April 13-17, 2010
Denver, Colorado, USA

Demonstrations: Description Continuing the Library of Congress Experience

Lola Pyne, Library of Congress, USA
Robert Sokol, Library of Congress, USA

The Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest cultural institution and the largest library in the world. In fulfillment of the Library’s mission to "make its resources available and useful to Congress and the American people", the Library of Congress Experience(LCE)program was launched to bring visitors closer to the Library’s treasures and the stories behind them through engaging, interactive experiences that seamlessly connect the on-site and on-line visit. The LCE offers visitors in Washington, D.C., and around the globe, access to unique historical and cultural treasures brought to life through cutting-edge interactive technology. Now, ever-expanding diverse audiences have access to innovative, hands-on, interactive experiences promoting lifelong learning and creativity., the companion web site to the Library of Congress Experience, serves as a planning tool for those interested in visiting the Library in-person, an enriching on-line experience for those unable to visit, and an on-going means of connecting to the Library in a personalized way at the conclusion of a visit. During the course of an on-site visit, individuals use their ‘Passport to Knowledge’ at myLOC kiosk stations to create their own collection of exhibition items by saving them to their personal account for later retrieval and exploration on provides visitors with access to on-line versions of many of the state-of-the-art interactive kiosks available on-site in the key exhibitions. Web site visitors can do such things as:

  • Turn the pages of books from Jefferson’s library;
  • Rotate Maya vessels and explore hieroglyphs;
  • Examine pages from the Gutenberg Bible;
  • Investigate edits made in the rough draft of the Declaration of Independence; and
  • Zoom into details of the 1507 Waldseemüller map that first named America.

The web site also provides the ability to take a virtual tour of the art and architecture located throughout the Library’s magnificent Thomas Jefferson building. Web visitors can play Knowledge Quest, an interactive learning treasure hunt, and access educational activities and materials for students and teachers related to the exhibition content.

Since the initial launch of the LCE in April of 2008 and the full launch of the web site in December of 2008, visitorship to the Library has risen more than 56% (to 1 million guests in 2009), the overall program has won a dozen awards, 58% of those using the Passports continue their experience online when they get home, and more than 90,000 individuals have registered for personalized myLOC accounts.

Demonstration: Demonstrations II [Close Up]

Keywords: personalized web site, on-line exhibitions, Web 2.0, continuing experience