Friday, June 20, 2008

The Library of Congress

Over the Summer, I have planned field trips for the kids. Since they have only lived in Northern Virginia for 10 months, they have not yet had the opportunity to visit many of the sites. They are excited to experience the history of this area and "play tourist."

Today was the first of our field trips: The Library of Congress.

Facts about the Library of Congress--
1. The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world.
2. The Library is the oldest federal cultural institution in the Nation.
3. It is housed in 3 buildings. The Thomas Jefferson Building (which we toured today) has 13 stories of shelved books below ground.
4. There is over 600 miles of shelving for storing items.
5. The Library has more than 128 Million items including: maps, manuscripts, photographs, films, audio and video recordings, prints and drawings, musical scores, digital materials, etc. Of these, there are over 28 million cataloged books and there are items in 460 languages.
6. The library, established in 1800, is 208 years old.
7. Interestingly, it is the only library of it's kind that allows for same-day "Reading Card" registration and materials access. Comparable libraries in Europe have waiting lists for "Reading Cards" that are 5-7 months long.
8. The Library has possession of one of 4 known "perfect-vellum" 42-line Gutenberg Bibles left in the world.
9. The library holds in it's Bob Hope Gallery, the late comedian's 85,000 page "Joke File."

In Summary, one visit to the Library of Congress is not enough, the 45 minute tour and accompanying video are invaluable, the architecture is AMAZING, and the kids enjoyed themselves, as did I. The Library is a wonderful representation of the United States, Democracy, and an open door for Learning.

Enjoy the pictures!!

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