Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
The focus of this immense library - the greatest accumulation of informa-
tion and images in the world - is the magnificent Jefferson Building. Its
main reading room is one of the most captivating spaces in the city. Collec-
tions encompass many subjects - the law library is especially notable, as are
materials and books relating to Africa, the Middle East, and the rest of the
world. In addition there are collections of comic books, jazz recordings and
memorabilia, photography, films, and television broadcasts. The Adams and
Madison buildings are more recent additions. 1st St, SE, between
Independence Ave and E Capitol St • 202 707 8000 • • Open
8:30am-4:30pm Mon-Sat; James Madison Building: 8:30am-9:30pm
Mon-Fri, to 5pm Sat; John Adams Building: 8:30am-9:30pm Mon, Wed
& Thu; 8:30am-5pm Tue, Fri & Sat • Dis. access • Free • For advance con-
cert tickets phone 800 551 7328 or visit
Google Map
Congress authorized the construction of a new library building in the style of the
Italian Renaissance in 1886. Its plan reflects that of the Capitol - two wings with a
central dome. The portico contains busts of nine “great men of literature” from De-
mosthenes to Washington Irving.
In this splendid room the civilized arts are represented by allegorical figures atop its
eight giant columns: Religion, History, Commerce, Art, Philosophy, Poetry, Law, and
The ceiling, resplendent with stained-glass skylights, soars 75 ft (20 m) above the
beautiful marble floor. Ceremonial staircases at either end of the hall are elaborately
carved with scenes of cherubs engaged in making music, catching butterflies, and us-
ing the newly invented telephone.
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