Congress' Library lotsa Books
Trip Start Jul 08, 2011
24Trip End May 26, 2012
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Where I stayed
400 15th Street South Crystal City
The main building, which is directly across the street from the Capitol is the Jefferson building, After the original LOC was burned by the invading British, the Library of was rebuilt and Thomas Jefferson donated his personal library of ~6500 books to restart this national treasure. The true blossoming of the LOC was during the stewardship of Mr. Spofford, the Librarian from 1864 to 1897, the Library was built into the "national institution" it is today. This is via the copyright law that required two copies of every book published in America, to be provided to the LOC, without charge. What a scam! But through that a wonderful Library was developed and has been maintained.
And this library doesn't just have books, copies of photographs, recordings, both film, and audio, from all the media of the last two hundred years, from phonographs players, 8 track recorders, super 8 millimeter projectors, Beta tapes to the last DVD technology. You can imagine the logistical nightmare in maintaining all the appropriate playback devices.
The Library has outgrown its original building and several additional buildings have been added to the LOC. The LOC is the primary facility for all the research requirements of the members of Congress.
The current Jefferson building is build and designed in the Italian Renaissance style and is artful done inside with a number of paintings, and sculptures. It is very ornate in the interior. And unlike most government building projects it was completed on time and under budget.
On public display is a copy of Gutenberg Bible, the first time the Bible was print with movable type rather than handwritten, and across the room is a copy of the Giant Bible of Mainz. The Mainz document is handwritten as it precedes the Gutenberg Bible by 50-60 years. The Gutenberg Bible is one of only three perfect vellum copies in existence. Just seeing these two bibles makes the trip worthwhile.
Take the tour, as the LOC becomes alive with the details provided by the Guide. Spend a couple of hours and enjoy the artwork. I tried to provide a sense of the artwork through these pictures, but a personal visit is what the doctor orders. You will enjoy the experience.