Library of Congress

Library of Congress


The Thomas Jefferson building tour is the best place to start for the Library of Congress.  At the entrance and exit of the library there are x-ray machines and metal detectors.  Bags may also be opened for inspection.

A free one hour walking tour is available late morning to early afternoon at the Thomas Jefferson Building. Reservations are not required and are mostly for individuals, families and groups 10 people or less. Special family tours may be available during peak seasons depending on availability of tour guides and other families. Visitors should stop by the Ground Floor Information Desk for availability.  Group tours must be scheduled in advance.

Depending on time, a self-guided tour can be the best way to see the highlights of the library.  If you only have a short amount of time, visit the Great Hall, Gutenberg and Mainz Bibles, Main Reading Room Overlook and one of the exhibitions.  If you have about an hour, consider a guided tour and a trip to the library shop.  If you have more than an hour, explore all of the above plus the various galleries.  You should also consider attending a concert, lecture or poetry reading.  The library’s event page and Information Desk are good places to  learn about upcoming events.

The Great Hall contains elaborate architecture, decorated with paintings and sculptures from American artists.  The Main Reading Room Overlook provides a panoramic view of the research area.  An ornate clock created by John Flanagan, bronze statues, large marble columns and a painting on the dome’s ceiling makes this overlook unique.

While the Thomas Jefferson Building has no dining facilities, the James Madison Memorial Building and John Adams building have snack bars and vending machines.

The Library of Congress Shop is located on the ground floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building.  It contains books, exhibit-related souvenirs, clothing, stationery, photographs and more.

Union Station is the closest train station and the closest Metro stop is Capitol South.  Parking is available by meter on the street or at Union Station for cars.  Public transportation by Metro is recommended as it’s just a two block walk from the stop.

Photographs may not be taken in the Bibles Corridor, Main Reading Room Overlook and exhibitions with original collections.

Thomas Jefferson Building
10 First Street, SE
Washington, DC 20540
James Madison Memorial Building
101 Independence Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20540

John Adams Building
Second Street SE, between Independence Avenue and East Capitol Streets

Date posted: 11th September, 2014

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