September 1, 2011 Main Reading Room Holds 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 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, DC. The Main Reading Room will be open for viewing only. No reference services will be available and all other Library of Congress reading rooms and facilities will be closed.

The Thomas Jefferson Building, which features the Great Hall and the Library of Congress Experience exhibitions will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition to the art and architecture of the Great Hall, it features three exhibitions, including "Exploring the Early Americas," a selection of dramatic artifacts that reflect the peoples of Central and North America before and during their contact with Columbus and expand our understanding of the inhabitants 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 Columbus’s Legacy.

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, not large groups. More information about the Library or tours is available at the orientation desks at 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 and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at


PR 11-A05
ISSN 0731-3527