Ms Carol Mitchell is the manager at The Library of Congress Field Office in Islamabad. Recently she has been in City and talked to The Nation in a question and Answer (Q&A) session, which is as followed: Q: Tell us something about yourself? A: I am Carol Mitchell; a librarian by training, now managing the Library of Congress Field Office in Islamabad. I received my PhD degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison in Library Sciences. In my thesis I explored library development in Malaysia. Q: How did you venture into a field related to books? A: I always enjoyed it; I never thought of any other profession. I have worked in public libraries and university libraries in the United States before joining the Library of Congress. Q: Tell us about the Library of Congress. When was it established and who founded it? A: Thomas Jefferson, one of Americas great founding fathers, believed that democracy requires knowledge and wide reading. The past and present leaders of the Library of Congress are firm believers in the fact that one must acquire, organise and disseminate knowledge about the world; hence we preserve the world of books, for global knowledge. Library of Congress is said to be the oldest governmental-cultural organisation and it works directly under the Legislative branch of the Government of the United States. Library of Congress is the worlds largest library having 650 miles of shelves. There are books, maps, magazines, and newspapers. There are more than 32 million books and journals and around 3 million audio recordings resting on the shelves. Each day the Library receives nearly 10,000 items, which get added to its shelf. The Library recently opened up a new campus, the Packard Campus, away from the main Library in Washington and it serves as the National audio-visual Conservation Centre. In the US we have strong copyright laws that have contributed to our rich collections. All of our materials, published in the United States come as a part of the copyright. This leaves us with money to buy books and journals from other parts of the world. The material comes from places as far as Europe, East Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and South Asia. Q: Which is your best reading material of all the times? A: I have been interested in Pakistan history, as far as I can remember, but my all time favourite has been Harry Potter because it gave me opportunity to read to my daughter. The fun of reading and understanding does not begin at the age of 20 and I believe, it begins at three or four years of age. Of course a good read that remains contemporary has always been the novels of Jane Austen. I even like the contemporary history writer William Dalrymple especially his The Last Mughal. Dalrymple is a lively writer and brings to life the regions history. The novels of Khuswant Singh and Ali Ahmeds Twilight in Delhi are widely read and understood. South Asian History challenges everyone. I think Pakistan can be proud of its long and rich history that begins with the Indus Valley. There is still much to be discovered and told to the world. Q: Does the common man have access to the library? A: Oh yes, but primarily for the scholarship purposes. We offer inter-library loans and work to facilitate the common man through internet. The Library is one of Americas rich cultural resources. We increasingly use the Internet to serve the broader public. In this way we serve as our nations National Library. Through programs the Library promotes books and the reading habit including sponsoring the annual National Book Festival. The former First Lady Laura Bush was an Honorary member of the Library. This year the Honorary Chairs are President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama. There is no doubt about the fact that the Library is often referred to as 'Library of Last Resort. This is because of the scope and number of books that are preserved in the Library. Q: From where the books are arranged? A: The Library of Congress has sought to build its overseas collections through its overseas offices. We have been working overseas since early 1960s, when the book industry was new to many parts of the world and then we setup our overseas offices. Although some have disappeared overtime, there are currently six overseas offices in operation in Nairobi, Cairo, Jakarta, Rio de Janeiro, New Delhi and Islamabad. In earlier days, we were based in Karachi, as there was a large presence of books, now we are present in the capital city. In Pakistan, we even receive the reading material that is published in Iran and Afghanistan, while the New Delhi office covers the other SAARC countries. Linguistically, we collect books, magazines and journals of all languages including the less commonly spoken languages of Hindko and Potuhari. In the United States, there is a strong presence of South Asian study programs including important centers in Chicago, Boston, New York, California and Michigan. Part of our responsibility is to help these academic libraries collect material from the South Asian region. These centres are interested in many fields of studies and require diverse resources. One new area of collecting has been audio-visual material. We recently collected old Lahori movies, from the days of pre-Partition India. This helps people better understand the history of Bollywood. We define research very broadly, from Fashion and Arts apart from the Oxford books, dictionaries, and classical Urdu poetry. Q: It is said that President Obama borrowed the Abraham Lincolns Bible for his inaugural address. Can you give an interesting insight into that? A: The Library of Congress plays a great role in the inauguration ceremony and we are always ready to contribute. President Obama has deep interest in Abraham Lincoln. President Obama was keen of his electoral journey from the very beginning when he announced his candidacy for President in Illinois where both, he and President Lincoln, served as State Senators. This year is the 200th birth anniversary of Lincoln so the Old Bible took on even greater significance at the inauguration. This symbolism was too great to overlook; I think it a very appropriate choice.