Library of Congress, Washington D.C.

Library of Congress, Washington D.C. (must see)

The Library of Congress was established in 1800 by President John Adams. The mission was to provide books that would be needed by Congress to help them perform their duties. Thomas Jefferson reinforced the need for the Library and in 1802 signed a law that helped establish the Library’s structure and allowed the President and Vice-President to borrow books. The Library of Congress was destroyed when the Capitol was burned by British troops in 1814.

President Jefferson offered his personal library to replace the books destroyed by the fire. In 1815, Congress accepted the President’s offer and paid him around $24,000 for his collection of 6,487 books. Unfortunately, another fire in 1851 destroyed around 4,000 of the books that President Jefferson sent to the library along with another 31,000 volumes. The Smithsonian Institution, after some dissent about whether it should be in charge of the Library of Congress, transferred around 40,000 volumes to the Library in 1866.

Finally, serious expansion started, and the Library grew to 840,000 volumes by 1897. It was around this time that a sentiment developed that the Library should be a library for America. Assistance programs were set up to help those with physical disabilities have access to the books. In addition to books, the Library also houses manuscripts, sheet music, maps, sound recordings and films. It is an incredible collection.

Today, the Library of Congress has the largest collection of books and manuscripts in the world. Although it is a library for the people, only members of Congress, other high ranking officials, and Supreme Court Justices can check out books. However, anyone is free to use the books that are housed in three separate buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The libraries are all connected by tunnels, so visitors only need to go through security once.

Why You Should Visit:
A world treasure that has one of the most beautiful building interiors in Washington, D.C. and worldwide!
There are permanent exhibits (first printed book – Gutenberg Bible from 1455) as well as temporary ones at any times.

Tip:
Definitely go online beforehand and register for your reader card; then, when you get there, just show your ID and the world of learning is open to you.
Tours are free and about an hour long. While you can see all the areas on the tour on your own, they are explained nicely by the tour guide.
There is a tunnel that connects the LoC and the US Capitol so you can view both without going outside.
If coming from the Capitol Building, you don't have to pass through the security check again (but if planning on visiting the Capitol Building from here, you will need to go through the security check, even if you came from this building before).

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 8:30am-4:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Washington D.C., USA within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Library of Congress on Map

Sight Name: Library of Congress
Sight Location: Washington D.C., USA
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Washington D.C., USA

Create Your Own Walk in Washington D.C.

Create Your Own Walk in Washington D.C.

Creating your own self-guided walk in Washington D.C. is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Federal Buildings Walking Tour

Federal Buildings Walking Tour

Washington D.C. is a federal district and serves as the permanent national capital. It is is filled with important and memorable places to visit. Most of the nation's monuments and federal buildings can be found in the downtown of the city. The following walking tour will guide you to the most significant federal buildings in Washington D.C.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.3 Km or 3.9 Miles
Gardens and Parks Walking Tour

Gardens and Parks Walking Tour

If you are looking for getaway spots from the hustle and bustle of politics and city life, this walking tour in Washington D.C. offers plenty of opportunities for that. There are many large parks and gorgeous gardens where you can admire beautiful flowers, landscape and even learn various historical facts.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 Km or 2.9 Miles
History Museums Tour

History Museums Tour

Washington D.C. is well-known for its world-class museums. The Smithsonian Institution, the largest museum complex in the world, maintains most of the official museums in Washington, D.C. and the entrance is free of charge. Explore some of the most outstanding ones by taking this walking tour.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.1 Km or 3.8 Miles
Art Galleries and Museums Tour

Art Galleries and Museums Tour

Looking for inspiring and notable art venues? Washington D.C. is well-appreciated for the wide range of art museums and galleries that it offers. Take this self-guided tour and discover the treasures hidden by these art institutions.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.7 Km or 2.9 Miles
Souvenir Shopping

Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave Washington DC without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Washington D.C., that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.3 Km or 3.3 Miles
Georgetown Walking Tour

Georgetown Walking Tour

Georgetown is an area located in the northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C., along the Potomac River waterfront. Despite its proximity to downtown Washington, this former port has preserved its own distinct character. Many of the buildings along the tree-lined streets are over 200 years old. Take this walking tour to reveal all the secrets of Georgetown.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles

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