The Library of Congress is the research library that officially serves the United States Congress, but which is the de facto national library of the United States. It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. The Library is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The library is the second-largest library in the world by collection size.

The Library of Congress moved to Washington in 1800, after sitting for eleven years in the temporary national capitals of New York and Philadelphia. The small Congressional Library was housed in the United States Capitol for most of the 19th century until the early 1890s. Most of the original collection had been destroyed by the British in 1814 during the War of 1812. To restore its collection in 1815, the library bought from former president Thomas Jefferson his entire personal collection of 6,487 books.

After a period of slow growth, another fire struck the Library in its Capitol chambers in 1851, again destroying a large amount of the collection, including many of Jefferson's books. The Library of Congress then began to grow rapidly in both size and importance after the American Civil War and a campaign to purchase replacement copies for volumes that had been burned from other sources, collections and libraries (which had started to appear throughout the burgeoning United States). The Library received the right of transference of all copyrighted works to have two copies deposited of books, maps, illustrations and diagrams printed in the United States. It also began to build its collections of British and other European works and then of works published throughout the English-speaking world.

This development culminated in the construction between 1888 and 1894 of a separate, extensive library building across the street from the Capitol, in the Beaux Arts style with fine decorations, murals, paintings, marble halls, columns and steps, carved hardwoods and a stained glass dome. It included several stories built underground of steel and cast iron stacks.

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Founded: 1800
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www.loc.gov
en.wikipedia.org

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User Reviews

Jared Halphin (15 days ago)
WOW! Just stunning. I do not think there are words to describe it. The architecture is absolutely amazing! I was geeking out about the architecture and history of this place. So fascinating and so much history here. Just...WOW! Definitely come here if you are in the DC area!
Carlos Pinto (4 months ago)
I don’t even have words to describe this place. It is AMAZING. You can go by yourself or take the guided tour. I’m definitely going back to actual read and live the experience. God Bless America
Mindy Gallina (4 months ago)
If you haven’t been, you need to go. The building itself sends you back to time when European architecture, the arts, and education held sway over science and technology. It’s beautiful to see and makes you want to be back in college so you can just sit inside the reading room for a moment. The movie National Treasure put this landmark on the map again, and it doesn’t disappoint. Even the bathrooms are pretty! To see Thomas Jefferson’s library up close is definitely a highlight of my visit to DC.
penguin rick (4 months ago)
This building is beyond verbal description... imagine you wanted to build a public building that would rival royal palaces around the world. That's this building. Go there. See it. Walk through it. I could spend months studying the relief carvings, alone. If you like architecture, beauty, art, extravagance, elegance, and/or history, please go.
Pither Temoteo (5 months ago)
That's so beautiful building to visit. It is an amazing place to see, especially because the building is really amazing. So many details you can see on the wall and selling. Also there are some exhibition about maps and culture. You can also see the very first impressed bible. It is supposed to be a fast tour.
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