October 5, 2011 Main Reading Room Open House on Columbus Day

Press Contact: Deanna McCray-James (202) 707-9322
Public Contact: Visitor Services (202) 707-8000

Twice each year, the Library of Congress opens its magnificent Main Reading Room for a special public viewing open house. The fall open house will take place on the federal Columbus Day holiday, Monday, October 10, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Main Reading Room is located on the first floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street, S.E. Washington, D.C.

Within the Main Reading Room, “Ask-A-Librarian” stations will be available to demonstrate the Library’s online resources and discuss access to the Library’s vast onsite collections, including services and collections for use in family history research. No additional reference services will be available. All other Library of Congress reading rooms and facilities will be closed.

The Thomas Jefferson Building, which features the Great Hall and the exhibitions known as the Library of Congress Experience, will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In addition to the art and architecture of the Great Hall, visitors can see several exhibitions, including "Exploring the Early Americas," a selection of dramatic artifacts that include materials about Christopher Columbus's voyages, which began a centuries-long series of encounters between people of the Americas and Europe. Features of this exhibit include Columbus’s account of his 1492 Voyage, Columbus’s biography written by his son, Columbus’s Book of Privileges, and rare objects and record that reflect this complicated and extraordinary epoch of cultural discovery and exchange.

Unreserved guided tours of the Thomas Jefferson Building will be offered at 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. and at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. Tours begin at the Visitors’ Theater on the ground floor. Public tours, which are limited to 50 people, are designed to accommodate individuals and families. Groups larger than 10 are not permitted to join a public tour, but are welcome to visit for a self-guided tour. More information about the Library or tours is available at the orientation desks at www.loc.gov/visit/ or by calling (202) 707-8000.

The Library of Congress, founded in 1800, is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled integrated resources to Congress and the American people. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at myLOC.gov.


PR 11-188
ISSN 0731-3527