Library Of Congress, Washington D.C.

4.5 out of 5 stars 46 Reviews

10 First Street, SE (202) 707-8000

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    Interior decor
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    Main Reading room
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    Outside the lbrary
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  • b1bob's Profile Photo

    Library of Congress

    by b1bob Updated Jun 27, 2006

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    Library of Congress

    The Library of Congress was originally founded as a research library for the United States Congress in 1800, its original collection were the books of the 3d U.S. President Thomas Jefferson. It used to be that all authors seeking American copyright had to submit two copies of the work to the Library. They don't do that anymore, but copies of many books published in the U.S. still arrive at the Library regularly. It contains many important books and collections, such as a Gutenberg Bible.

    The library itself is in three buildings in Washington, DC. With over 115 million items, it is one of the largest libraries in the history of the world. Only the British Library, which contains over 150 million items, has more stuff.

    The library is open to the general public for academic research, and runs tours for visitors. Only people with a permit can enter the reading room and access the collection.

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  • mattreider's Profile Photo

    For the studious types

    by mattreider Updated Jun 19, 2006

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    Interior

    As an undergraduate at the nearby University of Maryland, I travelled to the Library of Congress (referred to by cool people as the LoC) ONCE. They have the biggest, most expensive computer desks known to man, with dental trim and raised capitals stained deep brown; all to hold the computers for the electronic card catalog lookup.

    Print out what books you want, sign up for a table, and they'll bring the books to you. Remember, every book ever published in the US is available here.

    There are also tours of the interior of the building, envisioned by Jefferson as a library where the congress could investigate what laws to pass.

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  • puravida_'s Profile Photo

    Library of Congress

    by puravida_ Updated Jun 12, 2006
    Architectural Masterpiece

    I didn't have time to take the tour, so I can't advise as to its quality, but this may be the most stunning building in D.C. just to stroll through. Access to the actual books is restricted, so don't go expecting to walk out with ancient literary artificacts unless you qualify for diplomatic immunity in at least one other country, but... again, the architecture is gorgeous, so go anyway. :)

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  • rexvaughan's Profile Photo

    The original library

    by rexvaughan Updated Mar 16, 2006

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    The Jefferson Building
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    Said to be the largest library in the world, you cannot possibly see all of the Library of Congress but we did enjoy the Jefferson Building which is the original library built around the end of the 19th C. There are some interesting displays on American history including some on entertainers like Bob Hope and of course one of their prizes is a Gutenberg Bible from the 15th C. However, I regard the building itself as the most appealing sight. I will not try to describe all the features as I think the photos speak better than me but there are several statues of the Minerva, the Greek goddess of wisdom and the arts. as well as defensive war.

    Admission is free and tours are available. Great Hall is open Mon-Sat 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Visitor's center and galleries open daily 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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  • I-Believe-I-Can-Fly's Profile Photo

    Let's admiring beautiful art works

    by I-Believe-I-Can-Fly Updated Oct 27, 2005
    What a beautiful murals!
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    The Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress is filled with beautiful mosaics, murals, sculptures and paintings.

    We arrived early in the morning when the building was still empty. Every corner we turned, we saw beautiful art works. This renaissance Italian style building is magnificent! I saw a group of school children with guided tour, and we asked the guide's permission to join. It was fun and educative, I learned more from this guided tour. I highly recommend to join one of the guided tours offered by public buildings in Washington DC.

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  • mydreamquest's Profile Photo

    Library of Congress

    by mydreamquest Written Oct 21, 2005
    Library of Congress Building
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    Located next to the Supreme Court building in Capitol Hill is the Library of Congress. I did not have time to explore it, but did find the architecture quite stunning.

    Evidently, it is one of three buildings and is said to be the largest library in the world.

    Regrettably, I did not have time to explore inside. It has a beautiful interior.

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  • Hosell's Profile Photo

    LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

    by Hosell Updated Sep 1, 2005

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    % The Library of Congress is one of most impressive and beautiful buildings in the capital,don't hesitate if you have the chance to see it,because can be visited.

    This is a inside view of LIBRARY OF CONGRESS.

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    Special Exhibitions at the Library of Congress

    by londonlover Written Apr 28, 2005

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    Bob Hope's Oscar

    One of the current exhibitions at the Library of Congress features Bob Hope and other vaudeville stars. As a big Bob Hope fan myself, I found it fascinating--personal artifacts, rare film clips, and even one of his honorary Oscars are on display here.

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  • londonlover's Profile Photo

    Library of Congress Splendor

    by londonlover Updated Apr 28, 2005

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    Inside the Library of Congress

    After the British burned the Capitol building during the War of 1812, the original books in the Library of Congress were destroyed. Thomas Jefferson offered his own personal library of several thousand books as the seed for the new Library of Congress, which was moved to this building soon aftewards.

    A few of Thomas Jefferson's 6,487 original books are displayed in the National Treasure section of the Library of Congress. Also on display here are the contents of President Lincoln's pockets when he was assassinated, as well as numerous historical documents and photographs.

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    Using the Library of Congress

    by londonlover Written Apr 28, 2005

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    The ceiling of the Library of Congress

    If you can't find information anywhere else, you can probably find it here, among its 128 million items! Any U.S. citizen is free to use this library, but getting access is obviously more difficult than getting a library card! You must apply in person at a building close to the Library of Congress for a special researcher's card. You then go into the main reading room where you can look up your books, and they will be delivered to you by a conveyor belt system that has been in operation since the library was opened in 1897!

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    Washington's Most Underrated Institution

    by londonlover Written Apr 28, 2005

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    Inside the Library of Congress

    The Library of Congress is a national treasure that I believe receives far too little recognition. Located just behind the Capitol Building, it is home to the country's largest collection of books, besides a vast display of national treasures and exhibitions on Americana. However, the most stunning attraction here is the building itself, designed in the style of a Renaissance palace. The interior is the most beautifully decorated public building I have seen anywhere.

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  • "Ignorance is the Curse of God . . .

    by peach93 Updated Mar 1, 2005

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    Ceiling Detail, Library of Congress

    . . . Knowledge Wherewith the Wing We Fly to Heaven."

    Once housed in the Capitol building, America's national library was destroyed in 1814 when the British burned the Capitol during the War of 1812. As a replacement for what was lost, Thomas Jefferson offered his personal library to the People, and the Library of Congress as we now know it was born. The building where the library is now housed was built in 1886, directly across the street from the Capitol. It is an Italian Renaissance style building called by some the most beautiful building in America, and I would have to agree. It is in fact the most beautiful building I have ever seen. Its beauty takes one's breath away.

    The Library of Congress serves as the warehouse for the National Copyright Office, housing 2 copies of everything that has ever been copywritten in the United States. The collections are free and open to use by anyone over the age of 18, though some collections can be seen by appointment only.

    On display to the public in the Library is a Guttenburg Bible, Alexander Graham Bell's notebook from when he invented the telephone, and George Washington's inaugeral papers to name only a few items. Free tours of the building are offered several times a day. I hightly recommend taking one. I found my whole experience there to be awe inspiring.

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  • smschley's Profile Photo

    The Library of Congress

    by smschley Updated Feb 12, 2005
    Thomas Jefferson Building

    The Library of Congress was founded in 1800 and 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 nearly 128 million items on approximately 530 miles of bookshelves. The collections include more than 29 million books and other printed materials, 2.7 million recordings, 12 million photographs, 4.8 million maps, and 57 million manuscript in 460 languages. The basic manuscript collections of 23 Presidents of the United States, and the papers of thousands of other figures who have shaped history; maps and atlases that have aided explorers and navigators in charting both the world and outer space; the earliest motion pictures and examples of recorded sound, as well as the latest data bases and software packages. It is one of four official national libraries of the United States (along with the National Library of Medicine, National Agricultural Library, and National Archives and Records Administration). Originally founded as a research library for the U.S. Congress on April 24, 1800, its original collection was composed of the books of former U.S. President Thomas Jefferson It contains many important books and collections, such as a Gutenberg Bible.

    The Library itself is spread over three buildings in Washington, D.C.: The James Madison Building (between First and Second Streets on Independence Avenue SE) . The Thomas Jefferson Building (between Independence Avenue and East Capitol Street on First Street SE). The John Adams Building (between Independence Avenue and East Avenue and East Capitol Street on 2nd Street SE)

    The library is open to the general public for academic research, and runs tours for visitors. Only people with a permit can enter the reading room and access the collection. Permits are available in the Madison building upon presentation of a picture ID. The Visitors' Center is located inside the west front entrance of the Thomas Jefferson Building, Ground Level.

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  • sswagner's Profile Photo

    The Library of Congress

    by sswagner Written Jan 20, 2005
    Library of Congress

    There are few better places to perform research than here. That of course is the main function of the library. Almost any published document imagineable can be found here. The building itself is worth a look, as the exterior and interior are both quite attractive. You will be able to see people hard at work researching materials. If you are coming here for that purpose, you might want to check out the website to help prepare your visit.

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  • JetlagCity's Profile Photo

    The Library of Congress-not what you'd think!

    by JetlagCity Updated Dec 19, 2004

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    Library of Congress book

    If I could only give you one tip for Washington D.C. it would be to visit the main entrance hall in the Library of Congress. This is my favorite building in the entire U.S.!

    It's just breathtaking, covered with colorful mosaics and paintings and filled with columns and statues of all the heroes our founders admired. The architecture is very open and airy and classical. I was quite impressed because it seemed that all the greats of Western civilization, plus a few from other civilizations, were represented here.

    Outside is the bronze Court of Neptune fountain, featuring Neptune, his son, and several sea nymphs. It looks wonderful lit up at night.

    You're not allowed to take pictures inside, so I bought a book in the gift shop to remember it by. This is a picture I took of a page in my book, to give you a peek at the inside.

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