The Presidential Library system is composed of 13 libraries across the country, from Herbert Hoover through the most recent addition, the George W. Bush Library. Presidential Libraries are a part of the Legislative Archives, Presidential Libraries, and Museum Services.
Presidential Libraries are not libraries in the usual sense. They are archives and museums, bringing together in one place, documents and artifacts of a President and his Administration. President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the first public repository to preserve the evidence of the Presidency for future generations. Roosevelt raised private funds for the new facility and then turned it over to the U.S. Government for operation by the National Archives. In 1955, Congress institutionalized this policy through the Presidential Libraries Act, amended in 1986. The former President raises money from state and/or private entities and then has the library built to NARA's specifications. Beginning with the George H. W. Bush Library, a 20% endowment helps offset the costs of running the library.