September 12, 2013 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 open house. The fall open house will take place on the federal Columbus Day holiday, Monday, Oct. 14, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Photography will be allowed.

The Main Reading Room is located on the first floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St., S.E., Washington, D.C. Reference librarians 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 other reference services will be available and all other Library of Congress reading rooms and buildings will be closed.

The Jefferson Building, which will be open to the public between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., also features the incomparable Great Hall and the Library of Congress exhibitions.

Among current exhibitions in the Jefferson building are “The Civil War in America” and “A Day Like No Other: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington.”

Housed in the Southwest Gallery on the second floor through January 4, 2014, “The Civil War in America” exhibit presents the Library’s unmatched Civil War collections. Items shown chronicle the sacrifices and accomplishments of those - in both the North and South - whose lives were lost or affected by the events of 1861–1865.

“A Day Like No Other,” which can be viewed in the Graphic Arts Gallery on the ground floor, transports visitors to the momentous day of the March on Washington—a day that transformed our nation—when 250,000 people participated in the largest nonviolent demonstration for civil rights that Americans had ever witnessed. The exhibit consists of 40 black-and-white images, part of the collections in the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division, which convey the immediacy of being at the march and the palpable excitement of those who were there.

Unreserved guided tours of the Thomas Jefferson Building will be offered at 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. and at 12:30, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. Each tour is limited to 40 people and designed to accommodate individuals and families, not large groups. More information about the Library, the exhibitions and tours is available at the orientation desks at or by calling (202) 707-8000.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. 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


PR 13-160
ISSN 0731-3527