“Gateway to Knowledge,” an exhibit about the services, history and artifacts of the Library of Congress, will open at 9 a.m. Friday, April 29, at the Asheboro Public Library and remain on display through Saturday.
Housed in an 18-wheel truck semi-trailer that expands to three times its normal road width, the exhibit is free and the public is invited.
An opening ceremony with Congressman Howard Coble will take place at 10:30 a.m. Friday. Hours of the exhibit, which will be located on the Worth Street side of the library, are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. each day.
Visitors can also sign up for Randolph County Public library cards on the spot and browse items in a Friends of the Library Bookshop tent. The Asheboro library itself will be open for business-as-usual.
“Gateway to Knowledge” is making 60 stops across the South and Midwest in small or rural communities to spread the word about the Library of Congress and the millions of resources in its unparalleled collections. In addition to computer kiosks demonstrating current Library resources, the exhibit traces the Library’s history, focusing especially on Thomas Jefferson’s influence.
It also offers facsimiles of the library’s top treasures, including the first map to use the word “America”; a draft of the Declaration of Independence in Jefferson’s hand with notations by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin; the 1962 drawings for the comic book that introduced Spider Man to the world; and Walt Whitman’s poem “Leaves of Grass.” Two docent well-versed in the Library and its top collections will guide visitors through the displays.
The exhibit is well-suited for school groups fourth grade and above, with special emphasis on middle school students; contact the Asheboro library at 318-6806 for a referral to the docents, who will schedule group visits.
The tour is made possible with the generous support of the Bernie and Audre Rapoport family. The Rapoports are founding members of the James Madison Council, the Library of Congress’s private sector advisory council.
Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. Its collection of more than 144 million items includes more than 33 million cataloged books and other print materials in 460 languages; more than 63 million manuscripts; the largest rare book collection in North America; and the world's largest collection of legal materials, films, maps, sheet music and sound recordings.