Thomas Jefferson sold his personal library and its classified catalog to the Library of Congress after the original library was burned in the War of 1812. He viewed the act of submitting his collection to the U.S. Congress as a means to inscribe his legacy and political agenda into the intellectual and cultural realm of the nation. Jorge Luis Borges was both a municipal librarian and the Librarian for the National Library of Argentina, as well as a prolific fiction and poetry writer. Borges’s fictions are a kind of catalogue in and of themselves, in which all books, all ideas, and all authors are cited, recited, ordered, and disordered. We put Jefferson into dialogue with Borges—each of whom we might regard as national librarians—to show how knowledge organization techniques frame and inform national and colonial imaginaries, and how monsters are produced in and by library collections and classifications.

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