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Scotland contributes books to Mount Vernon library

Courtesy photo Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond laid a wreath at George Washington's tomb.

Mount Vernon is collecting books that once belonged to former President Washington, and on Monday they got a little help from the Scots.

Before very carefully hand-presenting Mount Vernon's President Curt Viebranz with two volumes of the former president's letters to Congress, Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond laid a wreath of blue and white flowers -- colors chosen to symbolize Scotland and the United States -- at Washington's tomb. Former Sen. John Warner, R-Va., honoring his own Scottish roots, attended, pausing to appreciate the bagpipe player.

Salmond, who also toured Washington's former home for the first time, noted that "strangely enough my tour didn't seem to include" the whiskey distillery.

"Obviously my reputation preceded me," he joked. Salmond later told Yeas & Nays he "most certainly intends to" return to see the distillery.

"I'm pleased to report that on my leaving, a bottle of Mount Vernon's finest was presented to me, so all my anxieties were for nothing," he added. "I look forward to sampling it, and next time I come to Mount Vernon I'll be able to give my impressions of its finest product."

Construction on the new library building finishes in May and it's on track to open in September, though organizers are a long way from reuniting Washington's private library of more than 1,200 volumes.