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The Law Library in the Madison Building shown here in 1832 housed 2000 volumes

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President James Madison Approved an Act of Congress to Purchase Thomas Jefferson's Library
January 30, 1815

How important are libraries to you? Thomas Jefferson and the U.S. government saw a library as essential. That's why on January 30, 1815, President James Madison approved an act of Congress appropriating $23,950 to purchase Thomas Jefferson's personal library. The United States' first Library of Congress was destroyed in 1814. After capturing Washington, D.C., that year, the British burned the U.S. Capitol where the 3,000-volume library was stored.
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