Libraries Round the World: The Library of Congress

Tourists to the world’s largest library (164+ million items), located in Washington D.C., must view the main reading room from a second-floor glass partitioned overlook. Not bad, but to experience the reading room firsthand apply for a free library card. You can request books online and review them while in the library (if in the stacks and not offsite). But even with a card, you can’t check them out.

The Grand Reading Room:

I spent Monday researching my genealogy and combing through books especially the long-awaited, impossible to borrow, book to update my family tree with Pocahontas. No big change, she is still a cousin’s wife’s 9thgreat-grandmother. You too can research your genealogy or whatever topic you want.

The library was created in 1800 but was burned by British troops in 1814. President Jefferson sold his personal library of over six thousand books in 1815 to replenish the shelves. The current library’s opulent Italian renaissance style building dates from 1897. A library, particularly back then, wasn’t merely a collection of books, it would have been the main source of affordable entertainment.

The Hard-to-Beat Grand Hall (even in Europe):

Besides the main reading room, there are many others scattered throughout the building along with mosaics, murals, and artwork. Even if you can only stop by for ten minutes, the impressive Great Hall, resembling an American castle, won’t disappoint. Frequent tours and special exhibits are available. On your way out, stop in the large basement gift shop for a souvenir from this spectacular American library.

A popular book, especially in D.C., will likely be THE PRESIDENT IS MISSING. Former President Bill Clinton penned this new thriller under the experienced hand of thriller master, James Patterson. The novel is in their online catalog but not yet available. And the current president may have first dibs! The book may be preordered and bought via Amazon for delivery when released in June.

What’s that you said?  Tired of politics? I hear you! I can promise you my novel AQUAVIT is in the free zone. But the Clinton-Patterson combo does sound fascinating!

Karen Stensgaard is the author of the novel AQUAVIT, the first book in the Aquamarine Sea Series with a second novel underway. AQUAVIT is available as a paperback from Amazon and Ingram Spark or as an e-book from almost everyone else. Libraries have free access via Overdrive.  Link to free chapters on Amazon


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