Monday, November 7, 2011

The Library of Congress

Recently I had the opportunity to visit Washington D.C. with my family and our unanimous favorite place in all of D.C. turned out to be The Library of Congress.  I highly recommend you visit this library, it is definitely awe-inspiring and beautiful.  In fact it makes me want to be elected to Congress just so I could use the library and spend time in the Reading Room whenever I wanted. 

When Washington burned in 1814, many of the books in the library were destroyed.  Jefferson gave Congress his collection of books that numbered about 6000 volumes for whatever price they deemed appropriate.  In 1851 the library again caught on fire and some of Jefferson's library was destroyed.  The library is currently displaying Jefferson's library and they are in the process of restoring his collection.  It is amazing to see and you are not allowed to take pictures!  In 1815, Thomas Jefferson said to John Adams, "I cannot live without books."  And neither can I.  I wonder what Jefferson would think about electronic books.

 There are many beautiful quotes that align the ceiling of the second floor.  My family and I walked the perimeter and read every quote in the building.  Here are some of them.

"Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers."
"The true university these days is a collection of books."
"Give instruction unto those who cannot procure it for themselves."
"The inquiry, knowledge and belief of truth is the sovereign good of human nature."
"Wisdom is the principal thing therefore get wisdom and with all thy getting get understanding."
 The Reading room is stunning and only people doing research and members of Congress are allowed access to it.  There is a viewing room where you can look down upon the room and take pictures.  It was closed because of a tour but I couldn't miss the opportunity to see the reading room and so, we joined the tour.  There are 24 statues that represent Knowledge and its heroes.  SO, so beautiful. 

The Library also houses two very famous Bibles that are on display for visitors to see.  One is the Gutenberg Bible, one of the first to come off the printing press and the other Bible, The Mainz Bible, is hand written and predates the Gutenberg by about 100 years.  Both are beautiful books.

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