By Dan Turello

Susan Schneider is associate professor of philosophy and the director of the A.I., Mind and Society Group at the University of Connecticut. She was a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Kluge Center in the spring and will be back in residence as the Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology beginning in October 2019. She is the author of “Artificial You: A.I. and the Future of Your Mind.”

DT: Susan, let’s start with consciousness itself. What is it?

“artificial-intelligence-2228610_1920” from user alansimpsonMe on Flickr

SS: Consciousness is the felt quality of experience. When you see a wave cresting on a beach, smell the…


Watch Richard Ford, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, José Andrés, David Brooks, Raina Telgemeier, David McCullough, Michael Beschloss

By Michelle Rago

We hope we see you this Saturday, August 31, at the Library’s National Book Festival. If you are attending in person get all the info you need on the National Book Festival website.

Main Stage audience at 2018 National Book Festival
Main Stage audience at 2018 National Book Festival

If you can’t attend in person we’ll miss you, but do not despair. We have livestream offerings so you can be part of this mammoth celebration of books and reading.

Library of Congress on YouTube


By John Sayers

The poster for the 2019 Library of Congress National Book Festival has been unveiled! This year’s poster is the work of Marian Bantjes, a designer, illustrator, typographer and writer whose work is invested in beauty and structure, and the intersection of words and graphics. She has been working in and around the design industry for 38 years, and is a member of Alliance Graphique Internationale.

Here’s what she has to say about her work on the 2019 National Book Festival poster:

I look for structure in any given project. For this, I started with the open book…


By Mark Hartsell

Charles Guiteau. Photo: C.M. Bell, 1881. Prints and Photograph Division.

This story is adapted from an upcoming story in the Library of Congress Magazine. It recounts the day of July 2, 1881–138 years ago — when President James A. Garfield was shot at a train station in Washington and the national drama that ensued.

Something about Charles Guiteau wasn’t right — anyone could see that. He so creeped out the women of his religious community that they nicknamed him “Charles Git-out.” His wife — he later managed to find one — divorced him, convinced he was possessed by an evil spirit.

Guiteau’s own family thought him insane…


By Michelle Rago

What does the Library of Congress website have in common with Justin Bieber, Harry Styles, Amazon.com, the TV show “Friends” and Netscape’s first web browser? Give up? They were all born 25 years ago. (Did you have other guesses?)

We debuted our website at the American Library Association (ALA) annual conference in Miami on June 22, 1994. By the way, the ALA conference is in Washington, D.C. this week and today we expect thousands of attendees to visit the Library!

Since the launch of loc.gov we have put more of the Library online including U.S. federal legislative…


By Neely Tucker

Jeannette Rankin addresses a D.C. crowd just before her swearing in, April 2, 1917. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Montana’s Jeannette Rankin came to Capitol Hill as the first woman elected to Congress in the spring of 1917. She was 36, Republican, single, a trailblazing suffragist and lobbyist. Nearly 7,000 representatives had served in the House’s 128 years, all of them men. When she was sworn in on April 2, she got an enthusiastic round of applause from the gentlemen in the chamber, but she soon found Congress to be not particularly honest and beset by lousy reporters.

“No doubt you have read in the papers about my ‘red hair’ and ‘sending the fathers to war’…


By Neely Tucker

“Game of Thrones” is back for its final season, and the fate of Westeros may well depend on how the ice dragon (Viserion), now the winged weapon of the White Walkers, fares against his still-living counterparts.

If you’re still reading, you know that the HBO series is based on George R.R. Martin’s books, which are, in turn, loosely based on England’s Wars of the Roses, the dynastics battles that raged between 1455–1485. No doubt you are aware that medieval battle was not for the faint of heart. But Martin’s use of dragons in his “A Song of…


By Neely Tucker

Tracy Smith shares a laugh with Vogue Robinson, poet laureate of Clark County, Nevada (Las Vegas), during Smith’s farewell event as U.S. Poet Laureate. Photo by Shawn Miller.

Tracy K. Smith concluded her remarkable term as U.S. Poet Laureate with a speech and on-stage conversation at the Library of Congress Monday night, capping two years of travel, podcasts and community conversations across the nation.

Smith began her tenure with a packed reading at the Coolidge Auditorium in Sept. 2017, and she ended it on the same stage in much the same fashion, sharing the platform with five poets laureate from Hawaii to New York.

Speaking to an enthusiastic audience, she said she felt “indescribably lucky.” She had taken the post with the belief that poetry…


By Neely Tucker

Cyndi Lauper’s “She’s So Unusual” album is one of the 25 inductees into the 2019 class of the National Recording Registry. Image credit: Portrait Records/Epic/Sony.

“Super Fly”! “September”! “Sweet Caroline”! “Soul Man”! And those are just the ones that start with “S”!

Ladies and gentlemen, this year’s selections for the National Recording Registry are now official, as per the announcement of the Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden. The inductees span a century, from 1901 to 2001, focuses primarily on the 1960s (eight of the 25 selections), and preserves everything from the “Attractive Hebrews” of the Standard Phonograph Company’s Yiddish Cylinders, to the no-nonsense marshal of Dodge City, Matt Dillon, of “Gunsmoke.”

The moments are poignant as Robert F. Kennedy’s speech after the…


By Neely Tucker

In Tom Martin’s life, the U.S. Army seemed like the family trade.

His dad, Ed, put in 29 years. His mom, Candy, 38. Erika (Noyes) Holownia, his fiancé, graduated from West Point in 2005, the same year as Tom. They served in Iraq together. She flew helicopters to airlift injured soldiers; he ran a sniper team. When she choppered into his base, he’d run out and say “Hi” for the two minutes she was on the ground.

“I love Calvin and Hobbes, watching movies and the Army,” he wrote in one of his popular blog posts. He…

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