April 5, 2018 Book Talk, Special Tour Highlight Library Week Celebration

Historic Tour Relives the Library Experience of 1897

Press Contact: Sheryl Cannady (202) 707-6456
Request ADA accommodations five business days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or [email protected]

The Library of Congress will celebrate National Library Week (April 8-14) with a special evening event at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 12, featuring a book talk by Kenneth Breisch, the author of “American Libraries 1730-1950,” followed by an extremely rare opportunity to walk around the gallery level on the third floor of the majestic Main Reading Room and enjoy its architectural wonder as never before.   

Breisch’s talk will take place in the Northeast Pavilion on the second floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St., S.E., Washington, D.C.  The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required and there may be special restrictions. For more information and to secure tickets, visit this event ticketing site: www.eventbrite.com/e/book-talk-special-tour-highlight-library-week-celebration-tickets-44803212615. Signed copies of Breisch’s book will be available for sale.

Published by W.W. Norton & Company in association with the Library (2017), “American Libraries” celebrates the history of library architecture in America, from ultra-modern buildings to classical temples of knowledge such as the Library’s Jefferson Building, considered one of the most beautiful buildings in the United States. Featuring more than 500 images from the Library’s unparalleled collections, the book illustrates the beauty and diversity of the nation’s libraries, offering a revealing look at the way books have been collected, displayed and disseminated throughout the nation’s history.

In his book, Breisch examines the earliest origins in the private collections of the wealthy through the proliferation of scholarly and civic institutions in the 19th and 20th centuries.  He also charts the evolution of the design and planning of these institutions. 

Breisch is an associate professor at the School of Architecture at the University of Southern California and former director and founder of USC’s graduate program in heritage conservation.  He holds a doctorate in art history from the University of Michigan and is a past president of the Society of Architectural Historians. 

“Libraries are at the heart of many different communities, from town centers and college campuses to shopping malls,” said Helena Zinkham, director for Collections and Services and chief of the Prints and Photographs Division. “The new book ‘American Libraries’ takes you on an enlightening tour of the interior spaces as well as the public facades of large and small libraries throughout the United States.”

In celebration of National Library Week, Ford Peatross—founding director, now retired, of the Library’s Center for Architecture, Design and Engineering—will lead a special tour of the Great Hall and Main Reading Room following the book talk. Instead of glimpsing the Main Reading Room from behind glass from the Great Hall overlook, attendees will have the unique opportunity to experience the splendor of the room as originally intended when it was opened in 1897, nearly walking the entire circumference of the room from the third level.  Space is limited, and only guests registered for the program can participate. 

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United Statesand extensive materials from around the worldboth on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.  Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.


PR 18-040
ISSN 0731-3527