Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Pouring Love on The Library of Congress

by Jan Godown Annino

If you bump into a live body in the popular halls of The Library of Congress,
the person will be friendly about it.

In these days of instant gratification, who will traipse through marbled halls dedicated to
words, but the patient folks? The folklife study folks, the African literature
study folks, the children’s literature folks

The Library of Congress (LOC) buildings (I know of three) are populated with devoted staffers, readers, writers & researchers. A genial group, when it comes
to excusing bumpers.

Here is my idiosyncratic #LOC mini-tour, following our family vacation to Washington, D.C.


ART in the HALLS

The Library of Congress is an art gallery.
 Murals of tropical birds & other works, such as this macaw I snapped, by poet/artist Edward Lear,
from valuable books in the the LOC’s collections, caught my eye. They were backdrop in a
room that features tons of maps dear to my own piece of real estate. Which is up next.

 I turned a corner and found that my part of the world is
on carefully-curated display in the # Jay and Jean Kislak ongoing exhibit,

I could have dwelled with these artifacts, with rare maps 
& their explanations much longer. But there were other cases to see. I took many fuzzy photos because you're not using flash, but this one turned out. All of the southeast U.S. was once considered Florida.

The term takes on a new meaning at the Library
of Congress. Such as - the codex books created in the area
we know as Mexico, made before the Spanish Conquest period.

This room is a work-in-progress, as the LOC endeavors to recreate the
personal library of Thomas Jefferson. It is a thrill to walk into this circle
of books. 

Even when closed, some volume’s pages, looked at
en toto, were a work of design art. Because it’s exactly 200 years since
Jefferson’s personal library helped rebuild our burned national collection
this is a special time to visit.

Who knew the Disney cartoon version of Snow White
derived in great detail from a Swedish-born artist’s interpretation of the
classic folk tale? Not I. Learn much more about the illustrator,
Gustaf Tenggren. On display beautifully in the Swann Gallery.

This long horizontal GUSTAF TENGGREN panel is courtesy of the Art Wood Collection of Caricature and Cartoons.

Thanks to the Herblock Foundation, we can ponder various
political cartoonists’ decades of work.

The very one.
When you see the movie, All the President’s Men, you will
recognize this iconic view. 

On this trip I didn’t exercise the right I have to enter the vaulted space.  But I will, I will. I walked through it years before with heart aflutter. This was our view, after climbing extra steps into an airtight windowed balcony that overlooks the research desks and arched book rooms.
To enter the iconic space, obtain your LOC Reader card.  - my official Library of Congress Reader ID begins #ROO like the 2nd part of kanga. Luv it.

Look at how easy it is to become a LOC reader

There are no checkoutable books at the LOC.
Everything in the collection stays. You study it there.
But you can check out innumerable bookish swag at The Library Shop.

I bought an outrageous pencil for show and tell this upcoming school
year, as a Reading Pal. 
I will plant the eyedear with the wee ones that every child should some day visit the LOC – source of giant pencils. And more.

The LOC is so much more.
It’s not held at the LOC or, as in past times, on the National Mall.
But stop by the Washington Convention Center
for friendly readers, writers & affiliated folks at this
LOC-organized of day and night celebration of books. The Honorary
Chairs of it are President Barack and Mrs. Obama.

Underground Tunnel & More
So thank you for visiting the LOC vicariously with me.
I reluctantly close the book on the Library of Congress, as even more thrills & chills undetailed here, await you there.  An underground tunnel. Lively tours. Concerts, poetry readings

The best part is that so much of it is online, every day.


  1. Oh, I have been to DC many times, but never been to LOC yet. I loved my virtual trip w/you, Jan. I go online frequently to use their digital resources. You have helped us see on elf the great treasures of our nation. TY.

  2. Appreciations for visiting in the Library of Congress, online with research & here in our Group Blog.
    It would be fun to lead a personal tour of our dear Groggers in the LOC some day!

    1. I am even thinking got an nf pb on LOC. The ones I've researched have been old and musty. not fun and exciting.

    2. Would be fun to do a LOC p.b. Here is a Goodreads list of p.b. about libraries - including Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library.

      Thanks for the added thought Kathy! Hope you are all tip-top now from the car event. :)

  3. I have always been fascinated with the LOC, but now, I want to experience it even more. Thanks for sharing, Jan!

    1. Isn't it wonderful to want to dwell in a place like this? Appreciations for your comment Jarm.

  4. Now I'm even more regretful that I missed the LOC on my one and only trip to DC. What a wonderfully passionate account of all it has to offer!

    1. Well, it's so cool that in this time we can visit so much of it online. I hope you visit some of the online interviews & aspects.

  5. Thank you for this grand adventure through the LOC!!

  6. Jan, what an amazing tour! How cool to see the books from Jefferson's library. Thanks for all the info!

    1. Appreciations for touring with me, Sherri & Janie! thanks for the sweet words.

  7. I would love to go to the Library of Congress! Thanks for the tour, Jan.

    1. I forget what part of the country you're in, but I sure hope your path leads to D.C. some time soon. Not just for the LOC either - so much wonderful is there.
      Appreciate your visit!

  8. Wonderful mini tour. Thanks so much! I've toured D.C., but not the LOC.

  9. Hi Tina. I bet you showed your family a whole lot. There is always something more to see in Washington, D.C.
    Appreciations for your visit, here!

  10. Thank you, Jan, for the grand tour of the Library of Congress. You have shared some intriguing information and new learning for me. I look forward to visiting the LOC someday.

  11. Appreciations for your kind thoughts Suzy.
    Hope that D.C. visit is soon - maybe cherry blossom time, which I have to admit, with all my trips to our nation's captiol, I've never seen that.