Experiencing our nation through its environments, animals, people and history.

Galatians 5:1

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Daddy Day!

Many of you know that S loves books. So, what a better place for a book loving child than the largest library in America!! Good logic right?? On my day with S we decided to go check out the Library of Congress (LOC)! We expected racks and racks and racks and racks..... of books. Little did we know! We only got to see a few books to S's chagrin! We learned a lot, however!

BTW, you'll have to forgive the layout issues. The blogger host person/machine/server whatever you call it, thingmajig ain't working the same now. Normally when we put pictures on the blog, we see the pix and can move them around and stuff. Now, instead of seeing pictures all we get is the "code". It looks like this:

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STRANGE! Also, no way to change the font color. Sorry it's boring black. Maybe some of you are thankful for that.

Anyway, The three pix you see are S on the steps leading to the Library of Congress, her waiting in line, and S inside. I didn't take many photos but it was HUGE and very ornate. It had a dome much like the US Capital building but the ground floor at the bottom of the dome was a beautiful work room for all the Senators and members of Congress.

What we learned upon arrival was that the LOC is a "reference library". Don't know wht a reference library is?? Any last second paper writers in college? If so, you probably had the experience of being in the Library working furiously on a paper, due the next day, using a book that was indispensable. Then the librarian comes and says in a real nasaly voice... "we're closing now, you'll have to check out your books and leave". So you pack up, take that indispensible book to the Librarian and she says "I'm sorry, but that is a reference book, you'll have to leave it here". Of course, it never happened to me but I've heard that it happens. I wonder if it ever happened to a President or Congressman??

All that to say, the LOC is a "reference library". You can't check out books. Also, to even get to see books, you have to be a "registered guest". There was only one little room that had some rare books that were all enclosed in glass cases that the unfortunate "unregistered guests" could see. They also had the Gutenberg Bible on display. Other than the amazing architecture, the Gutenberg Bible was probably the highlight. The Gutenberg Bible signaled the modern day of books. It was the first large book to be printed with a printing press.

One quick story about the LOC. Have you ever heard someone say "I can't live without my books". If so, that person was quoting Thomas Jefferson. Funny how we keep hearing certain people's names as we visit different places??? As President in the early 1800's Jefferson was a huge proponent of getting the Library started. He signed a bill appropriating funds to begin it, and a law was passed that the government would give a certain amount of money to it each year. At first, the Library was housed in the Capitol building. But then those stinky Brits came and burned our Capital down. That wasn't very nice of them (although I heard a rumor that it was retaliation for a similar stinky act the Americans pulled).

Jefferson had since retired when the Capitol was burned and had moved to his home in Monticello. Jefferson offered to sell his collection of books to the LOC. A great deal... They had money, he had books! Every one's happy right?? According to legend however, Jefferson was not all too pleased to have his books gone (you guessed it) he uttered the now infamous words "I can't live without my books". So, the Government got a starter set of books and the library grew from there. It grew so much that they had to build a new building. Now there are actually three buildings. Next summer they will have a room that showcases the entire Jefferson collection (probably only open to "registered guests" however).

Check out this fact... The LOC has approximately 100 million items!!! They even have a Bob Hope museum with his complete joke collection. I read some of them to S and she didn't quite get them. Cutie!

Want more? Check this page out: http://www.loc.gov/loc/legacy/loc.html

By the way, that's Rocky with S in all the pictures. He is our constant companion when we go to see the sites!

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