“The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, with nearly 170 million items in our collections, and extensive expert services and programs. What does this mean for you? The Library of Congress has built the largest collection of human knowledge ever assembled. It is an aweinspiring achievement—a testament to the wisdom of Congresses throughout our history, which have invested national resources in the ideal of a universal collection available to all. Yet, as Librarian of Congress Herbert Putnam noted more than a century ago, “A book used is fulfilling a higher purpose than a book which is merely preserved.” In other words, it is not enough to collect and preserve. To be successful, collections must be used. This same principle applies to all parts of our agency— services and programs too must be accessible and used. The Library’s collection and its human expertise hold untold intellectual and inspirational value. I have seen firsthand the spark that results when someone makes a connection with the Library: when a Member of Congress is moved listening to a historian bring to life a founding document of history; when high school music students from Maryland studied the papers of Leonard Bernstein and wrote original music inspired by what they saw; when teachers at our summer institutes have shared with me their innovative strategies for making history come alive using the Library’s collections in the classroom; when Smokey Robinson saw his very first piece of sheet music submitted to the U.S. Copyright Office. How do we extend those experiences to people across the country?
To meet this challenge, the Library is embarking on an exciting new journey that puts users first. By expanding access and enhancing services, while applying data and optimizing resources, we will build lifelong and meaningful connections with our users of today and of tomorrow. This strategic plan, Enriching the Library Experience, is our roadmap to expanding the Library’s reach and deepening our impact, thus fulfilling our mission to engage, inspire, and inform our users. I can’t wait to see the many thousands of sparks we ignite. Maybe one of them will be yours…. [Carla Hayden – 14th Librarian of Congress]