Tunneling to the Library

The Library of Congress

After we visited the Capitol, we took the tunnel over to the Thomas Jefferson Building which houses the Library of Congress for a jaw-dropping visual feast, including a Gutenberg bible and over-the-top marble, granite, iron and bronze interior based on the Paris Opera House. The elaborately decorated Great Hall contains works of art from nearly 50 American painters and sculptors.

Library of Congress

101 Independence Avenue Southeast
Washington, DC 20559
(540) 827-1079

Founded in 1800, the collection of more than 144 million items includes more than 33 million cataloged books and other print materials in 460 languages; more than 63 million manuscripts; the largest rare book collection in North America; and the world’s largest collection of legal materials, films, maps, sheet music and sound recordings.

Regardless of whether they register their copyright, all publishers are required to submit two complete copies of their published works to the Library—this requirement is known as mandatory deposit. Nearly 22,000 new items published in the U.S. arrive every business day at the Library. Contrary to popular belief, however, the Library does not retain all of these works in its permanent collection, although it does add an average of 10,000 items per day. Rejected items are used in trades with other libraries around the world, distributed to federal agencies, or donated to schools, communities, and other organizations within the United States.