t2.bmp (300054 bytes)  Library of Congress

 

The Library of Congress
You have to take the free, guided tour of the Library of Congress!  It is the only way to get the full impact of this beautiful building.  

The docents are well trained volunteers.

 Artisans from the Chicago World's Fair came to WA DC to decorate the building. 

More than 50 sculptors, painters, and artists contributed. You can see how each section is different; but the whole building coordinates and flows because they were all using the same color palette.

The library does NOT own a copy of every single book published in the US, but it does have 128 million items (books, maps, manuscripts, recordings...)
Can you discern the cherubic figures along the stairway railing?  Each one represents an industry or job that was part of America at the time.
This is called the Thomas Jefferson Building, but it was designed by John L. Smithmeyer and Paul J. Pelz.  We think it is named after Jefferson though because he sold the Congress his personal library of 7000 books for $23,950 in 1815 after the British burned the Capitol, where the first library was housed.

 

Jefferson believed that "there is no subject to which a member of Congress may not have occasion to refer," and that remains the guiding principle of the LoC today.

 
This represents Good Government with an educated populace for democracy.  See the man on the right? The books indicate that he is learned, and you might not be able to see it, but he is dropping his ballot into the vase (voting).

And the woman on the left is counting votes, and the breeze is separating the wheat from the chaff.

 
 
We did not take a picture, but the main hall does include two very old Bibles.  One is a Gutenberg Bible acquired by the LoC in like 1930 (Depression) for like 10 million dollars.  It was a bargain we just could not pass up, even though the country was in a depression.
Anyone over 18 can go get a special Reader ID Card to access the collection and sit in a reading room.  Only members of Congress can actually check out materials.
While we were waiting for our tour to start, a group of librarians from around the country set off on their own special tour.  These ladies were pretty excited to be at the Library of Congress; sort of like when Lou goes to Cape Canaveral.

 

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