Daily Devotional

Library of Congress

Average reading time is about 5 minutes

An Amazing Fact: According to Guinness World Records, the largest library in the world is none other than the U.S. Library of Congress, which contains more than 151.8 million items. The library, first built in 1800, is now housed in four separate buildings in Washington, D.C. (as well as the Packard Campus in Culpeper, Virginia), and contains 838 miles of bookshelves that currently hold over 34 million books. In addition to books, this mega library houses 3.3 million recordings, 13.4 million photographs, 5.4 million maps, 6.5 million pieces of sheet music, and 66.6 million manuscripts. To top things off, the inventory grows by approximately 10,000 new items each working day.

The library was originally housed in the United States Capitol for most of the 1800s. Unfortunately, many books were lost during the War of 1812 when the British troops set fire to the Capitol building. About 3,000 volumes were lost. A few years later Thomas Jefferson sold his entire personal collection of books to the library (6,487). After the Civil War a
separate building was constructed. Even though the library is open to the public, you cannot check out a book unless you are a library employee, member of Congress, a Supreme Court Justice, or some other high-ranking government official.

One of the interesting collections in the Library of Congress is the “incunabula” books, which are books or pamphlets printed before the year 1501, of which 5,600 are housed. The Library of Congress actually houses one of three rare copies of the Gutenberg Bible (printed in 1455 on vellum). In spite of the massive variety of books found in the Library
of Congress, only one book has always stayed on the top of bestseller lists— the Bible. Paul says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God …” (2 Timothy 3:16). No other book housed in any library can compare with the Bible. Buildings and books may burn, but “You shall keep them [the words of the Lord], O Lord, You shall preserve them from this generation forever” (Psalm 12:7).

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. John 17:17

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