Library of Congress, Washington DC

With nearly 7,000 books added to its collection every day, Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, established in 1800 to prove to the world that the United States was a cultured country. The library's nearly 850 km (530 mi) of shelves hold 32 million books and 61 million manuscripts. Boasting the largest rare book collection in North America, the library also houses one of only three remaining vellum copies of the famous Gutenberg Bible. Dedicated to organizing information from the past three centuries, this institution preserves approximately 1 million newspaper issues, 500,000 microfilm reels, 5 million maps, 3 million sound recordings, and nearly 15 million prints and photographic images. Start your quest for knowledge at the visitor center, where you can arrange for a guided tour of the reading rooms. Arrange to visit Library of Congress and other attractions in Washington DC using our Washington DC holiday planner .
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Library of Congress Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
7,705 reviews
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4.7
TripAdvisor
  • You can walk straight to the library through an underground tunnel from congress and appear right in its heart. The main reading hall is very beautiful as is the internal and external architecture, la...  more »
  • This building, inside and out, was beautiful. They had on display Jefferson’s book collection, the Gutenberg bible, and you can overlook the actual library. There is a guided tour you can do or you ca...  more »
  • The exhibits were neat and very well thought out. The building itself is gorgeous, if not a little (okay a LOT) opulent. We didn’t do the docent-led tour but I wish we had. Bring your camera or sketch...  more »
Google
  • What a phenomenal place. The main lobby is stunning and you can spend a while just staring upwards. I recommend taking the tours that are offered several times daily. They’ll take you to places that are available to people just walking around, but you’ll get a lot of background info that’s useful. Be sure to see the Gutenberg Bible, the first map with the word America on it, and get your library card to access the main reading room!
  • I had been to DC to visit a few times prior to this visit but had never visited the Library of Congress. I wish I had visited years ago. This is an amazing building with some spectacular exhibits. The architecture is just absolutely unique and gorgeous. If you have kids or teens make sure to venture into the basement to the kids nook. We spent an hour or so sitting in the comfy beanbag filled reading rooms here sampling some books. It was an amazingly comfy stop in a rather hectic day and the staff was very helpful and nice.
  • Such a huge grand library that is so old!. Free entry. You can take pictures. Very very very old books. They have the copy of first book ever printed on the earth!. Great honor to many writers around the world by scribing their name on the wall. Except that I didn't find any ASEAN writers name.
  • The Library of Congress is a wonder! *Whistle!* It is an art gallery, museum, research center, and a fascinating library that has over 61 million manuscripts, 32 million cataloged books, the USA's largest rare book collection, and items in well over 470 languages. It even features a reading lounge just for children on the lower level. There is not enough time in one day to thoroughly explore all this national landmark has to offer, but it sure is fun trying!
  • A great place within DC! The tour, in my opinion, is drawn-out and boring, but to each their own (it just had too much information that wasn't pertinent to what I was expecting to get out of the Library). Here's what I recommend: speak with a guard or desk-worker about getting a library card. They're 100% free, and you're allowed to tour the entirety of the library (the tour only lets you see the main reading room from a high balcony, having a library card lets you walk on the floor). Walking around with the card is a million times better than the tour. However, do take the time to visit the exhibits, seeing the first map that has "America" and Jefferson's library is truly extraordinary. Overall, I highly recommend visiting the LOC!

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