09 May 2011

Library of Congress -- Accessing America's Musical Treasures


We often think of the Library of Congress as that really nice building in downtown DC with the beautiful architecture and great Library.

It is much more than that! A LA Times article "Library of Congress builds the record collection of the century" introduces us to another aspect of what is a more extensive collection than what can be accessed in DC.


"Reporting from Culpeper, Va. ---
About an hour south of Washington, D.C., deep beneath rolling hills near the verdant Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, lies a storehouse filled with bounty.

At one time, during the Cold War, that treasure was cash — about $3-billion worth — that the Federal Reserve had socked away inside cinderblock bunkers built to keep an accessible, safe stash of funds in case of nuclear attack.


Now what's buried here, however, is cultural rather than financial: The bunkers are a repository containing nearly 100 miles of shelves stacked with some 6 million items: reels of film; kinescopes; videotape and screenplays; magnetic audiotape; wax cylinders; shellac, metal and vinyl discs; wire recordings; paper piano rolls; photographs; manuscripts; and other materials. In short, a century's worth of the nation's musical and cinematic legacy.

This is the Library of Congress' $250-million Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Conservation, a 45-acre vault and state-of-the-art preservation and restoration facility on Virginia's Mt. Pony..."

Read the full article.




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