Director of Library of Congress Center for the Book Discusses Library’s History at Middlebury’s Ilsley Public Library

Middlebury ~ John Cole, founding director of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress, will discuss the Library’s history and mission in a talk at Ilsley Public Library in Middlebury on October 6. His talk, “The Library of Congress: The Ups and Downs of Jefferson’s Legacy,” is part of the Vermont Humanities Council’s First Wednesdays lecture series and takes place at 7:00 p.m.

Thomas Jefferson believed that a library shared by a nation’s citizens was necessary to a democracy. Cole will explain how Jefferson’s belief, despite challenges, has again become central to the mission of the Library of Congress, which is now one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive research libraries and institutions.

Cole is founding director of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.  He has published widely about books and libraries in society, as well as about the history of the Library of Congress.  His most recent book is On These Walls: Inscriptions and Quotations in The Library of Congress.

The Vermont Humanities Council’s First Wednesdays series is held on the first Wednesday of every month from October through May, featuring speakers of national and regional renown. Talks in Middlebury are held at Ilsley Public Library.

Upcoming Middlebury talks include “What Did the Voters Really Say?” with former ABC News correspondent Barrie Dunsmore on November 3; “Potential U.S. Responses to Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions” with former Iranian ambassador to the UN Mansour Farhang on December 1; and “F. Scott Fitzgerald: American Dreamer” with Dartmouth professor Barbara Will on January 5.

A complete listing of First Wednesdays Middlebury talks is here

The Vermont Department of Libraries is the statewide underwriter of First Wednesdays. Ilsley Public Library is sponsored by Friends of Ilsley Public Library.

For more information, contact the Ilsley Public Library at 802.388.4095 or contact the Vermont Humanities Council at 802.262.2626 or, or

The Vermont Humanities Council is a private nonprofit working to bring the power and the pleasure of the humanities to all Vermonters-of every background and in every community. The Council envisions a state in which every individual learns throughout life-a state in which all its citizens read, reflect, and participate in public affairs.

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