This particular post is a rerun on a day that I hope most of you will be able to spend with your families – at home, no less, given the weather that is bearing down on Washington. However, today it is more accurate to speak of ‘lost’ than the last time I ran it; as it turns out, the weather is also cancelling the Library of Congress’s open house scheduled for today. Take heart, however, as you will once again have an opportunity to see the main reading room – and a few more otherwise closed parts of the Jefferson building on Columbus Day, which is Monday, October 10 this year. In the meantime, here are some pictures from five years ago.
The Library of Congress, while continually expanding its mission to be truly our country’s library, can not forget its core mission: To supply Congress and anyone who works there with the information they need to run the country. This means that certain parts of the library are closed to the public for the simple reason that they are needed for its main task.
Twice a year, however, on Presidents Day and Columbus Day, the librarians open their doors to anyone who wants to see the library up close.
One of the rooms open is the card catalog, which was until 1986 the primary way to find books in the library. It has since been converted to digital, but the old paper copy is kept, just in case errors were made in the transcription. The librarians fought hard for this.
And look! It’s a familiar name in all those cards. This is my grandfather’s doctoral thesis, which has been part of the collection for over 100 years.