Since Dec. 11, Library visitors have been treated to a series of innovative features that seamlessly integrate the onsite experience in the Thomas Jefferson Building with the Library’s online experience, all part of the new “Library of Congress Experience,” which launched this past spring (see Information Bulletin, May 2008).
As they enter the building, visitors receive a “Passport to Knowledge” that enable them to personalize their visits while exploring the Library’s collections, educational content and related materials onsite and, later, online.
Each passport bears a unique barcode that connects to personalized accounts on the Library’s interactive companion site, myLOC.gov, which is also being revamped and enhanced. As visitors physically and virtually navigate through the Library’s most treasured collections, they are able to build their own collections of items of interest at myLOC interactive kiosks located throughout the Thomas Jefferson Building. Upon returning home or to the classroom, visitors can access their customized collections on myLOC.gov and continue exploring the Library’s vast resources online.
“The Library of Congress is a vast educational resource for Congress and the public,” said James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress. “These new interactive features will bring to life much of the incredible knowledge stored here—in engaging and stimulating ways—for people of all ages.”
Beyond building personalized collections, the Passport to Knowledge invites visitors to participate in Knowledge Quest, an educational adventure that lets players investigate unique artifacts from the Library’s buildings and exhibitions. After visiting the Library, visitors can continue using Knowledge Quest online at myLOC.gov.
Since launching the “Library of Congress Experience” in April 2008, the Library has seen an overall 25 percent increase in visitors to the Thomas Jefferson Building. This increase is expected to continue with the debut of the Capitol Visitor Center on Dec. 2 and the opening of new underground passageway that same day, which directly connects the U.S. Capitol to the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building.
With the opening of the Capitol Visitor Center, the Library has extended the Thomas Jefferson Building’s regular public hours, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Beginning on Presidents Day 2009, the Library will open the Thomas Jefferson Building’s Great Hall and exhibition space to visitors on all federal holidays except Christmas and Thanksgiving, which in total represents more than an additional 400 hours open to the public each year. Reading room hours for researchers will remain unchanged.