Washington DC Travel & Information Guide
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The Library Of Congress

Library of Congress


With over 100 million items on its shelves, the Library of Congress is one of the world’s largest libraries. Sit in the plush Main Reading Room or see one of the Library’s exhibits. Displayed items include one of three perfect copies of the Gutenberg Bible.

The Jefferson building once contained all of the library’s collection, but as the stacks grew with books, photographs, films, maps, etc., another building was needed. The Adams Building was added in 1939 followed later by the James Madison Building in 1980. Today, the three buildings of the Library of Congress contain over 108 million items. A twelve-minute orientation video is constantly running in The Jefferson Building for those who wish to learn about the history and function of the Library of Congress.

The Jefferson Building, famous for its Italian Renaissance design, now holds part of the Library’s collection of books and along with the Madison Building, hosts some of the library’s changing exhibits. Under the dome of the Jefferson Building, the Main Reading room of the library is a functional research library complete with mahogany desks, (Only members of Congress can check books out), while the Great Hall of the library is decorated with murals, paintings, sweeping marble staircases and colonnades.

The Adams building is only open for research, but the James Madison Building hosts some of the library’s changing exhibits as well as its own permanent collection. Artifacts include one of the world’s three perfect copies of the Gutenberg Bible.

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