Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Gateway to Knowledge

Over the weekend we had a unique visitor, the Library of Congress's Rolling Exhibition. What a treat! I was so excited when I found out it was coming to our little town I went...SQUEEEEE!

Just what is the Gateway to Knowledge? This specially designed 18 wheeler is rolling across the southwest visiting towns and cities of less than 50,000 people, giving those who may never get to Washington, DC a glimpse into what our National Library has to offer. We were one of about 60 stops.

Although there are no actual documents or items from the library, one gets a wonderful mini walking tour of the history of the Library, starting with Thomas Jefferson who donated his books to Congress after its library was burned. His was the largest private collection of books then in existence, 6, 487 volumes. In time there were so many books coming into the Congress Library that a new building we know as the Thomas Jefferson Building was constructed.
In a letter to John Adams Jefferson wrote, "I cannot live without books."
The mini tour took us through the history of the earliest maps and the importance of the Gutenberg Bible, the first book printed with movable type. Did you know Korea had movable type 200 years before Europe? We saw an illustrated codex made by Indians in Mexico at the time of Cortez, learned about Clara Barton, founder of the Red Cross, saw facsimiles of the first printed edition of the Declaration of Independence, learned about Alexander Bell and the telephone, saw clips of the earliest moving pictures, viewed stunning illuminations and calligraphy from ancient Persia and China, read about Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass and Jelly Roll Morton's rag-time music. And lastly, there were pictures of the original drawings of Spiderman.

145 million items reside within the walls of the Library of Congress and it grows every day. It's not just books either. There are sound recordings, motion pictures, photographs, maps, sheet music, and manuscripts numbering in the multi-millions. And all of it is free (our tax dollars at work) to We The People. Much of it is also available online at

Thomas Jefferson said to James Madison, "Educate and inform the whole mass of the people...They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty."

Follow the torch!
I finally know what my dream is. I want my book(s) in the Library of Congress. What's your dream?


  1. I was lucky enough to get to D.C. for my high school graduation present. I walked all over but never got inside any of the buildings. Time crunch. Someday I'll take Monster Child and we'll do the big tour, including ALL the Smithsonian buildings and ALL the monuments.

    Bish, I just love the stuff you come up with on this blog. Really. You're such an inspiration.

  2. I love that quote, ' I cannot live without books' - So very true. ;-)

  3. beautiful quote! And how interesting! I love history. I once took a trip to D.C and I actually got to go in the Whitehouse!

  4. Wow! That is awesome! I have never heard of that before, but it's really cool they do that!

  5. Wow! What a supercool exhibition!

    Now I want to go to the Library of Congress...

  6. Your dream is my dream, Bish. I'd also like Hayao Miyazaki to do the anime version of my first novel, with the music done by Joe Hisaishi -- and while I'm at it, world peace.

    I would LOVE to see that rolling exhibition! I've just been reading about the Mexican codex you mentioned in Barbara Kingsolver's 'Lacuna'.

  7. Oh wow! How cool is that. I looked but didn't see any MT on the list. Hey, we might be the 4th largest state, but our towns are small! :(

    Glad you got to see it, Bish!


Your Random Thoughts are most welcome!