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Government shutdown closes Library of Congress -- online too

LibrariesLibrary of CongressU.S. Congress

"Due to the temporary shutdown of the federal government, the Library of Congress is closed to the public and researchers beginning Oct. 1, 2013 until further notice," reads the Library of Congress website.

Not only are the front doors locked; the website has been shut down too. Only two components of it are accessible: THOMAS.gov and beta.congress.gov, both of which track legislation moving through Congress -- or not moving, as the case may be.

Established in 1800, the Library of Congress is the oldest federal cultural institution in the country. It keeps important state documents, including a copy of the Declaration of Independence. Its catalog includes more than 150 million items -- books and pamphlets, maps and films, photographs and audio recordings, tweets and other special collections -- and it is second-largest state library in the world.

The largest is the British Museum. Which happens to be open.

The Library of Congress is not. Generally it is open to the public for visits and tours, and to researchers. It usually provides requested books to public libraries across the country which request them through inter-library loan. None of that will be happening during the shutdown.

Researchers thinking they might be able to get what they need from the National Archives? No dice. They are shut down too.

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Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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