More Fascinating and Free Things From the Library of Congress Website

Previously on Book Riot, I shared some neat stuff that can be found and accessed for free on the Library of Congress website. As I mentioned then, I spent almost five hours on the site, clicking around and being amused. I had found so much stuff that I decided to write about even more cool things available via the Library of Congress.

There are 103 videos of Library of Congress concerts going back to 2000 available online for you to watch. One of the things I really love that even though the pandemic has shut down the physical library location, musicians are still performing and supplying the library with videos to share with everyone. The most recent video at the time of writing this is from the end of June. Some of the older videos are especially excellent. I used to think I was cool but then I saw the Cedric Watson Trio concert and I stand corrected. I will never be as cool as these musicians.

This exhibit was supposed to run through September 2020, but thankfully it’s accessible online. There are not only photos and documents, but a short video and, of course, links to further resources as well as a reading list. I particularly appreciate the “More to the Movement” section, which talks about voting rights for all people because the 19th amendment did not grant rights to everyone. Women of color were a huge part of the conversation, but our fight continued.

These are recordings of freed people who were enslaved in the United States. The recordings were made between 1932 and 1975, and not all are clearly audible. The folks interviewed reflect on their entire lives and many sing songs. The link has more information on the collection as well as direct links to the recordings.

Citizen DJ is a super cool web app where you can make mixes, drum loops, etc. using the Library of Congress’s public collections of audio and moving images. The project is still in process of being made, but it’s totally available for you to play with now. I am both intimidated by it and tickled by it. It’s so much fun and nothing I’ve made actually sounds good but I love it.

More Free to Use and Reuse Image Sets

As I mentioned before, the Free to Use and Reuse Sets, are a collection of curated sets by theme that the Library has determined are free for anyone to use. Here are a few more of my favorites:


I’m more of a cat person, but this photo of Billie Holiday and her dog Mister is just too good not to share.

Photo of Billie Holiday and her dog Mister

Ice Cream

Ya’ll. I am obsessed with ice cream and I think this photo of an ice cream merchant in Constantinople from the late 19th century is so rad.

photo of an ice cream merchant in Constantinople from the late 19th century

Classic Children’s Books

I’m not saying these bears are on drugs, but I am saying that I’m pretty sure this is the time in United States history when opium was prescribed as medication. I put the image of the cover below, but the library actually digitized the entire book and you can read it here.

Antique book cover of the children's book Denslow's Three Bears

There is still so much more to discover on the Library of Congress website. This post is just to give you another taste. Have fun!

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