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Legislative Branch Appropriations Act of 1898, February 19, 1897

The Legislative Branch Appropriations Act of 1898 more than doubled the staff of the Library of Congress, creating separate divisions for copyright, law, cataloging, general book collections, periodicals, maps, manuscripts, music, and graphic arts. It brought the Librarian of Congress into the Senate’s confirmation process and gave the Librarian sole responsibility for all other appointments and rules.

General Records of the U.S. Government, National Archives and Records Administration

Legislative Branch Appropriations Act of 1898, February 19, 1897

Creating a National Library

During the nineteenth century, the Library of Congress outgrew its quarters within the United States Capitol as its collections and mission expanded. Between 1886 and 1896, Congress authorized construction of a magnificent new building for the library, and the Joint Committee on the Library reexamined the institution’s administrative goals. Consequently, Congress increased library appropriations and enhanced the institution’s status and autonomy, paving the way for it to become a modern national library.