Breonna Taylor is killed by police in botched raid

Shortly after midnight on March 13, 2020, Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black emergency medical technician, is shot and killed by police in her Louisville, Kentucky apartment after officers busted through her door with a battering ram .

Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, both of whom had no criminal records, had been asleep in bed. Walker, who later stated he feared an intruder had broken in, used his legally owned gun to fire one shot, which wounded Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in the leg. Mattingly and officers Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankison, all white and in plainclothes, returned fire, blindly shooting 32 times in the dark, striking Taylor six times.

According to The New York Times, Louisville police had received a court-approved no-knock warrant to search the apartment for signs of drug trafficking while investigating Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover. Those orders were changed to “knock and announce” before the raid, the newspaper reports. The police involved stated they complied with the warrant, but Walker said he heard no such announcement.

“Somebody kicked in the door, shot my girlfriend,” Walker told a dispatcher in a call to 911.

The three officers were placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. Walker was arrested for attempted murder of a police officer, a charge that was dropped May 22, as the FBI, Department of Justice and Kentucky attorney general began their own investigations, according to the Times. No drugs were found in the apartment.

Following an internal investigation, Hankison was fired by the Louisville Metro Police Department June 23 for violating procedure and was indicted by a grand jury on September 23 on three counts of wanton endangerment, as bullets he fired entered a neighboring apartment with people inside. He pleaded not guilty. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron told the grand jury that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in returning fire. No charges were brought against either man.

Following Taylor’s death and subsequent national protests, including a viral social media campaign with the hashtag #SayHerName and outcries from celebrities, civil rights activists and political leaders, no-knock warrants were banned in Louisville in an ordinance known as “Breonna’s Law.” The city also agreed to pay her family a historic $12 million in a wrongful-death lawsuit settlement. 

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Broadway goes dark due to COVID-19 pandemic

On March 12, 2020, after New York state and city leaders placed coronavirus-related restrictions on gatherings of more than 500 people, the Broadway theater district announces it will go dark for an unprecedented 32 days. The longest shutdown for the artistic mainstay in its history, the closure would end up being extended to the end of May 2021, potentially adding up to billions in tourism losses.

High risk factors for theaters, according to The New York Times, included a typically older audience, often rife with tourists, along with cramped seating and an inability to practice social distancing in those spaces.

“There’s no such thing as social distancing for actors—our jobs sometimes require that we go to work and kiss our colleagues eight times a week,” actress Kate Shindle, president of the Actors’ Equity Association labor union told the newspaper. “Although nobody wanted to close the theaters, at the same time people were starting to be scared to work, and with good reason.”

Thirty-one productions were showing on Broadway when the ban took effect, and a handful, including Disney’s musical version of Frozen and Tina Fey’s Mean Girls, were closed permanently due to the closure.

Previously, the longest the district was dark was 25 days in 1975 during a musicians’ strike. Following the September 11 terrorist attacks, Broadway was shuttered for two business days. 

Read all our pandemic coverage here

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President Trump addresses the nation on COVID-19; announces travel ban

In a primetime Oval Office address, President Donald Trump announces a 30-day travel ban on foreign travel to the U.S. from most European countries as COVID-19 cases surge across the globe.

Trump’s TV address came the same day the World Health Organization officially declared the disease a pandemic. U.K. travelers were not included in the restrictions, nor were American citizens or their immediate family members or legal permanent U.S. residents.

A week later, the State Department issued an advisory that U.S. citizens avoid all international travel because of the pandemic and that those abroad should return home immediately.

As of late February 2021, there were more than 28 million COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and more than 500,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control

READ MORE: Pandemics That Changed History 

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Ahmaud Arbery is murdered while out jogging

Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, is shot dead by a white father and son while out for a jog in a suburb of Brunswick, Georgia on February 23, 2020. 

On May 7, following the release of a video of the killing that spurred national attention from the media, civil rights groups, lawmakers, celebrities and, eventually, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Gregory and Travis McMichael were arrested on charges of murder and aggravated assault. William Bray, who filmed the shooting on his phone, was also arrested and charged with felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.

In June, the three men were indicted by a grand jury on all nine counts, including malice murder, four counts felony murder, two counts aggregated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.

Arbery, a former high school football player, reportedly jogged around the neighborhoods of Brunswick frequently, according to The New York Times. Gregory McMichael, a retired police officer and investigator for the local district attorney’s office, told police he saw Arbery running that day, and thought he looked like a suspect in a series of local break-ins. The father and son hopped in their white pickup truck, armed with a .357 Magnum and a shotgun, and pursued Arbery. Bryan also gave chase, the newspaper reports, and filmed the video that shows a struggle between Arbery and Travis McMichael, who fired three shots.

The video, released on May 5, 2020 by a lawyer for Arbery’s family, sparked outrage that no arrests had been made more than two months after the killing. The McMichaels claimed self defense and the first two prosecutors in the case recused themselves.

The shooting happened shortly before the deaths of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor by police during a failed no-knock raid in Louisville, Kentucky. All these incidents sparked widespread protests against police violence and racial injustice in the United States and around the globe. 

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Celebrating Black History Month

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February 2021

  • February 11, 2021  (21-006)
  • February 5, 2021  (21-005)

    Library of Congress Accepting Applications for Copyright Public Modernization Committee The Library of Congress announced this week that it is convening a public committee to enhance communication with external stakeholders about the technology-related aspects of the U.S. Copyright Office’s ongoing modernization initiative. Applications from qualified members of the public who would like to serve on the committee are being accepted through March 15, 2021. The announcement was published in the Federal Register.The committee will…

    • Date: 2021-02-05

  • February 4, 2021  (21-004)

    Library Announces Literary Series Programs for February, March 2021 Important new books on Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt and on humanity’s inclination to war will headline the winter literary season of the Library of Congress. The Library will also feature a conversation with the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and a symposium on diversity in books for young people.All programs will be virtual and premiere on the Library’s Facebook…

    • Date: 2021-02-04

January 2021

  • January 27, 2021  (21-002)
  • January 25, 2021  (21-003)

    William Farquhar Correspondence and Other 19th Century Malay Letters Now Online at the Library of Congress The Library of Congress today announced the digitization of 46 Malay letters from the 19th century, mainly from Malay kings and Southeast Asian notables to William Farquhar, a pioneering British colonial administrator in Singapore (1819-1823), providing online access to an important resource on the founding of that country.The digitization comes ahead of the 202nd anniversary of the signing of the Singapore Treaty, which greenlighted…

    • Date: 2021-01-25

  • January 15, 2021  (21-001)

    Library of Congress Accepting Applications for 2021 Literacy Awards Until March 5 Applications are being accepted for the 2021 Library of Congress Literacy Awards from Jan. 15 to March 5. The awards are made possible through the generosity of philanthropist David M. Rubenstein.The Literacy Awards — established by the Library of Congress and Rubenstein — were first conferred in 2013 to honor and support organizations working to promote literacy both in the United States and abroad….

    • Date: 2021-01-15

December 2020

  • December 21, 2020  (20-083)

    Library of Congress Opens Award Nominations for Outstanding Federal Libraries, Librarians, Technicians To honor the innovations and successes of federal libraries, librarians and library technicians in meeting the information demands of government, businesses, scholarly communities and the public, the Federal Library and Information Network (FEDLINK) in the Library of Congress has opened nominations for its national awards for federal librarianship in fiscal year 2020.For nomination materials, visit the awards section of the FEDLINK website or send…

    • Date: 2020-12-21

  • December 18, 2020  (20-086)

    Library of Congress Announces 2021 Librarians-in-Residence Program The Library of Congress has announced the 2021 Librarians-in-Residence program to offer early career librarians the opportunity to develop their expertise and contribute to building, stewarding and sharing the institution’s vast collections. Applications for the program will be accepted from Dec. 18, 2020 to Jan. 22, 2021.The Library will select up to seven applicants for a six-month residency to begin in June 2021. The…

    • Date: 2020-12-18

  • December 17, 2020  (20-085)

    Library of Congress Completes Digitization of 23 Early Presidential Collections The Library of Congress has completed a more than two decade-long initiative to digitize the papers of nearly two dozen early presidents. The Library holds the papers of 23 presidents from George Washington to Calvin Coolidge, all of which have been digitized and are now available online.The Library plans to highlight each presidential collection on social media in the weeks leading up to the…

    • Date: 2020-12-17

  • December 16, 2020  (20-084)

    Library of Congress Appoints New Chief of Researcher and Reference Services Division The Library of Congress has appointed Dennis Clark as chief of the Researcher and Reference Services Division. Clark brings more than 22 years’ experience as an administrator and librarian to the Library, where he will lead public research services, onsite and online user engagement and the development of the majority of the 30 million items in the Library’s General Collections.Clark has been responsible for…

    • Date: 2020-12-16

  • December 15, 2020  (20-087)

    Copyright Office Launches Copyright Public Records System Pilot The U.S. Copyright Office today launched a public pilot of its new Copyright Public Records System (CPRS), which has been developed from the ground up to provide easier access and a stronger user interface for copyright records, including registrations, recordation, and other data. The new public record portal is the first component of the Enterprise Copyright System (ECS) to be openly released.Designed using extensive…

    • Date: 2020-12-15

  • December 14, 2020  (20-082)

    National Film Registry Spotlights Diverse Filmmakers in New Selections Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced today the annual selection of 25 of America’s most influential motion pictures to be inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. These films range from the innovative silent film “Suspense,” which was co-directed by a woman in 1913, and Sidney Poitier’s Oscar-winning performance in 1963’s “Lilies of the Field” to the 1978 mega-hit musical…

    • Date: 2020-12-14

  • December 8, 2020  (20-081)

    GPO and Library of Congress Release Ten Years of Legislative Data on Govinfo The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) in partnership with the Library of Congress, U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate has released 10 additional years of bill status XML bulk data on govinfo. Bill status information, created by the Library of Congress and Congress, describes the activities and status steps for each legislative measure. The original project started at the direction of the House…

    • Date: 2020-12-08

  • December 3, 2020  (20-080)

    Library Awards Bobbitt Poetry Prizes to Terrance Hayes and Natasha Trethewey The Library of Congress will award the 2020 Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry to Terrance Hayes, for his book “American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin,” and to former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey for lifetime achievement.The poets will receive their honors during a virtual ceremony Thursday, Dec. 10, at 7 p.m. ET on the Library’s Facebook page at facebook.com/libraryofcongress and…

    • Date: 2020-12-03

  • December 2, 2020  (20-079)

    Dwight D. Opperman Foundation Gives $1M to Reimagine Visitor Experience at Library of Congress The Dwight D. Opperman Foundation is donating $1 million to reimagine and enhance the visitor experience at the Library of Congress with a new orientation gallery, exhibitions and learning lab, the Library announced today.The Phoenix-based foundation’s donation to support design and construction of the Library’s visitor experience is one of several major gifts to the project in 2020 and was announced just after Giving…

    • Date: 2020-12-02

November 2020

  • November 24, 2020  (20-078)

    Behind the Book, a New Event Series, Takes Public Inside the World of American Publishing If you have ever wondered how a book goes from rough manuscript to published masterpiece and an author from obscurity to fame, then a new series of programs from the Library of Congress is just for you.The new series, Behind the Book, provides a behind-the-scenes view of the world of American book publishing — the editors, designers, publicists, agents and publishers who make the…

    • Date: 2020-11-24

  • November 19, 2020  (20-075)

    Joy Harjo Appointed to Third Term as U.S. Poet Laureate Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden has announced the appointment of U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo to a third term, making Harjo the second laureate to receive this extension since terms for the position were established in 1943.Harjo’s third term, to begin in September 2021, will offer her an opportunity to complete projects and programs whose timelines continue to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,…

    • Date: 2020-11-19

  • November 18, 2020  (20-074)

    Library Seeks Applicants for the 2021 Junior Fellows Summer Internship Program The Library of Congress is seeking applicants for its next Junior Fellows Summer Internship Program, which will run from May 24 – July 30, 2021. This 10-week paid internship is open to undergraduate and graduate students interested in learning and conducting research at the largest library in the world. For the second year in a row, the internship will be conducted virtually. The deadline…

    • Date: 2020-11-18

  • November 18, 2020  (20-076)

    Library of Congress, National Park Service Announce 2020 Holland Prize Winner The Library of Congress and the National Park Service announced today that the 2020 Leicester B. Holland Prize will be presented to an architectural team at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Louisiana, led by Guy W. Carwile, architect emeritus and the Ken Hollis endowed professor of the School of Design. The prize honors an outstanding historic building, structure or landscape drawing.The top prize was…

    • Date: 2020-11-18

  • November 18, 2020  (20-077)

    Ron Howard and J.D. Vance to Discuss “Hillbilly Elegy” with Librarian of Congress The Library of Congress and Netflix will host a conversation on Monday, Nov. 23, with film director Ron Howard and J.D. Vance, author of “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis,” moderated by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden to discuss the creative process of bringing the book to the screen with the release of the new film, “Hillbilly Elegy.”The event…

    • Date: 2020-11-18

  • November 10, 2020  (20-073)

    Library to Host Experts on Mapping COVID-19 Pandemic for GIS Day 2020 The Library of Congress will mark GIS Day on Nov. 18 with special programs featuring geographic information science professionals and analysts who are documenting the outbreak of COVID-19.For cartographers and epidemiologists tracking the spread, evolution and mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 virus as well as the distribution of a potential vaccine and personal protective equipment, the outbreak of COVID-19 has presented a geospatial analysis challenge…

    • Date: 2020-11-10

October 2020

  • October 30, 2020  (20-072)

    Veterans History Project Celebrates 20th Anniversary Year with Online Concerts, Panels, Nov. 6-14 The Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP) will host a series of musical performances and discussion panels to inspire conversations around the collection as both an archival resource and a diverse repository of veterans’ experiences — a mission it has met for the past 20 years. The events will premiere on the Veterans History Project’s Facebook page: facebook.com/vetshistoryproject.Friday, Nov. 6Barbara Martin, 8 p.m.The…

    • Date: 2020-10-30

  • October 29, 2020  (20-071)

    Making Our Mark: 2021 Innovator in Residence to Focus on Creative Notetaking The strike-throughs, underlines, doodles, and marginalia made by historical figures in their personal papers at the Library of Congress give researchers a more intimate sense of who they were. These markings sometimes shed light on the story of how a work was made or received. Researchers can understand more about the creative process, opinions and musings of people throughout the centuries by understanding these…

    • Date: 2020-10-29

  • October 28, 2020  (20-070)

    U.S. ISSN Center To Launch New ISSN Request System On Monday, Nov. 23, the Library’s U.S. ISSN Center will launch ISSN Uplink, a new application and tracking system for International Standard Serial Numbers. The current system will close on Friday, Nov. 6 to support a smooth transition to the new system. Publishers and others who need ISSN will benefit from the new request process, which will be completely online. Applications submitted after Nov….

    • Date: 2020-10-28

  • October 26, 2020  (20-069)

    Law Library of Congress Signs Preservation Steward Agreement with Government Publishing Office The Law Library of Congress has signed an agreement with the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) to become a preservation steward. Through the agreement, the Law Library of Congress will preserve its collection of the daily Congressional Record and Federal Register, which are produced by GPO.To help libraries meet the needs of efficient government document stewardship in the digital era, GPO has established preservation…

    • Date: 2020-10-26

  • October 20, 2020  (20-068)

    Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film Awarded to “Hold Your Fire,” Directed by Stefan Forbes The Better Angels Society, the Library of Congress, and the Crimson Lion/Lavine Family Foundation today announced that the second annual Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film has been awarded to “Hold Your Fire,” a new film directed by Stefan Forbes (“Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story”). The film will receive a $200,000 finishing grant to assist with post-production costs.Produced by Amir Soltani…

    • Date: 2020-10-20

  • October 16, 2020  (20-067)

    New Virtual Student Workshops Offer Opportunity to Engage with Library’s Collections at Home The Library of Congress is now offering virtual student workshops to engage young learners during an unprecedented school year. A new set of virtual workshops, available for students in grades three through eight, offer an opportunity to explore the Library’s exhibitions, collections and architecture from home.“The Library has long been an outstanding resource for teachers through its Teaching with Primary Sources Program. Now as…

    • Date: 2020-10-16

  • October 8, 2020  (20-066)

September 2020

  • September 22, 2020  (20-063)

    Citizen DJ Music-Mixing App to Launch at National Book Festival The Library’s Citizen DJ project will officially launch at the 2020 National Book Festival with the premiere of original sounds created by youth across America. At the virtual festival, DJ Kid Koala will spin some of these original beats and be joined in discussion with young adults, community educators and Innovator in Residence Brian Foo about hip-hop, history and their creative process. This summer,…

    • Date: 2020-09-22

  • September 21, 2020  (20-064)

    Librarian of Congress Appoints Shira Perlmutter Register of Copyrights Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden today announced her selection of Shira Perlmutter as the 14th Register of Copyrights.“I am pleased to announce that Shira Perlmutter will serve as the 14th United States Register of Copyrights,” said Hayden. “Shira brings to this role a deep knowledge of domestic and international copyright law and policy and a background in negotiating international intellectual property agreements. She has…

    • Date: 2020-09-21

  • September 18, 2020  (20-062)

    Hispanic Heritage Month Events at the Library of Congress To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15, various divisions throughout the Library of Congress will host virtual events and digital features, including National Book Festival highlights and the pre-recorded 2020 Américas Awards. Friday, Sept. 25 – Sunday, Sept. 27 – National Book Festival Sunday, Sept. 6 p.m. EST; PBS stations (check local listings)The National Book Festival occurs during…

    • Date: 2020-09-18

  • September 17, 2020  (20-061)

    National Book Festival Features a Day of Programming for Schools, Children and Teens at Home The Library of Congress National Book Festival will present a robust lineup of live and recorded programming featuring all-star authors for schools and young audiences at home on Friday, Sept. 25. Video interviews with popular authors of books for children and young adults, as well as two 1-hour video specials, will be available for on-demand viewing starting at 9 a.m. ET on the festival…

    • Date: 2020-09-17

  • September 15, 2020  (20-060)

    Library of Congress Launches New Tool to Search Historical Newspaper Images The public can now explore more than 1.5 million historical newspaper images online and free of charge. The latest machine learning experience from Library of Congress Labs, Newspaper Navigator allows users to search visual content in American newspapers dating 1789-1963.The user begins by entering a keyword that returns a selection of photos. Then the user can choose photos to search against, allowing the discovery…

    • Date: 2020-09-15

  • September 10, 2020  (20-058)

    Library of Congress Announces Winners of the 2020 Literacy Awards Five organizations working to expand literacy and promote reading will be awarded the 2020 Library of Congress Literacy Awards, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced today.Top prizes are being awarded to The Immigrant Learning Center, The International Rescue Committee, Inc. – Pakistan Reading Project, the National Center for Families Learning, Pratham Books and Room to Read. The Literacy Awards, originated by David M. Rubenstein…

    • Date: 2020-09-10

  • September 8, 2020  (20-059)

    Library of Congress Welcomes Albert Einstein Fellow for New School Year The Library of Congress has welcomed Peter DeCraene as its newest Albert Einstein Distinguished Education Fellow. DeCraene will work closely with the Library’s Learning and Innovation Office to make primary sources from the Library’s collections more accessible for teachers throughout the United States.“We have been on a mission for the past few years to demonstrate the value of primary sources across the curriculum and…

    • Date: 2020-09-08

  • September 2, 2020  (20-057)

    Library of Congress Appoints New Chief of Serial and Government Publications Division The Library of Congress has appointed Deborah Thomas as chief of the Serial and Government Publications Division. Thomas brings more than 20 years’ expertise working with digital collections and coordinating several of the Library’s signature programs. She has served as acting chief of the division since December 2019.Since joining the Library in 1998, Thomas has held numerous positions as an expert in the digital…

    • Date: 2020-09-02

August 2020

  • August 27, 2020  (20-056)

    American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress Launches Podcast ‘America Works’ The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress is bringing the voices of workers throughout the country to listeners with “America Works,” a new podcast series that celebrates the diversity and tenacity of the American workforce during a time of economic crisis and transition.Each 10-minute episode of “America Works” introduces listeners to an individual worker whose first-person narrative adds to the wealth of…

    • Date: 2020-08-27

  • August 25, 2020  (20-055)

    Annual ‘Concerts from the Library of Congress’ Season Announced The Library of Congress will continue its longstanding tradition of displaying America’s rich and diverse musical heritage during the 2020-2021 season of “Concerts from the Library of Congress.” The upcoming season will feature conversations with artists, performances of Library-commissioned work by Michael Abels, James Lee III and Igor Santos, and a festival titled “(Re)Hearing Beethoven.”Consistent with social distancing and safety protocols in response to…

    • Date: 2020-08-25

  • August 19, 2020  (20-053)

    Library of Congress Honors Oklahoma City and San Francisco Libraries for Service to Print-Disabled Readers The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS) at the Library of Congress announced today that it will honor two of its cooperating libraries for their outstanding service to readers who are visually or physically disabled.The Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, received the Regional Library of the Year Award. The Talking Books and Braille…

    • Date: 2020-08-19

  • August 12, 2020  (20-054)

    PBS to Broadcast Television Special Featuring Library of Congress National Book Festival The 2020 Library of Congress National Book Festival will include two new entry points for audiences across the country for the first time — a national television special on PBS stations and an interactive experience online for the festival’s 20th year.PBS stations will broadcast “The Library of Congress National Book Festival: Celebrating American Ingenuity,” a two-hour program featuring some of the nation’s most renowned…

    • Date: 2020-08-12

  • August 11, 2020  (20-052)

    Library Hosts Public Forum on Congress.gov Improvements and Priorities On Thursday, Sept. 10, from 10 a.m. to noon EST, the Library of Congress will host a virtual public forum focused on public access to legislative information through Congress.gov. This event will provide an update on improvements to Congress.gov, which is the authoritative repository of U.S. congressional data, and the Library’s role in providing access to legislative information. The forum will also give Congress.gov…

    • Date: 2020-08-11

  • August 6, 2020  (20-051)

    Two Major Gifts to Reimagine Visitor Experience and Enhance Photography Collections at Library of Congress A major gift by Wallis Annenberg and the Annenberg Foundation in Los Angeles will support the effort to reimagine the visitor experience at the Library of Congress. The foundation also announced that it is donating 1,000 photographic prints by about 250 contemporary photographers from its Annenberg Space for Photography exhibitions to the national library’s collections.The Library is pursuing a multi-year plan to transform the…

    • Date: 2020-08-06

  • August 3, 2020  (20-049)

    Library of Congress Appoints New Chief of African and Middle Eastern Division The Library of Congress has appointed Lanisa Kitchiner as chief of the African and Middle Eastern Division. Kitchiner brings more than 18 years’ experience as an administrator of cultural institutions and an academic mobilizing knowledge around Africa’s cultural and historical ties to the Middle East.Kitchiner most recently served as director of education and scholarly initiatives at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art…

    • Date: 2020-08-03

  • August 3, 2020  (20-050)

July 2020

  • July 24, 2020  (20-048)

    Library of Congress National Book Festival Announces Full Author Lineup The 2020 Library of Congress National Book Festival will connect with audiences across the country for an interactive, online celebration of “American Ingenuity” for the festival’s 20th year, featuring new books by more than 120 of the nation’s most-renowned writers, poets and artists. The festival will also showcase the many ways our national library embraces all subjects in its unparalleled collection.During the weekend of…

    • Date: 2020-07-24

  • July 13, 2020  (20-046)

    2020 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction to be Awarded to Colson Whitehead Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced today that Colson Whitehead, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novels “The Nickel Boys” and “The Underground Railroad,” will receive the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction during the 2020 Library of Congress National Book Festival on Sept. 25-27.Whitehead, 50, is the youngest person to receive the Library’s fiction award for his lifetime of work.“Colson Whitehead’s work is…

    • Date: 2020-07-13

  • July 9, 2020  (20-047)

June 2020

  • June 24, 2020  (20-044)

    Library of Congress FEDLINK Awards Recognize Federal Library Community The Federal Library and Information Network (FEDLINK) has announced the winners of its national awards for federal librarianship, which recognize the many innovative ways that federal libraries, librarians and library technicians fulfill the information demands of the government, business, and scholarly communities and the American public.Federal libraries and staff throughout the United States and abroad competed for the awards. The Fiscal Year 2019 winners…

    • Date: 2020-06-24

  • June 24, 2020  (20-045)

    Library of Congress Announces 2020 Homegrown Concert Series: Homegrown at Home The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress will present traditional music and dance from a variety of folk cultures thriving in the United States and around the world in a new online concert series each Wednesday through September.This year’s Homegrown summer concert series, “Homegrown at Home,” is being presented in a new online format, consistent with social distancing and safety practices in…

    • Date: 2020-06-24

  • June 22, 2020  (20-043)

    Library of Congress to Award Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity to Danielle Allen Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced today that Danielle Allen, director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics and the James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University, will receive the 2020 John W. Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity.Allen will collaborate with the Library on an initiative she has designed, titled “Our Common Purpose—A Campaign for Civic Strength at…

    • Date: 2020-06-22

Source

World Health Organization officially names novel coronavirus disease COVID-19

A few months after the first known case was detected in Wuhan, China, and approximately three weeks after the first U.S. case was reported, on February 11, 2020, the World Health Organization officially named the illness that would go on to cause a pandemic “coronavirus disease 2019,” shortened to the acronym COVID-19.

Often referred to as the “Wuhan virus” in its very early stages, and also “nCoV-2019,” WHO guidelines state that names for new infectious diseases may not include geographic locations, animals, individuals or groups of people and must be pronounceable. CO stands for corona, VI is for virus, D is for disease and 2019 represents the year it was first discovered.

“Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatizing,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a media briefing announcing the name. “It also gives us a standard format to use for any future coronavirus outbreaks.”

Since its onset, COVID-19 rapidly spread to every continent. By February 2021, it resulted in more than 105 million global cases and 2.3 million deaths, including more than 455,000 deaths in the U.S. alone. 

Read all our pandemic coverage here

Source

Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s “The Gates” opens in New York’s Central Park

On February 12, 2005, 7,503 orange curtains unfurl across New York City’s Central Park from thousands of gates. The art installation, Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s “The Gates,” will be gone by the end of the month, but it will leave a lasting impression and be remembered as one of the best-known and most beloved works of site-specific public art.

Husband-and-wife artistic duo Christo and Jeanne-Claude first conceived of the project in 1979. The city rejected their proposal in 1981, but, as the artists later stated, the arduous process of getting approval for such a massive installation on city property was itself an artistic performance. “He adds a dimension to the work, no matter what he thinks,” Christo said of the parks commissioner who first rejected “The Gates.” After years of negotiating and resistance from the denizens of the Upper West Side, construction began in 2004 and Mayor Michael Bloomberg unfurled the first curtain on the morning of February 12, 2005.

Like the couple’s previous works, which included wrapping Berlin’s Reichstag in cloth and hanging an enormous orange curtain across a Colorado mountain pass, “The Gates” was as conceptually simple as it was logistically challenging. It took over eight hundred workers to install the thousands of 16-foot-high gates, hung with cloth panels, which straddled 23 miles of Central Park’s pathways and transformed the park into a unique, ephemeral work of art.

Despite initial complaints from prominent locals like late-night host David Letterman, tourists flocked to see “The Gates” and most in the art world considered it an unmitigated success. “In the winter light, the bright fabric seemed to warm the fields, flickering like a flame against the barren trees,” wrote the New York Times. “Even at first blush, it was clear that ‘The Gates’ is a work of pure joy, a vast populist spectacle of good will and simple eloquence, the first great public art event of the 21st century.”

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Fukushima nuclear disaster

On March 11, 2011, the largest earthquake ever recorded in Japan causes massive devastation, and the ensuing tsunami decimates the Tōhoku region of northeastern Honshu. On top of the already-horrific destruction and loss of life, the natural disaster also gives rise to a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The Fukushima disaster is considered the second-worst nuclear disaster in history, forcing the relocation of over 100,000 people.

READ MORE: Fukushima Timeline: How an Earthquake Triggered Japan’s 2011 Nuclear Disaster

During the emergency, each of the three operational nuclear reactors at the Fukushima plant shut down successfully, but the backup power and cooling systems failed. As a result, residual heat caused fuel rods in all three reactors to partially melt down. As crews searched the rubble for survivors and the nation reeled from the earthquake and ensuing tsunami, the nuclear disaster unfolded over the course of several days. Reactors 1 and 3 exploded on March 12 and 14, respectively, prompting the government to evacuate everyone within a 20km radius. Another explosion in the building housing Reactor 2 on March 15 released even more radiation, and thousands of people left their homes as workers used helicopters, water cannons and seawater pumps to try to cool the overheating facility.

The full extent of the fallout became apparent over the ensuing months, with the government eventually evacuating all residents within a 30km radius of the plant. No deaths were initially attributed to the incident, although this was of little comfort to the 154,000 who were evacuated or the loved ones of the more than 18,000 people who lost their lives as a result of the earthquake and tsunami. Some have suggested that such a large evacuation was not necessary, as radiation levels appear to have dropped below what was expected in the immediate wake of the accident. 

Though many were able to return to their homes, a 371-square-kilometer “difficult-to-return zone” remains evacuated as of 2021, and the true toll may not be known for decades. In 2018, the government announced that former plant worker who had served during the meltdown was the first death officially attributed to radiation from the disaster, which today is considered second only to Chernobyl in the ranking of infamous nuclear incidents.

READ MORE: History’s Worst Nuclear Disasters

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January News from the Library of Congress

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January 2021

  • January 15, 2021  (21-001)

    Library of Congress Accepting Applications for 2021 Literacy Awards Until March 5 Applications are being accepted for the 2021 Library of Congress Literacy Awards from Jan. 15 to March 5. The awards are made possible through the generosity of philanthropist David M. Rubenstein.The Literacy Awards — established by the Library of Congress and Rubenstein — were first conferred in 2013 to honor and support organizations working to promote literacy both in the United States and abroad….

    • Date: 2021-01-15

December 2020

  • December 21, 2020  (20-083)

    Library of Congress Opens Award Nominations for Outstanding Federal Libraries, Librarians, Technicians To honor the innovations and successes of federal libraries, librarians and library technicians in meeting the information demands of government, businesses, scholarly communities and the public, the Federal Library and Information Network (FEDLINK) in the Library of Congress has opened nominations for its national awards for federal librarianship in fiscal year 2020.For nomination materials, visit the awards section of the FEDLINK website or send…

    • Date: 2020-12-21

  • December 18, 2020  (20-086)

    Library of Congress Announces 2021 Librarians-in-Residence Program The Library of Congress has announced the 2021 Librarians-in-Residence program to offer early career librarians the opportunity to develop their expertise and contribute to building, stewarding and sharing the institution’s vast collections. Applications for the program will be accepted from Dec. 18, 2020 to Jan. 22, 2021.The Library will select up to seven applicants for a six-month residency to begin in June 2021. The…

    • Date: 2020-12-18

  • December 17, 2020  (20-085)

    Library of Congress Completes Digitization of 23 Early Presidential Collections The Library of Congress has completed a more than two decade-long initiative to digitize the papers of nearly two dozen early presidents. The Library holds the papers of 23 presidents from George Washington to Calvin Coolidge, all of which have been digitized and are now available online.The Library plans to highlight each presidential collection on social media in the weeks leading up to the…

    • Date: 2020-12-17

  • December 16, 2020  (20-084)

    Library of Congress Appoints New Chief of Researcher and Reference Services Division The Library of Congress has appointed Dennis Clark as chief of the Researcher and Reference Services Division. Clark brings more than 22 years’ experience as an administrator and librarian to the Library, where he will lead public research services, onsite and online user engagement and the development of the majority of the 30 million items in the Library’s General Collections.Clark has been responsible for…

    • Date: 2020-12-16

  • December 15, 2020  (20-087)

    Copyright Office Launches Copyright Public Records System Pilot The U.S. Copyright Office today launched a public pilot of its new Copyright Public Records System (CPRS), which has been developed from the ground up to provide easier access and a stronger user interface for copyright records, including registrations, recordation, and other data. The new public record portal is the first component of the Enterprise Copyright System (ECS) to be openly released.Designed using extensive…

    • Date: 2020-12-15

  • December 14, 2020  (20-082)

    National Film Registry Spotlights Diverse Filmmakers in New Selections Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced today the annual selection of 25 of America’s most influential motion pictures to be inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. These films range from the innovative silent film “Suspense,” which was co-directed by a woman in 1913, and Sidney Poitier’s Oscar-winning performance in 1963’s “Lilies of the Field” to the 1978 mega-hit musical…

    • Date: 2020-12-14

  • December 8, 2020  (20-081)

    GPO and Library of Congress Release Ten Years of Legislative Data on Govinfo The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) in partnership with the Library of Congress, U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate has released 10 additional years of bill status XML bulk data on govinfo. Bill status information, created by the Library of Congress and Congress, describes the activities and status steps for each legislative measure. The original project started at the direction of the House…

    • Date: 2020-12-08

  • December 3, 2020  (20-080)

    Library Awards Bobbitt Poetry Prizes to Terrance Hayes and Natasha Trethewey The Library of Congress will award the 2020 Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry to Terrance Hayes, for his book “American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin,” and to former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey for lifetime achievement.The poets will receive their honors during a virtual ceremony Thursday, Dec. 10, at 7 p.m. ET on the Library’s Facebook page at facebook.com/libraryofcongress and…

    • Date: 2020-12-03

  • December 2, 2020  (20-079)

    Dwight D. Opperman Foundation Gives $1M to Reimagine Visitor Experience at Library of Congress The Dwight D. Opperman Foundation is donating $1 million to reimagine and enhance the visitor experience at the Library of Congress with a new orientation gallery, exhibitions and learning lab, the Library announced today.The Phoenix-based foundation’s donation to support design and construction of the Library’s visitor experience is one of several major gifts to the project in 2020 and was announced just after Giving…

    • Date: 2020-12-02

November 2020

  • November 24, 2020  (20-078)

    Behind the Book, a New Event Series, Takes Public Inside the World of American Publishing If you have ever wondered how a book goes from rough manuscript to published masterpiece and an author from obscurity to fame, then a new series of programs from the Library of Congress is just for you.The new series, Behind the Book, provides a behind-the-scenes view of the world of American book publishing — the editors, designers, publicists, agents and publishers who make the…

    • Date: 2020-11-24

  • November 19, 2020  (20-075)

    Joy Harjo Appointed to Third Term as U.S. Poet Laureate Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden has announced the appointment of U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo to a third term, making Harjo the second laureate to receive this extension since terms for the position were established in 1943.Harjo’s third term, to begin in September 2021, will offer her an opportunity to complete projects and programs whose timelines continue to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,…

    • Date: 2020-11-19

  • November 18, 2020  (20-074)

    Library Seeks Applicants for the 2021 Junior Fellows Summer Internship Program The Library of Congress is seeking applicants for its next Junior Fellows Summer Internship Program, which will run from May 24 – July 30, 2021. This 10-week paid internship is open to undergraduate and graduate students interested in learning and conducting research at the largest library in the world. For the second year in a row, the internship will be conducted virtually. The deadline…

    • Date: 2020-11-18

  • November 18, 2020  (20-076)

    Library of Congress, National Park Service Announce 2020 Holland Prize Winner The Library of Congress and the National Park Service announced today that the 2020 Leicester B. Holland Prize will be presented to an architectural team at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Louisiana, led by Guy W. Carwile, architect emeritus and the Ken Hollis endowed professor of the School of Design. The prize honors an outstanding historic building, structure or landscape drawing.The top prize was…

    • Date: 2020-11-18

  • November 18, 2020  (20-077)

    Ron Howard and J.D. Vance to Discuss “Hillbilly Elegy” with Librarian of Congress The Library of Congress and Netflix will host a conversation on Monday, Nov. 23, with film director Ron Howard and J.D. Vance, author of “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis,” moderated by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden to discuss the creative process of bringing the book to the screen with the release of the new film, “Hillbilly Elegy.”The event…

    • Date: 2020-11-18

  • November 10, 2020  (20-073)

    Library to Host Experts on Mapping COVID-19 Pandemic for GIS Day 2020 The Library of Congress will mark GIS Day on Nov. 18 with special programs featuring geographic information science professionals and analysts who are documenting the outbreak of COVID-19.For cartographers and epidemiologists tracking the spread, evolution and mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 virus as well as the distribution of a potential vaccine and personal protective equipment, the outbreak of COVID-19 has presented a geospatial analysis challenge…

    • Date: 2020-11-10

October 2020

  • October 30, 2020  (20-072)

    Veterans History Project Celebrates 20th Anniversary Year with Online Concerts, Panels, Nov. 6-14 The Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP) will host a series of musical performances and discussion panels to inspire conversations around the collection as both an archival resource and a diverse repository of veterans’ experiences — a mission it has met for the past 20 years. The events will premiere on the Veterans History Project’s Facebook page: facebook.com/vetshistoryproject.Friday, Nov. 6Barbara Martin, 8 p.m.The…

    • Date: 2020-10-30

  • October 29, 2020  (20-071)

    Making Our Mark: 2021 Innovator in Residence to Focus on Creative Notetaking The strike-throughs, underlines, doodles, and marginalia made by historical figures in their personal papers at the Library of Congress give researchers a more intimate sense of who they were. These markings sometimes shed light on the story of how a work was made or received. Researchers can understand more about the creative process, opinions and musings of people throughout the centuries by understanding these…

    • Date: 2020-10-29

  • October 28, 2020  (20-070)

    U.S. ISSN Center To Launch New ISSN Request System On Monday, Nov. 23, the Library’s U.S. ISSN Center will launch ISSN Uplink, a new application and tracking system for International Standard Serial Numbers. The current system will close on Friday, Nov. 6 to support a smooth transition to the new system. Publishers and others who need ISSN will benefit from the new request process, which will be completely online. Applications submitted after Nov….

    • Date: 2020-10-28

  • October 26, 2020  (20-069)

    Law Library of Congress Signs Preservation Steward Agreement with Government Publishing Office The Law Library of Congress has signed an agreement with the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) to become a preservation steward. Through the agreement, the Law Library of Congress will preserve its collection of the daily Congressional Record and Federal Register, which are produced by GPO.To help libraries meet the needs of efficient government document stewardship in the digital era, GPO has established preservation…

    • Date: 2020-10-26

  • October 20, 2020  (20-068)

    Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film Awarded to “Hold Your Fire,” Directed by Stefan Forbes The Better Angels Society, the Library of Congress, and the Crimson Lion/Lavine Family Foundation today announced that the second annual Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film has been awarded to “Hold Your Fire,” a new film directed by Stefan Forbes (“Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story”). The film will receive a $200,000 finishing grant to assist with post-production costs.Produced by Amir Soltani…

    • Date: 2020-10-20

  • October 16, 2020  (20-067)

    New Virtual Student Workshops Offer Opportunity to Engage with Library’s Collections at Home The Library of Congress is now offering virtual student workshops to engage young learners during an unprecedented school year. A new set of virtual workshops, available for students in grades three through eight, offer an opportunity to explore the Library’s exhibitions, collections and architecture from home.“The Library has long been an outstanding resource for teachers through its Teaching with Primary Sources Program. Now as…

    • Date: 2020-10-16

  • October 8, 2020  (20-066)

September 2020

  • September 22, 2020  (20-063)

    Citizen DJ Music-Mixing App to Launch at National Book Festival The Library’s Citizen DJ project will officially launch at the 2020 National Book Festival with the premiere of original sounds created by youth across America. At the virtual festival, DJ Kid Koala will spin some of these original beats and be joined in discussion with young adults, community educators and Innovator in Residence Brian Foo about hip-hop, history and their creative process. This summer,…

    • Date: 2020-09-22

  • September 21, 2020  (20-064)

    Librarian of Congress Appoints Shira Perlmutter Register of Copyrights Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden today announced her selection of Shira Perlmutter as the 14th Register of Copyrights.“I am pleased to announce that Shira Perlmutter will serve as the 14th United States Register of Copyrights,” said Hayden. “Shira brings to this role a deep knowledge of domestic and international copyright law and policy and a background in negotiating international intellectual property agreements. She has…

    • Date: 2020-09-21

  • September 18, 2020  (20-062)

    Hispanic Heritage Month Events at the Library of Congress To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15, various divisions throughout the Library of Congress will host virtual events and digital features, including National Book Festival highlights and the pre-recorded 2020 Américas Awards. Friday, Sept. 25 – Sunday, Sept. 27 – National Book Festival Sunday, Sept. 6 p.m. EST; PBS stations (check local listings)The National Book Festival occurs during…

    • Date: 2020-09-18

  • September 17, 2020  (20-061)

    National Book Festival Features a Day of Programming for Schools, Children and Teens at Home The Library of Congress National Book Festival will present a robust lineup of live and recorded programming featuring all-star authors for schools and young audiences at home on Friday, Sept. 25. Video interviews with popular authors of books for children and young adults, as well as two 1-hour video specials, will be available for on-demand viewing starting at 9 a.m. ET on the festival…

    • Date: 2020-09-17

  • September 15, 2020  (20-060)

    Library of Congress Launches New Tool to Search Historical Newspaper Images The public can now explore more than 1.5 million historical newspaper images online and free of charge. The latest machine learning experience from Library of Congress Labs, Newspaper Navigator allows users to search visual content in American newspapers dating 1789-1963.The user begins by entering a keyword that returns a selection of photos. Then the user can choose photos to search against, allowing the discovery…

    • Date: 2020-09-15

  • September 10, 2020  (20-058)

    Library of Congress Announces Winners of the 2020 Literacy Awards Five organizations working to expand literacy and promote reading will be awarded the 2020 Library of Congress Literacy Awards, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced today.Top prizes are being awarded to The Immigrant Learning Center, The International Rescue Committee, Inc. – Pakistan Reading Project, the National Center for Families Learning, Pratham Books and Room to Read. The Literacy Awards, originated by David M. Rubenstein…

    • Date: 2020-09-10

  • September 8, 2020  (20-059)

    Library of Congress Welcomes Albert Einstein Fellow for New School Year The Library of Congress has welcomed Peter DeCraene as its newest Albert Einstein Distinguished Education Fellow. DeCraene will work closely with the Library’s Learning and Innovation Office to make primary sources from the Library’s collections more accessible for teachers throughout the United States.“We have been on a mission for the past few years to demonstrate the value of primary sources across the curriculum and…

    • Date: 2020-09-08

  • September 2, 2020  (20-057)

    Library of Congress Appoints New Chief of Serial and Government Publications Division The Library of Congress has appointed Deborah Thomas as chief of the Serial and Government Publications Division. Thomas brings more than 20 years’ expertise working with digital collections and coordinating several of the Library’s signature programs. She has served as acting chief of the division since December 2019.Since joining the Library in 1998, Thomas has held numerous positions as an expert in the digital…

    • Date: 2020-09-02

August 2020

  • August 27, 2020  (20-056)

    American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress Launches Podcast ‘America Works’ The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress is bringing the voices of workers throughout the country to listeners with “America Works,” a new podcast series that celebrates the diversity and tenacity of the American workforce during a time of economic crisis and transition.Each 10-minute episode of “America Works” introduces listeners to an individual worker whose first-person narrative adds to the wealth of…

    • Date: 2020-08-27

  • August 25, 2020  (20-055)

    Annual ‘Concerts from the Library of Congress’ Season Announced The Library of Congress will continue its longstanding tradition of displaying America’s rich and diverse musical heritage during the 2020-2021 season of “Concerts from the Library of Congress.” The upcoming season will feature conversations with artists, performances of Library-commissioned work by Michael Abels, James Lee III and Igor Santos, and a festival titled “(Re)Hearing Beethoven.”Consistent with social distancing and safety protocols in response to…

    • Date: 2020-08-25

  • August 19, 2020  (20-053)

    Library of Congress Honors Oklahoma City and San Francisco Libraries for Service to Print-Disabled Readers The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS) at the Library of Congress announced today that it will honor two of its cooperating libraries for their outstanding service to readers who are visually or physically disabled.The Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, received the Regional Library of the Year Award. The Talking Books and Braille…

    • Date: 2020-08-19

  • August 12, 2020  (20-054)

    PBS to Broadcast Television Special Featuring Library of Congress National Book Festival The 2020 Library of Congress National Book Festival will include two new entry points for audiences across the country for the first time — a national television special on PBS stations and an interactive experience online for the festival’s 20th year.PBS stations will broadcast “The Library of Congress National Book Festival: Celebrating American Ingenuity,” a two-hour program featuring some of the nation’s most renowned…

    • Date: 2020-08-12

  • August 11, 2020  (20-052)

    Library Hosts Public Forum on Congress.gov Improvements and Priorities On Thursday, Sept. 10, from 10 a.m. to noon EST, the Library of Congress will host a virtual public forum focused on public access to legislative information through Congress.gov. This event will provide an update on improvements to Congress.gov, which is the authoritative repository of U.S. congressional data, and the Library’s role in providing access to legislative information. The forum will also give Congress.gov…

    • Date: 2020-08-11

  • August 6, 2020  (20-051)

    Two Major Gifts to Reimagine Visitor Experience and Enhance Photography Collections at Library of Congress A major gift by Wallis Annenberg and the Annenberg Foundation in Los Angeles will support the effort to reimagine the visitor experience at the Library of Congress. The foundation also announced that it is donating 1,000 photographic prints by about 250 contemporary photographers from its Annenberg Space for Photography exhibitions to the national library’s collections.The Library is pursuing a multi-year plan to transform the…

    • Date: 2020-08-06

  • August 3, 2020  (20-049)

    Library of Congress Appoints New Chief of African and Middle Eastern Division The Library of Congress has appointed Lanisa Kitchiner as chief of the African and Middle Eastern Division. Kitchiner brings more than 18 years’ experience as an administrator of cultural institutions and an academic mobilizing knowledge around Africa’s cultural and historical ties to the Middle East.Kitchiner most recently served as director of education and scholarly initiatives at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art…

    • Date: 2020-08-03

  • August 3, 2020  (20-050)

July 2020

  • July 24, 2020  (20-048)

    Library of Congress National Book Festival Announces Full Author Lineup The 2020 Library of Congress National Book Festival will connect with audiences across the country for an interactive, online celebration of “American Ingenuity” for the festival’s 20th year, featuring new books by more than 120 of the nation’s most-renowned writers, poets and artists. The festival will also showcase the many ways our national library embraces all subjects in its unparalleled collection.During the weekend of…

    • Date: 2020-07-24

  • July 13, 2020  (20-046)

    2020 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction to be Awarded to Colson Whitehead Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced today that Colson Whitehead, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novels “The Nickel Boys” and “The Underground Railroad,” will receive the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction during the 2020 Library of Congress National Book Festival on Sept. 25-27.Whitehead, 50, is the youngest person to receive the Library’s fiction award for his lifetime of work.“Colson Whitehead’s work is…

    • Date: 2020-07-13

  • July 9, 2020  (20-047)

June 2020

  • June 24, 2020  (20-044)

    Library of Congress FEDLINK Awards Recognize Federal Library Community The Federal Library and Information Network (FEDLINK) has announced the winners of its national awards for federal librarianship, which recognize the many innovative ways that federal libraries, librarians and library technicians fulfill the information demands of the government, business, and scholarly communities and the American public.Federal libraries and staff throughout the United States and abroad competed for the awards. The Fiscal Year 2019 winners…

    • Date: 2020-06-24

  • June 24, 2020  (20-045)

    Library of Congress Announces 2020 Homegrown Concert Series: Homegrown at Home The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress will present traditional music and dance from a variety of folk cultures thriving in the United States and around the world in a new online concert series each Wednesday through September.This year’s Homegrown summer concert series, “Homegrown at Home,” is being presented in a new online format, consistent with social distancing and safety practices in…

    • Date: 2020-06-24

  • June 22, 2020  (20-043)

    Library of Congress to Award Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity to Danielle Allen Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced today that Danielle Allen, director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics and the James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University, will receive the 2020 John W. Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity.Allen will collaborate with the Library on an initiative she has designed, titled “Our Common Purpose—A Campaign for Civic Strength at…

    • Date: 2020-06-22

  • June 17, 2020  (20-042)

    Library & Copyright Office Host Forum on Copyright Modernization On Thursday, July 16, at 10 am ET, the Library of Congress Office of the Chief Information Officer and the U.S. Copyright Office will host a virtual public forum on Copyright Office IT modernization. The purpose of Copyright Office IT modernization is to ensure that the creative community and other copyright users have a nimble, state-of-the-art, and efficient IT system at their service. This…

    • Date: 2020-06-17

  • June 11, 2020  (20-041)

    Librarian Appoints Joe Cappello to Serve as Chief Human Capital Officer Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced today that Joe Cappello has been selected to serve as the Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) for the Library of Congress, effective immediately. Cappello has been the acting CHCO since January.“The Library’s employees are our greatest strength, so I am delighted that Joe Cappello will lead our Human Capital Directorate, because I know he is as committed to…

    • Date: 2020-06-11

  • June 10, 2020  (20-040)

    Library of Congress Cancels Public Events Until September 1 The Library of Congress announced today that it will cancel all scheduled public events at the Library until Sept. 1 as part of its ongoing efforts to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 coronavirus. Whenever possible, the Library will reschedule the public programs that have been canceled. We will also provide regular public updates on the operating status of Library facilities.Library of Congress buildings…

    • Date: 2020-06-10

May 2020

  • May 29, 2020  (20-038)

    Library of Congress Commissions 10 New Works of Music in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic The Library of Congress will premiere a series of 10 commissions of new music from composers across America in The Boccaccio Project, inspired by a similar literary effort in the mid-14th century by Giovanni Boccaccio.The new commissions will premiere on the Library’s website and social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube on weekdays from June 15 to June 26, and the commission manuscripts…

    • Date: 2020-05-29

  • May 28, 2020  (20-036)

    Library of Congress Welcomes Junior Fellows to 2020 Summer Intern Program The Library of Congress today announced the appointment of 40 undergraduate and graduate students to its highly competitive Junior Fellows summer intern program. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this program will be conducted virtually.This year’s Junior Fellows program, which runs from May 26 to July 31, includes 27 special projects across divisions of the Library of Congress. The program will expose the Junior…

    • Date: 2020-05-28

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First confirmed case of COVID-19 found in U.S.

Following a rapid spread from its origin in Wuhan, China, the first U.S. case of the 2019 novel coronavirus, which causes a disease known as COVID-19, is confirmed in a man from Washington state. 

The virus, which would spark a pandemic, was first reported in China on December 31, 2019. Halfway across the world, on January 19, a man who had returned home to Snohomish County, Washington near Seattle on January 15, after traveling to Wuhan, checked into an urgent care clinic after seeing reports about the outbreak.

Experiencing a cough, fever, nausea and vomiting, the Centers for Disease Control announced on January 21 that the 35-year-old had tested positive for COVID-19. He was hospitalized, where his condition grew worse and he developed pneumonia. His symptoms abated 10 days later.

In the following months, the Seattle area became the epicenter of an early U.S. outbreak. 39 residents of Life Care Center, a nursing home in Kirkland, died from complications from the virus in one four-week span.

According to the CDC, 14 U.S. coronavirus cases were noted by public health agencies between January 21 and February 23, 2020; all patients had traveled to China. The first non-travel case was confirmed in California on February 26, and the first U.S. death was reported on February 29.

As the virus quickly marched across the country, businesses, schools and social gatherings were largely shut down, while, by May, unemployment rates reached their highest levels since the Great Depression.

Spreading to almost every country, more than 83 million have contracted the virus worldwide, and 1.8 million have died from it. The first U.S. vaccinations for COVID-19 were administered on December 14, 2020, with the rollout falling well short of expectations. As of mid-January 2021, 24.1 million cases and 400,000 deaths had been reported in the United States alone. 

READ MORE: Pandemics That Changed History 

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