D.C. June 08, 2017
The World’s Largest Library Is Right Here In Washington DC And You’ll Want To Visit
We know that libraries don’t always rank as “cool.” Most of us probably associate them with studying for an exam or writing a paper but this library in DC is truly fascinating. It’s the largest library in the world and you will definitely want to visit it! The Library of Congress doesn’t always top everyone’s bucket list for DC but this article might change your mind about it!
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The Library of Congress was established in 1800 by an act of Congress and is currently the oldest cultural institution in the country.
But the Library was destroyed in 1814 when British troops burned the building and destroyed many of its books and stole many others.
A year later, Thomas Jefferson donated his own collection of over 6,000 books to help restore the Library. You can still see his personal collection at the library today.
Today the library has 155 million items including over 34 million books, 68 million manuscripts and 13 million photographs. The shelves in library total over 800 miles in length.
Unbelievably, the library is still growing! The Library acquires about 15,000 new items every day.
It’s home to the largest collection of maps (over 5 million) and the largest collection of comic books (over 100,000 issues).
You can find books and artifacts at the library that you can’t find anywhere else. The Library of Congress has one of the three Gutenberg Bibles that exists in the world and it is home to a Sumerian cuneiform tablet, which dates back to 2040 and is thought to be the oldest piece of written material!
Today, anyone can come and visit the library, study, read and explore the gorgeous buildings and everyone should! But if you want to use the research areas, including the computer catalogues, you need to obtain a Reader Identification Card. These cards are free and can be obtained by completing a registration form and having a valid driver’s license, ID card or passport.
There are three main buildings of the Library: the James Madison Building, John Adams Building and the Thomas Jefferson Building.
The Thomas Jefferson Building is by far the most popular. This absolutely stunning building features architectural elements of marble, granite, bronze, gold and mahogany.
There are free one hour guided tours offered every hour from 10:30am to 2:30pm.
Inside the Great Hall, there is stunning architecture and works of arts and statues.
The Reading Room is known for its marble columns and many statues of cultural icons.
There is also a Young Readers Center that is perfect for small children and you can pick up free activity sheets upon entrance of the library that children can compete as they explore the library.
The Library of Congress is such a hidden gem in the district but it’s truly one of the most interesting and impressive places here!
The Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Library is located at 10 First Street, SE. The Library is open to the public Monday-Saturday 8:30am-5:00pm.
While you’re at the Library of Congress,
be sure to visit the oldest public garden in the country that’s just around the corner!