The Library of Congress occupies three buildings on Capitol Hill. The Thomas Jefferson Building (1897) is the original separate Library of Congress building. (The Library began in 1800 inside the U.S. Capitol.) The John Adams Building was built in 1938 and the James Madison Memorial Building was completed in 1981.
An agency of the legislative branch of the U.S. government, the Library includes several internal divisions (or service units), including the Office of the Librarian, Congressional Research Service, U.S. Copyright Office, Law Library of Congress, Library Services, and the Office of Strategic Initiatives.
Today’s Library of Congress is an unparalleled world resource. The collection of more than 130 million items includes more than 32 million cataloged books and other print materials in 470 languages; more than 61 million manuscripts; the largest rare book collection in North America; and the world’s largest collection of legal materials, films, maps, sheet music and sound recordings.
When the Library of Congress building opened its doors to the public on November 1, 1897, it was hailed as a glorious national monument and “the largest, the costliest, and the safest” library building in the world.