“oldest federal cultural institution”
The Library of Congress is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and serves as the research arm of Congress. It is also the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections. The Library's mission is to support the Congress in fulfilling its constitutional duties and to further the progress of knowledge and creativity for the benefit of the American people.
When I first visited DC and they took us here I thought, "What? Lame!" I was so wrong. This building has some of the most beautiful details of any building I've ever visited. If you're a book lover or architecture nerd or history buff, you'll really dig this place. What an unexpected surprise!
They no longer let you go in the reading room. Which is one of the coolest places in all of Washington DC, and featured in "All The Presidents Men".
On the other hand, the parts you do get to see are interesting enough, and the Jefferson Library is something else and worth the trip in and of itself. Would do it again.
You can't bring food, drinks or chew gum in the library. Also, you need to turn off your cell phone before taking a tour. The tour is an hour long and it takes you through the library's history. There's some pretty heavy security as you enter the library, so be prepared for that. You're allowed to take photos except at the Bibles and in the Main Reading Room overlook. As David mentioned in an earlier review, now only researchers are allowed into the Library's Reading Rooms. Also, important to note, the library doesn't offer parking. There's parking meters and 2-hour zoned parking on the streets. The closet lot is at Union Station. There's also a gift shop. Of course.
Another great, free site in DC - add it to the list! Some amazing details here, some don't just rush through
The building is beautiful. If you love architecture and tile work this is a must see. If you are going to see the reading room you will be disappointed. My 10 year old really wanted to walk through the reading room but it was not allowed. The guards were rude.
I was just in awe of the amount of stuff in this building. It's truly one of America's great institutions. The tour is well worth it as it explains pretty much everything you could ever want to know about it's history.
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Library of Congress
- Mon - Sat: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
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