The Library of Congress — The World’s Largest Library

posted by Sharon May 13, 2018 36 Comments
Library of Congress, Washington DC

The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. is open to the public and is not only a library but also a museum with palace-like décor. Founded in 1800 by order of President John Adams, this collecting place for books of all kinds began with a budget of $5,000. Trouble came in the form of fire during the War of 1812, but Thomas Jefferson stepped in to sell the library part of his private collection to restock the bookshelves. The library now consists of three buildings, with the main building dating from 1897. In 1980, it was renamed the Thomas Jefferson building, and this is where you will want to head if you’re visiting Washington, D.C. Library of Congress, Washington DC

At the information desk, pick up a map and list of exhibits and sign up for a tour. Then enjoy the center floor, sculptures, marble staircases, and mosaic ceilings.

Library of Congress, Washington DCLibrary of Congress, Washington DCLibrary of Congress, Washington DCLibrary of Congress, Washington DCLibrary of Congress, Washington DCBe sure to look up. The ceiling holds many treasures. Library of Congress, Washington DCLibrary of Congress, Washington DC

Library of Congress, Washington DCLibrary of Congress, Washington DCLibrary of Congress, Washington DCYou may have seen the Reading Room of the Library of Congress in movies such as “National Treasure” or magazine features. It’s truly a magnificent room, though you need a special pass to go in. The library is working on digitizing all the literature here, so I was surprised to learn they still have the card catalogs in back rooms, kept for their historical value. Library of Congress, Washington DC

Library of Congress, Washington DCLibrary of Congress, Washington DCLibrary of Congress, Washington DCThe heart of the Jefferson Library of Congress is the collection of books from Jefferson’s library. Many of the books burned, but the library has been working steadily to find genuine replacements for all of those volumes. A simple marking method of a green ribbon bookmark shows which books were owned by Jefferson. Those with a yellow ribbon are found replacements. A few boxes keep the place of volumes still being searched for. To stand in the presence of books actually touched by Jefferson is quite thrilling. Library of Congress, Washington DC

Library of Congress, Washington DCLibrary of Congress, Washington DCLibrary of Congress, Washington DCLibrary of Congress, Washington DCLibrary of Congress, Washington DCLibrary of Congress, Washington DCThe featured exhibition is a display of books and memorabilia from World War I to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ending of the Great War. Library of Congress, Washington DCLibrary of Congress, Washington DCLibrary of Congress, Washington DC

We arrived at opening and spent about 2 hours in the library before our tour. This worked out well. We could move at our own pace, then we joined the tour and our excellent guide filled in background on what we had just seen. We could ask any questions, too. We got a better idea of the vastness of the holdings of the library – not just books but also film, maps, and artifacts. For example, the piano of composer George Gershwin is here! Library of Congress, Washington DC

A surprising bit of information is that as imposing as the building itself is from the outside, it was almost finished before anyone gave thought to the inside. One man was hired to decorate, and the result is amazing. Library of Congress, Washington DC

Our tour ended at lunchtime, and our guide gave us an excellent tip. Cross the street to the James Madison Memorial building of the library, which is administration and storage of manuscripts. On the sixth floor is a cafeteria for the government employees that’s also open to the public, though it’s not advertised. We had a delicious lunch and sat among the people who work there, so much more fun than eating at a touristy, overpriced place.

As our tour guide said several times, the Library of Congress is YOUR library. It’s open to explore, and you can apply for a reader’s card if you’re going to be in town for a while. Library of Congress, Washington DC

We ended up stopping back at the Library of Congress a few days later, just to see it again. Whether or not you’re a fan of libraries, this is one certainly worth a visit.

The Library of Congress is open Monday through Saturday from 8:30 to 5:00.  For more information, visit the website here. Library of Congress, Washington DC

Linking up with Image-in-ing, Monday Escapes, Monday Murals, Pictorial Tuesday, Little Things ThursdayWednesday Around the WorldThe Good, the Random, the Fun, Through My Lens, Seasons, Our World Tuesday, Photo Friday, Travel Photo Thursday, City Tripping, Weekend Wanderlust, Faraway Files, The Weekly Postcard, Wanderful Wednesday, Feet Do Travel, Weekend Wanderlust, and Weekend Travel Inspiration. Weekend Wanderlust

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PIN IT FOR LATER!! Libary of Congress, Washington D.C.

 

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36 Comments

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Tamar Strauss-Benjamin May 13, 2018 at 9:43 am

One of the most amazing spaces in DC!

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Jesh StG May 13, 2018 at 6:01 pm

Wow, all the ceilings are amazing and actually more eye-catching than the walls and pillars (except for the arches!) Thank you for showing this an telling what the library so all works on, to All Seasons, Sharon – a real treat! Hope you had a great Mothers Day! Have an enjoyable week!

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Bill Dodd May 13, 2018 at 10:47 pm

What a fabulous documentation of this place. One thing is for sure— if I ever get to DC, I will make this the first stop!

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Mersad May 13, 2018 at 11:13 pm

A feast for the eyes and soul. Thank you for sharing with “Through My Lens”

Mersad
Mersad Donko Photography

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Kelleyn Rothaermel May 14, 2018 at 5:13 am

Sometimes I forget that we have our very own treasures! Lovely!
http://travelingbugwiththreeboys-kelleyn.blogspot.ae/2018/05/stuttgart.html

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Jill Foley May 14, 2018 at 5:26 am

Very cool… we are planning a trip to DC this fall and i’m adding this to our list.

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Buckeroomama May 14, 2018 at 5:36 am

Wow. This definitely sounds like my kind of place. I can spend hours in there!

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Patrick Weseman May 14, 2018 at 6:36 am

Now that is a place I would love to visit. Thanks for sharing it. Great pics.

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Carol May 14, 2018 at 7:01 am

Reading your post it hit me like lightening – in all my trips to Washington, I never visited the LIbrary of Congress. That is my mistake it is such a beautiful place. Great post!

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image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup May 14, 2018 at 7:03 am

Wow. That’s amazing. I’ve visited DC, but never stopped there. I will have to remedy that next time – this place looks breathtaking!
Thanks for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2018/05/opa.html

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Eileen May 14, 2018 at 10:10 am

Hello, it is a gorgeous building. Love the decor, the ceiling are awesome. Thanks for sharing. Enjoy your day and new week!.

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Fun60 May 14, 2018 at 10:42 am

Your photos are terrific. I visited the library a couple of years ago and was staggered at its beauty.

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A ShutterBug Explores May 14, 2018 at 1:18 pm

What an incredible place and fantastic photos! Library filled with amazing history!

Wishing you a Happy Week ahead,
A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor)

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Angie May 14, 2018 at 2:26 pm

Sharon – a fabulous national treasure that I have not visited, until now! I think my neck would be hurting by the end of the tour, but it would be worth it! Unbelievable that they did not think of the inside decoration – it is by far my favorite aspect of the place. And thanks for the tip on the restaurant – I would far rather go where the locals do!

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Su-sieee! Mac May 14, 2018 at 7:15 pm

The Library of Congress is so handsome. Your photos show it off so well. I visited it once several decades ago, and would love to again. When I start feeling a tinge of low self-esteem, I tell myself that I’m in the Library of Congress. It picks me up all the time. lol

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Lady Fi May 14, 2018 at 7:44 pm

What stunning shots of the library!

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Photo Cache May 15, 2018 at 6:22 am

Incredible architecture. I have never been to DC, what a pity.

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Cathy May 15, 2018 at 9:01 am

It’s just amazing isn’t it! So very beautiful, both architecture and books! Thank you!

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Jim, Sydney, Australia May 15, 2018 at 12:48 pm

Interesting

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California Globetrotter May 15, 2018 at 1:43 pm

Whooa I had no idea it was soooo beautiful!! I loooove libraries and would love to add this to my collection! Love the tip about the restaurant across the street! #CityTripping

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Mandy May 16, 2018 at 5:22 am

Fantastic shots in a beautiful building. I have been there, though not on a tour. I’m particularly impressed with your shot of the library; aren’t there big plastic see through partitions in the way? How did you get such a clean shot?

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Cathy (Mummytravels) May 16, 2018 at 10:34 am

A true temple to books – what a magnificent building and such an experience to be near books with that weight of history attached. Gorgeous photos as ever. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

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Jill May 17, 2018 at 12:16 pm

I was there once many years ago. I enjoyed taking the tour with you through your photos!

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betty - NZ May 17, 2018 at 5:43 pm

What a fabulous place! I love all the photos that you took. The architecture is so exquisite!

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Molly May 18, 2018 at 4:40 am

What a glorious place

Mollyx

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Usha Sitaaraam May 18, 2018 at 1:07 pm

It’s indeed like a palace, beautiful interiors. They also hold very interesting exhibitions, when I had visited, it had a exhibit about the Civil rights. Thanks for this post, brought back memories of visiting the place. #farawayfiles

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Two by Tour May 19, 2018 at 1:40 pm

What a breathtaking space. We’ve never been! There’s never enough time in DC, so much to do! It’s definitely on our list for next time. We recently were in the New York Public Library, which was awesome, but this is a whole other level. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard!

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Anda May 19, 2018 at 9:32 pm

The Library of Congress is one of the most spectacular buildings that I have ever seen. My husband and I liked it so much that we obtained a library card for it. We visit it every time we go to Washington DC. #TheWeeklyPostcard

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Rhonda Albom May 22, 2018 at 2:58 am

I visited the Library of Congress several years ago and took a tour but did not get the tip of going across the street for lunch at the James Madison Memorial building. The artwork in the building (and the building itself) is incredible. I didn’t know that President John Adams founded the library.

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Clare (suitcases and sandcastles) May 22, 2018 at 5:39 am

Wow, what an amazing library! And that’s a wonderful tip about the café for lunch. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

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Anna May 23, 2018 at 4:42 am

I haven’t been to Washington, D.C. yet, but I wouldn’t miss the Library of Congress for sure! Such an impressive architecture! #FeetDoTravel

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Erin Gustafson | Oregon Girl Around the World May 23, 2018 at 5:51 am

Oh my gosh, I had no idea how stunning this building was. I would not have thought to seek it out when in DC, but I can see I have been mistaken! What a beautiful structure and so full of history. Thank you for sharing with #FarawayFiles

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Shruti Prabhu May 24, 2018 at 1:29 am

Wow! As a bookworm, this is my dream! I would just live here. I feel like Belle from Beauty and the Beast looking at the massive structure holding so many books!

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Angie (FeetDoTravel) May 25, 2018 at 1:06 am

Goodness me, what a building! I have read a few posts recently of magnificent libraries, they don’t just hold books but the building itself has a story to tell. I love this! Pinned! #feetdotravel

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David May 25, 2018 at 1:39 am

Wow, the library of congress looks incredible! With that neo-classical design it really looks like it should belong in Europe somewhere. I could easily spend some time there! #TheWeeklyPostcard

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Travel Lexx May 28, 2018 at 11:47 am

Amazing photos and somewhere I really wanted to check out in DC but just never got around to it. I actually love libraries and usually make a point to visit ones around the world. Definitely somewhere on my list for the next USA visit!

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