May 16, 2022

The Library of Congress Releases FY2015 Collection Statistics, Physical Items Now Total 162 Million

From Today’s LC News Release:

2016-02-01_12-26-32The Library of Congress today released statistics for fiscal year 2015.

Its collection now comprises more than 162 million physical items in a wide variety of formats.

The daily business of being the world’s largest library, the home of the U.S. Copyright Office and a supportive agency to the U.S. Congress resulted in the Library adding 1.7 million physical items to its permanent collections, registering more than 443,000 copyright claims and responding to more than 1 million reference requests from Congress, the public and other federal agencies in fiscal year 2015.

Some notable items newly cataloged into the Library’s collection include the papers of former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and composer Marvin Hamlisch; rare Civil War stereograph images; recordings from the pioneering folk music label Stinson Records, featuring Woody Guthrie, Peter Seeger and Lead Belly; the Archive of the Association of American Geographers; and the backfile of issues on microfilm of the French satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo,” which began publishing in 1970.

The U.S. Copyright Office registered works in fiscal year 2015 from authors in all 50 states. The Grammy Award-nominated songs “Uptown Funk” (Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson) and “Alright” (Kendrick Lamar and Pharell Williams) and such box-office toppers as “Inside Out,” “Furious 7” and “Jurassic World” were among the nearly half-million novels, poems, films, software, video games, music, photographs and other works submitted.

Reference librarians and Congressional Research Service staff responded to more than 1 million reference requests from patrons both on-site and via phone and email—an average of 4,600 requests every business day. Students, authors and scholars sought information this year about Abraham Lincoln’s religious beliefs, Theodore Roosevelt’s role in reforming college football practices, whether the “Book of Secrets” discussed in the 2007 film “National Treasure” exists and the always popular topic of family genealogy.

The Library’s web portal for teachers recorded more than 11 million page-views. These included web presentations, lesson plans and other ideas for incorporating the Library’s myriad primary resources in the classroom. The site also offers 12 e-books in its Interactive Student Discovery Series for Apple iPad that brings together historical artifacts and one-of-a-kind documents on a wide range of topics, from history to science to literature.

In fiscal year 2015, the Library of Congress …

Responded to more than 596,000 congressional reference requests and delivered to Congress approximately 20,540 volumes from the Library’s collections;Registered 443,812 claims to copyright;

Provided reference services to 457,442 individuals in person, by telephone and through written and electronic correspondence;

Circulated nearly 22 million copies of Braille and recorded books and magazines to the user accounts of more than 862,000 blind and physically handicapped readers;

Circulated nearly 900,000 items for use within the Library;

Preserved more than 9 million collection items;

Recorded a total of 162,477,060 physical items in the collections:

  • 24,055,745 cataloged books in the Library of Congress classification system
  • 14,613,415 books in large type and raised characters, incunabula (books printed before 1501), monographs and serials, music, bound newspapers, pamphlets, technical reports and other print material

123,807,900 items in the nonclassified (special) collections, including:

  • 3,601,323 audio materials (discs, tapes, talking books and other recorded formats)
  • 70,296,299 manuscripts
  • 5,559,470 maps
  • 17,069,754 microforms
  • 1,758,713 moving images (film, television broadcasts, DVDs)
  • 7,166,307 items of sheet music

14,974,472 visual materials, as follows:

  • 14,200,418 photographs
  • 106,676 posters
  • 667,378 prints and drawings
  • 3,381,592 other (including machine-readable items)

Welcomed nearly 1.6 million onsite visitors and recorded 86.1 million visits and more than 482.5 million page-views on the Library’s web properties. At year’s end, the Library’s online primary-source files totaled 60.9 million.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.