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Library of Congress, Washington DC

(4.6/5 based on 6,500+ reviews on the web)
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. For travelers who use our world travel planner, Washington DC holidays become easier to arrange, with trips to the Library of Congress and other attractions mapped out and timetabled.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Work of a grandeur. Exposes the story of all of us, in collection, and information architecture. Rich and complete.
    View original
  • The Library of Congress is one of the greatest institutions in Washington, D.C., a place that impacts people across the country. Before coming here for the first time, I didn't realize there were so m...  more »
  • If you are a US citizen you can get a library card. You apply on line and the day of your visit ,you can have a library card which is good for 2 years. You can look at old books in the reading room . ...  more »
Google
  • Simply the most beautiful place we visited in Washington DC. We got a tour, the best you can do, so you don't miss anything. Every paint, every phrase have an explanation. We got a library card to enter the main reading room. It was fascinating! Excellent place from construcción to history. They always have different galleries . We saw the Jefferson library, a wonderful collection of books. The maps of America was very interesting. This is a most visit place on Washington DC. Beautiful!
  • An amazingly impressive building. Self guided tours are easy and very informative. The art and architecture are absolutely beautiful. The Jefferson library is incredibly neat and worth spending some time examining.
  • The Jefferson building of the LOC is one of DC's underappreciated (by tourists) gems. It's gorgeously stunning on the inside and well worth a visit. Like all government institutions, it has the added benefit of being free. Take one of the tours. Shhhh.
  • Amazing architecture. The tours guide had said that when the British burned the original library during the war of 1812 in an "unprovoked attacked", it is said they started burning the "oldest and most priceless books". Really??!! I almost burst out laughing. How absurd! I explained to my kids later that this was not an unprovoked attack, but rather retribution for their attack on York in Canada. Also, I don't think they were that particular about which books caught fire first. Regardless of the historical spin doctoring, it's still a site worth seeing.
  • Beautiful building - a must visit for anyone interested in literature! Great exhibits on maps & pre-Columbian American as well.