Thursday, August 7, 2014

Keep It Local: Library of Congress

We seriously hadn't been to the library all summer! So when mom pointed out that we had a "new library" on our Summer Bucket List, we figured we'd go straight to the top -- to the "library of last resort," as it's known -- the Library of Congress. We're going big this summer.

Mom told us all about how our Grammie B traveled to DC with her parents when she was in grade school and received special permission to research in the Main Reading Room. And we couldn't wait to get a look at it ourselves. So we headed down early and waited just a few minutes for one of the free tours. We had a great docent and the tour was super interesting, but, to be honest, at 45 minutes long was probably a tad on the long side for us. But it's mom's general feeling that it's good for us to learn to do those kinds of things and there was so much for us to look at that we were well behaved, even if not entirely attentive. We were pretty excited to learn, however, that the Library of Congress houses many unique objects besides books, including the contents of Abraham Lincoln's pockets on the night he was killed. You know how much we love us some Lincoln! Plus we got a quick peek at the beautiful Reading Room and giggled as we made up stories of Grammie B sitting down at one of the little desks working away. 

(btw, anyone over 16 years old can become a Registered Reader and get access to the Library for research. While there is a limit on the number of books you can request per day (10), there is no limit on the number of days at which you can stay and research. Word is that if you're there for more than 6 months, they'll give you an office. If we ever can't find mom, we know where to look).

After the tour, we hightailed it to the Young Readers Center, which includes a tot room (with story hours), an elementary age room, and a teen room. HOLY COW. We could have stayed there all day. So much cool stuff, including the Harry Potter series in braille. We read and read and read. Until we were too hungry to hang any longer. There is plenty of room for comfy reading, playing games and puzzles. Such a cozy, free spot to read! 

In addition to the Young Readers Center, the visitors desks offer a great Treasure Hunting packet for kids, which we took but didn't have time to do. Obviously we'll be back. Plus, since our visit we've been repeat watching both National Treasure movies, which feature the Library -- can you guess where else we're headed next? You can check out more suggested activities for kids and families right here

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