Before we went to the Library of Congress, we toured the Capitol Building
where the United States Senators and the Congressmen of the House of Representatives
meet and debate. Then we walked down the Capitol steps. My
parents took a picture of my cousin, my brother and I looking like little
ants there in the middle.
Then we walked across a lawn toward
the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress.
As you can see, it was a beautiful Spring
day in February.
As we got closer, the Library got Bigger and Bigger. I still have
about an hour before our meeting at the National Digital Library in the
newer Madison building which was built in the 1960's. Actually, first
we have to see the museum and reading rooms in the Jefferson Building.
We are very impressed. All of the Government Buildings in Washington
look like Greek temples, but you can see the dome and skylight on top of
the Library. As you can see, not too many tourists come this way,
but they should.
Here we are going up the steps of the Jefferson Building. You can start
to see how fancy the Building is from the outside. The first library was
burned when the British burned the Capital during the War of 1812.
Then the Library of Congress was restored with collections from Thomas
Jefferson's own private library. I'm pointing the way just in case you
didn't know. Actually, there is an entrance under the stairs where horse-drawn
carriages used to park.
The pictures we took on the inside of the building didn't come out too
well. Here are some pictures of the Jefferson Building from the Library
of Congress's web site taken by photographer Reid Baker. The photographs
are part of the Jefferson's Legacy Exhibit on the Library of Congress'
Website. Here is the URL of the exhibit that has a lot of information on
the history of the Library of Congress: http://lcweb.loc.gov/loc/legacy/bldgs.html
If you place your cursor on each of the pictures you will see an explanation
of what the picture is.
The Madison Building is where more of the huge collection is kept, where
the Office of Copyright is located and where we will meet Ms. Veccia of
the National Digital Library. President James Madison had the law
changed so that two copies of every copyrighted work would be deposited
in the Office of Copyright at the Library of Congress. It is a modern
building with a lot of offices.
To View Larger Images of the Reading Rooms at the Jefferson Building
To View Larger Images of Public Areas at the Jefferson and Madison
Buildings CLICK HERE
Here I am going into the Madison Building. There a lot of tall, narrow
walls that make it look like it has stripes. I know this picture
is confusing, but I'm happy to be an ant in this picture because you can
see how big this building is. Now I'm really getting nervous.
It's about ten minutes before the meeting and we don't know where we are
I took a picture of a quote from James Madison inside of the Madison Building
that I thought you'd like, but take my advice, don't take pictures of quotes.
They don't come out. This is what it says:
"What spectacle can be more edifying
or more seasonable than that of liberty and learning, each leaning on the
other for their mutual and surest support"
Here is a picture (from left to right) of Ms. Susan Veccia, me, Ms. Emily
Howie and Ms. Leni Donlan of the National Digital Library in the Library
of Congress. We took this picture when the interview was over.
I am very grateful for their time and effort for this project. Ms.
Donlan helps teachers learn how to use the National Digital Library.
Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Before we left the Madison Building, we stopped in at the Office of Copyrights
and picked up many pamphlets and an application to copyright a web site.
That office was very plain, but the person at the information desk was
very friendly. The two people ahead of us wanted an application to
copyright poems that they wrote. The second man in line, the one
right in front of me, said "Please give me everything that she asked
We went across the hall and asked the person at the desk of the catalog
room if we could photograph the room. She said, "yes, as long as
you don't take a picture of a member of the public." It was Friday
afternoon on a warm day in February. The room wasn't crowded.
I photographed myself of course, acting like a researcher. Before
you get a copyright you have to make sure it's original. The catalogue
has tons of history in it.
The catalogue has been computerized since 1978 and part of the catalogue
is available on the internet. My photograph of the old wooden card
catalogue cabinets didn't come out. They contain 45 million cards!!!
They might even have Abraham Lincoln's fingerprints! I think maybe
I saw too many statutes of Presidents on my trip to Washington D.C.
As I was saying, here is a statue of President James Madison.
It has it's own long dark room in the lobby
of the Madison Building. There are his quotes all over the room.
This picture was taken after the interview was over. My brother had
just woken up. He was snoring during the interview. I have
it on tape, but of course I won't rub it in. President Madison looks
like he's been waiting a long time to have his picture taken .
The interview was over and we went back on the Metro (Washington D.C.'s
subway) to stay with my Aunt Indira. We knew the topic of copyrights,
art rights and wrongs was not something kids usually think about. I know
I didn't until I got involved with putting things on the internet.
But, after our interview, and our trip to the Library of Congress, we saw
how many people are involved in protecting and thinking about all of the
works of art that have been created and saved over hundreds of years.
We are the first Americans to be able to see so much on the internet that
has been carefully saved for all these years for "liberty and learning".
No wonder art rights are taken so seriously in the business and art world.
Art rights are much harder to protect now because there is so much copying
technology. That is why we have to understand art rights when we
are kids. We are the first generation of children to be able to see
and maybe use something as monumental as the Library of Congress and all
of the other digitized images on the Internet. We can't just
be creators of new art works, or articles, we also have to protect the
value of what was made and what will be made for our future.
The American copyrights are from the U.S. Constitution.
Article 1, section 8 says:
|The Congress shall have the Power to Promote
the Progress of Science and the Useful Arts, by Securing for Limited Times
to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their Respective Writings