If you are dying to know how the Libary of Congress and the National Archives are different, the Scan Man will explain everything (with the help of the National Archives website, Today’s Document).
What exactly is the difference between the National Archives and the Library of Congress? Do they hold different types of materials?
There’s a common misconception that the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress are one in the same. This probably stems from the fact that as institutions we have similar missions. Here are just a few differences:
- The National Archives was established by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1934 to centralize federal record keeping; The Library of Congress was established by an act of Congress in 1800 as a reference library for Congress.
- The National Archives is part of the Executive Branch; the Library is part of the Legislative Branch (remember the “of Congress” part of their name).
- The head of the National Archives is the Archivist of the United States (AOTUS); the head of the Library is the Librarian of Congress.
- At the National Archives you can see the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights, collectively known as the Charters of Freedom; At the Library of Congress you can see Jefferson’s library, the Gutenberg Bible, and the 1507 Waldseemueller map (the map that first named America).
As Americans we are very fortunate to have multiple institutions that are concerned with preservation of our national treasures. At the National Archives, we are thinking about the importance of preserving electronic records and making sure we aren’t losing our virtual memory.