be working with the Library as they approach a new era of public engagement, and we were lucky enough to get a firsthand look at the role the Library plays in American civic life.

Our visit included many highlights. We saw volumes from Jefferson’s personal library, purchased by the Library of Congress to form the core of its collection when the original library was lost to fire. It was a “hand on heart” moment to be so close to these books, and also to learn that— if needed — anyone could request access to them.

exploring card catalogs at Library of Congress

We saw the oldest known map to feature the word “America.” We saw an enormous cache of old card catalogs whose entries were annotated by hand with knowledge impossible to digitize. We got a behind-the-scenes look at how librarians prepare resources for historians like Ken Burns and authors like Colson Whitehead. And to explore how the Library helps everyday Americans, we took advantage of its “Ask aLibrarian” service, https://ask.loc.gov, to retrieve copies of hard-to-find articles.

The Library of Congress does so much to enrich the lives of all Americans. It is a public resource, sparking creativity, creating opportunities for everyone to be a part of writing history and exploring their own. It holds our nation’s treasures in trust. And its librarians and subject experts are vital to law and public policy; each year they deliver nearly one million objective, accurate, and timely briefings to Congress.

Over the years, SteegeThomson has been privileged to work with a handful of iconic national institutions — the Smithsonian, the John F. Kennedy Library, and the Washington National Cathedral just to name a few. We are honored to tell America’s stories, and proud to work with the Library as they inspire new generations of leaders, artists, and scholars.