Curbed named the Library of Congress one of the 20 most beautiful libraries in the United States. Anyone who has the pleasure of visiting this historic site knows this title is well-deserved!
This week, Curbed updated their list of the 20 Most Beautiful Libraries in the United States and featured the Library of Congress right here in Washington, D.C. This should not be surprising to local residents as the library has been an architectural and historic staple of the area since it was founded in 1800. The library began in 1800 inside the U.S. Capitol building but was burned down by British troops in 1814. After the fire, the iconic building we know today was built.
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The Library of Congress is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States and the largest library in the world. The Library of Congress offers more than 167 million resources such as books, recordings, photographs, newspapers, maps, and manuscripts, with over 838 miles of bookshelves.
While many people think of the iconic Thomas Jefferson Building when they think of the Library of Congress, the library actually spans three buildings, including the John Adams Building and the James Madison Memorial Building.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="581"] Courtesy of Brianna Grant[/caption]
Many visitors spend their time at the Thomas Jefferson Building, and it's not surprising why! This beautiful building features a large Roman-style fountain right in front of its steps. If visitors did not turn around and see the Capitol building, they might think they're in Italy for a moment! Once you walk inside the building, you're encased by marble columns and colorful paintings along the walls and ceiling. Anyone visiting the Library of Congress cannot leave without stopping by the domed Reading Room where visitors can take the books to read and conduct research.
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Curbed stated, "No round up of the most stunning libraries in the United States would be complete without the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.”
And we certainly agree! Other libraries on the list include the Seattle Central Library, Boston Central Library, and New York Public Library.
If you want to visit another library on the list, head over to Baltimore to see the George Peabody Library. This open air atrium-styled library was built in 1878 and can still be visited today!
Want to see the Library of Congress firsthand? Visit the library Monday–Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., or Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for a free guided tour. The library can be found at Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street SE, Washington, D.C., 20540. The Library of Congress hosts exhibits throughout its building and fun events such as its current nine-month concert series
Do you love visiting the Library of Congress? Want to go back and visit it again? Tell us your favorite part about it in the comments below!