During my last visit to D.C. to give a lecture at the Museum of the Bible, Ann and I went to the Library of Congress, which she had never seen before, but I had been there once. It resides up on the hill directly behind the Capitol building (see above). It requires timed tickets to get in, but the entrance is free and it is well worth the visit. One needs a separate ticket to get into the downstairs reading room, which I did before to see whether or not they had some of my books. They indeed did. But this time we would visit upstairs in the gallery overlooking the reading room, and the special exhibits room on the main floor. The Library was originally built in the summer of 1800 as a resource for Congress and Presidents. Today it serves the whole country, though it is not really a lending library. Like many old European libraries you have to go there and do the research on the site, but increasingly its resources are being digitized.
The architecture of the Library building on the outside is not impressive like the capitol building but the inside is a different story.
In one alcove they have an original Gutenberg Bible, and here it is (above). In the next post we will look at some volumes from Jefferson’s personal library now housed in the Library of Congress.