Friday, August 14, 2015

My Visit to the Library of Congress

I got the chance to visit the Library of Congress, the "world's largest repository of knowledge and creativity." I hope you will enjoy these cool facts about the Library of Congress and tips for visiting this amazing DC attraction.

The library is 120 years old, and houses a little over 160 million books. If you put all the books on one bookshelf, it would reach 850 miles! Every time something is copyrighted, the author has to give two copies to the Library of Congress.

The Library of Congress cost about 6.2 million dollars to build, which is kind of ironic considering there is a map called the Waldseemüller Map, which cost 10 million dollars for them to get in 2003! 

One thing that makes this different from anywhere else is the architecture. There are pillars all over the place with carved marble, as seen in the picture on the right. Carvings and paintings are all over the place, and they all have different themes.

On the wall leading up to the balcony overlooking the main reading room, there is a mosaic of Minerva, the Roman Goddess of learning and wisdom. Every single little thing in it has some symbolism. (See picture to the left.) Every touch of detail in this building is amazing, and it all is nothing like I have ever seen before.

Thomas Jefferson's original library
One of the exhibits I got to see was a collection of Thomas Jefferson's original library. After the original library the Congress used was burned down by British troops in 1814, he offered to sell his private one to replace what was lost. Thomas Jefferson had 6,487 books, and he sold them for $23,950, which is about $4 per book. Some of the books there included The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England from the year 1720, and The History of Chess from 1764.

There is also an hour long tour with a guide that tells you a lot of really cool information, and I think it is way better than wandering on your own. If you are hungry, there is a cafeteria with a large selection of food at the top floor of the Madison building. You can get there through a tunnel connecting the buildings, and on the way there is also a Subway and a Dunkin' Donuts. If you want to do research at the Library of Congress, you need to be at least 16-years-old.

I really think that going to the Library of Congress is a really cool experience, and I had fun! I definitely recommend that kids, teenagers, and adults visit the Library of Congress.

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