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Making the Library Cool Again

I mentioned over a year ago about how the Library of Congress (LOC) was putting some of their photo collection online via Flickr and that it was probably one of the coolest things the U.S. government had done in a while. Well I went exploring some more today and found that they haven’t stopped with Flickr. As of today, I found official LOC operated sites on Flickr, Twitter, and YouTube — not to mention their ridiculously cool blog. Below are some screen shots and links of a few notable items I found from our friends in Washington. Funny thing — I always thought librarians were supposed to be mean and “shhhh” you all the time, but it seems like the LOC is doing quite the opposite:

The Library of Congress Blog
Libary of Congress Official Blog
The Library of Congress blog is updated quite regularly with news about current collections at the LOC as well as fun tidbits and insights about history. One post I came across was a link to a 55 minute Stevie Wonder concert that was held at the Library back in February. The full concert footage is available exclusively at their blog. That’s just one reason to make sure to add their blog to your RSS feed reader.

The LOC on Flickr
Library of Congress Flickr
This was the LOC’s first major break-in to social media and it’s definitely been a good one. Starting with some 3,000 images they have now doubled that figure in about a year and the photos just keep getting better and better. Their photo sets make it easy to browse different parts of the collection and one of my favorites is the set “1930s-40s in Color” which has some great shots of the riveters, state fairs, and I even saw a blimp in there. Go see the world of the past at the LOC’s Flickr page.

The LOC on YouTube
Library of Congress YouTube
If Flickr is where the LOC hosts their still frames, then YouTube is now their place for moving pictures. Easily one of the greatest things about the LOC’s new YouTube page is the 42 videos they have of The Edison Company’s early films. Some of the videos are a little strange, but the fact that we now have digital footage of video taken in the 1880’s kind of blows my mind.

The LOC on Twitter
Libarary of Congress Twitter
Don’t have time to read a blog? Don’t feel like viewing photos or watching videos? Well, you can get your bite-size version of the Library of Congress now at their official Twitter page. Though many of their updates are just relinks to their blog, they do however seem to have a real human behind the keyboard because this girl was looking for some “foreign policies” from the Clinton era and the LOC was happy to oblige her with the answer.