Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Library of Congress

Still in D.C. Yesterday, I headed to the Library of Congress. I’ve been to D.C. several times, but have never gotten around to the Library of Congress, so I was excited to have the day to myself to wander.

The Metro was a short walk, four or five blocks, from the Mandarin Oriental, then it was only three stops to the station closest to the Library, then another short walk to the doors. First, I took a guided tour of the Jefferson building. A great way to get oriented and to learn things you couldn’t find on your own, such as a lot of information about the architecture and history.

I’ll insert here that it’s still cold in D.C. – I wore a shirt, a jacket, and a coat with gloves and needed every layer. But because of the cold or that it is after Spring break, there weren’t huge crowds. I had no trouble getting close to the Guttenberg Bible or any of the other interesting items on display. There’s lots to see, from the first map to label the U.S. “America,” to some of the earliest photographs and recordings. My favorites, of course, were early books, manuscripts hand-written by authors, and works by authors we all know of and have read.

The research room was gorgeous -- a huge quiet room for those over 18 who need to do research. And all the glorious floor-to-ceiling wood book shelves filled with enticing books. Not to mention all the statues and murals and … everything. It was enough to make you want to throw out a sleeping blanket and stay all night.

Every time you write a manuscript or publish a book and send in two copies to be copyrighted – this is where it goes. Oh, the books!

After I left the Library, I walked through the neighborhood for a while. Found a market where I bought a couple of bananas, some grapes, soy crisps and a diet Dr. Pepper – my breakfast, lunch and dinner. On the way back to the Metro, I stopped at a Starbucks to get dessert – a non-fat soy Chai.

Great day.

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