Library of Congress Bicentennial: 1800-2000
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Libraries, Creativity, Liberty

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April 14, 2000
Contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022

Library of Congress Postage Stamp Ceremony To Be Held April 24

On the occasion of its Bicentennial on April 24, 2000, the Library of Congress will be honored by the U.S. Postal Service with the issuance of a 33-cent commemorative stamp. The Library has only been pictured on one other stamp during the past two centuries.

"The Library of Congress postage stamp not only celebrates the nation's library, but all libraries everywhere," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "The goal of the Library's Bicentennial celebration is to inspire creativity in the 21st century by stimulating greater use of the Library of Congress and of all America's libraries."

The Library's birthday celebration begins in the Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson Building on April 24 at 9:30 a.m, when Dr. Billington and Deputy Librarian Donald Scott will be joined by officials from the U.S. Mint and the U.S. Postal Service in ceremonies marking the release of two commemorative coins and the "first-day" issue of the Library of Congress stamp. Following the coins ceremony, Washington, D.C., Postmaster Delores J. Killette will preside as Master of Ceremonies for the stamp ceremony, which begins at 10:00 a.m. Other honored guests include Henry Pankey, Postal Service Vice President for the Mid-Atlantic Area; American Library Association President Sarah Ann Long; and stamp designer Ethel Kessler, who will be available to autograph first-day covers (envelope with cachet design, stamp and "first-day" issue postmark). From April 25 through May 31, libraries around the country will hold their own ceremonies as "second-day" issue sites.

On Oct. 14, 1999, the U.S. Postal Service unveiled all stamp designs for 2000, including the Library of Congress Bicentennial commemorative stamp. The Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee, a group of independent citizens appointed by the Postmaster General to review the more than 40,000 suggestions for stamps received each year, recommended a commemorative stamp for the Library. The Library's stamp features a photograph by Michael Freeman of the interior dome of the Library's Main Reading Room in the 1897 Thomas Jefferson Building. The selvage on the 20-stamp sheet notes that "the Library of Congress, America's library, is celebrating its 200th birthday in 2000. This Bicentennial recognizes all libraries and the vital role they play in advancing American creativity and liberty."

Many U.S. stamps and other philatelic items are available online at or call toll-free (800) STAMP-24. To view an image of the stamp and to find out about other Library of Congress Bicentennial activities, visit the Library's Web site at

How To Order the First Day of Issue Postmark

Customers have 30 days to obtain the first day of issue postmark by mail. They may purchase the new stamp at their local post office, address the envelope (to themselves or others), and place the envelope in a larger envelope addressed to:

Library of Congress Commemorative Stamp
900 Brentwood Road N.E.
Washington, DC 20066-9991

After applying the first day of issue postmark free of charge, the Postal Service returns the envelope through the mail. Requests for first day of issue cancellations must be postmarked by May 24, 2000. First day covers remain on sale for at least one year after the stamp's issuance and may be ordered by calling 800-STAMP-24.

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PR 00-053
ISSN 0731-3527