By Michele Malloy

Michele is a Research Librarian at the Congressional Research Service, with a specialty in health policy. This will be her first IFLA pre-conference.

IFLA trip

Morning Pre-Conference Update: Friday


Whether you spent last night exploring DC and going out to dinner with colleagues and friends or enjoying the IFLA PARL dinner cruise, we hope you had a lovely time but saved some energy for today!


Library of Congress: Tours

This morning, we’re hosting joint tours of a number of the Library of Congress’ reading rooms, collections, and services.

Tours will be offered from 8:30-10:00am and/or 10:30am-Noon – please make sure you check your preregistration and note the time! Tours will start on time, so note the locations below.

For the readings rooms and services in the Jefferson, you will meet behind the information desk on the ground floor (just beyond the Carriage Entrance). For the reading rooms and services in the Madison Building, you will meet in the atrium just beyond security when you come through the Independence Street entrance.


First Round (8:30am-10:00am)

  • European Division (Jefferson)
  • Hispanic Division (Jefferson)
  • Geography and Map Division (Madison)
  • Law Library of Congress (Madison)
  • Preservation Directorate (Madison)


Second Round (10:30am – Noon)

  • Africa and Middle Eastern Division (Jefferson)
  • Asian Division (Jefferson)
  • Geography and Map Division (Madison)
  • Law Library of Congress (Madison)
  • Preservation Directorate (Madison)
  • Congressional Research Service (Madison)


We love it when you share more pictures or updates with us, so email them to or add them to our twitter feed (#IFLAPREatLOC). Later in the day, we will post a group of photos for you to enjoy!

Please be aware that today and tomorrow are supposed to be very hot and humid here in DC, so drink a lot of water and take indoor breaks.

And as always, If you have any questions or comments, feel free to ask any of us with staff badges, post on the blog, or tweet with the hash tag #IFLAPREatLOC!



Morning Pre-Conference Update: Thursday

What an eventful and exciting first day for our pre-conference! As our nightly post (with pictures!) demonstrated, all three groups enjoyed packed schedules and interesting topics & tours. If you’d like to share more pictures or updates with us, feel free to email them to or add them to our twitter feed (#IFLAPREatLOC).

The schedule today includes highlights from all three groups, and as always you can access the full programmes online through these links: DOCDEL, P&C, and PARL.

Wednesday Highlights:


DOCDEL Satellite Meeting

  • After a continental breakfast (8:30-9:15 in Madison Building LM-649), delegates will hear a greeting from David Mao, the Acting Librarian of Congress and Mark Sweeney, Associate Librarian. The second keynote session focuses on “Rethinking Resource Sharing Around the World”.
  • Session 5 (11:00-12:00) highlights activities at The University of the West Indies Mona Libraries, Jamaica and Makerere University, followed by a buffet lunch. Breakout sessions will then focus on specific topics of interest.
  • Session 6 (3:00-4:00) examines the “Current Landscape of International Interlibrary Loan”.


Preservation & Conservation

  • Make sure you’re on the bus at the Madison Building C Street Entrance at 8:30am… because it’s time for a trip to the National Audiovisual Conservation Center (NAVCC)!
  • After an opening welcome from Greg Lukow (10:15), attendees will enjoy several paper presentations, followed by a group photo and shared lunch.
  • In the afternoon, experience tours of the various aspects of NAVCC, including freezer vaults, digital storage and processing, storage of AV, and materials processing.



  • After sharing coffee (8:30-9:00), please meet for announcements and welcome remarks by Lillian Gassie in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Jefferson Building. Session 1 offers a panel addressing “Delivering and Improving Services to Clients”, and Session 2 focuses on “Developing and Improving Tools and Processes”.
  • Lunch will be held in the Members’ Room (Yellow) and the Scholar’s Room (Green), followed by Session 3, “How to Design Products and Services that Meet Clients’ Needs”. We will then participate in related break out group discussions.
  • After the PARL Talk Updates from Regional Networks and closing remarks, everyone will depart for the Dinner-Cruise! Be sure you’re comfortable with transportation, and ask staff if needed.


For tomorrow, all groups please make sure you are pre-registered for the Tours of Library of Congress Collections & Services – we’re looking forward to sharing our workplace with you and learning from your questions and experiences. And for those attending the Congressional Research Service (CRS) tour on Friday, please think of questions to ask my panel!


If you have any questions or comments, feel free to ask any of us with staff badges, post on the blog, or tweet with the hash tag #IFLAPREatLOC!


Morning Pre-Conference Update: Wednesday

Welcome to the first full day of IFLA PRE 2016! We hope you all enjoyed the welcome reception last night – delegates toured the Main Reading Room, heard Acting Librarian of Congress David Mao greet the group, and shared time together in the lavish Great Hall. Look for a slide show of photos, and feel free to add your own to our twitter feed (#IFLAPREatLOC).

Today will be an eventful day, so be sure to refer to your programme, accessible online (PARL,  P&C, DOCDEL) and or in your preconference bag.

A few notable highlights for the PARL attendees:

  • 8:30-9:00am: Make sure you’ve picked up your badge and bag at the registration table (Coolidge Auditorium) and then join colleagues for coffee at Whittall Pavilion.
  • 9:00-12:30pm: Enjoy welcoming addresses from David Mao, our Acting Librarian of Congress, and Donna Scheeder, President of IFLA, followed by Cokie Roberts’ Opening Keynote and a summary of The United States Congress in a Separated Powers System. After a coffee break, learn more about the services we at the library offer to Congress and our legislative information tracking tool,
  • 12:30-13:45pm: Lunch will be served in the Members’ Room (green) and the Scholar’s Room (yellow)
  • 13:45-16:00pm: After a tour of the U.S. Capitol, we hear from the House and Senate Libraries.
  • 16:00-16:15pm: Be sure to join the Group Photograph in Whittall Pavilion!
  • 16:45-18:30pm: Hear from our colleagues on Capitol Hill: a panel discussion followed by a Keynote from Dan Lungren, former U.S. Representative and former Chair of the Committee on House Administration.


If you have any questions or comments, feel free to ask any of us with staff badges, post on the blog, or tweet with the hash tag #IFLAPREatLOC!


Visiting Local Libraries

“Philadelphia bookseller George J.C. Grasberger, full-length portrait, facing right, pushing a wheelbarrow piled high with books,” Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Collection, at

When I travel, I love to stop in and visit local libraries. Not only do they showcase important national treasures, but they host events and reflect the activities of residents. Beyond the Library of Congress (see our blog post “Setting up Tours Around Capitol Hill” to learn more about Library of Congress tours), DC is home to a number of beautiful and influential libraries!

Public Libraries
“Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G St., NW, Washington, D.C,” Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Collection, at

The DC Public Library has 26 branches around the city, with Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library as the central location. Visitors need a library card to check out books or use the public computers, but even visitors can come in, browse the library, and participate in events such as childrens’ story time. Public Libraries in adjacent Maryland and Virginia also offer wonderful community spaces if you are staying outside DC.

Academic Libraries
“23. November 1969 RIGGS LIBRARY STACKS, THIRD FLOOR, SOUTH WING – Georgetown University, Healy Building, Thirty-seventh & O Streets, Northwest, Washington, District of Columbia, DC,” Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Collection, at

Universities abound in DC, with specialized collection locations focusing on various topics. A few interesting examples include: George Washington University’s Textile Library, Georgetown University’s Bioethics Research Library, and the African Heritage Collection in Howard University’s School of Divinity Library. Most of these university libraries have different visitor policies and hours, so please research or contact them before you visit. Also keep in mind that different individual libraries within the same university system have specific visitor policies and hours. Many require government ID and a sign-in procedure during visitor hours. Many also provide visitor access to wifi! Below, we list the major academic library groups in the vicinity:

Government Libraries & Other Special Libraries
“View of the north tower porte cochere and flag tower, looking southwest (duplicate of HABS No. DC-141-19) – Smithsonian Institution Building, 1000 Jefferson Drive, between Ninth & Twelfth Streets, Southwest, Washington, District of Columbia, DC,” Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Collection, at

Other special libraries in the DC area can be worth a visit if they correspond with your personal (or professional) interests. As a medical librarian, stopping by the National Library of Medicine seems perfect for me, but you may be interested in any of the special collections listed below or searching for others!

Are there other DC libraries you’ve visited or want to see?

If so, please let us know in the comments below, or tweet us at #IFLAPREatLOC.

Setting up Tours Around Capitol Hill

While visiting us in DC, you or anyone traveling with you will probably want to explore some of our notable landmarks. Some, like the monuments and museums can be memorable even without a guide. However, other sites either require setting up a tour or may be even more enjoyable with someone to provide background information and point out sites or stories you might not notice on your own.

U.S. Capitol
“View of the Capitol’s East Front Plaza,” U.S. Capitol Visitor’s Center Photograph Downloads, at

If you want to tour the historical indoor areas of the Capitol beyond the Capitol Visitor Center, you’re required to reserve a guided tour. Since these tours can be in high demand, it’s a good idea to book in advance!

If you’re a U.S. Citizen, you can request a tour through the offices of your Representative or Senators. Offices sometimes offer staff-led tours, and work directly with local constituents to provide a tailored experience.

Anyone, including non-citizens, can reserve a tour through this online system, and if you’d like to reserve space for a group larger than 15, please use the group reservation system.

Even if you don’t pre-book, same-day tours are sometimes available, so stop by the Information Desk at the Visitor Center.

Be sure to check out the Capitol Visitor Center’s Plan a Visit site, which offers all the basic information – from visitor hours (Monday – Saturday 8:30am-4:30pm) to frequently asked questions (Tours are only offered in English, but visitors can request listening devices for some foreign-language versions. There are also brochures in a number of languages).

Library of Congress
Picture taken by Anna Groves.

You’ll be spending a lot of time in the Library buildings throughout the pre-conference, but we hope you’ll also experience some of our history and collections through our tours!

For those who want to investigate on their own, we have brochures for self-guided visits in a number of languages. You also may enjoy our online tours before you arrive – then you’ll feel at home when you get here!

The Library offers daily tours without reservations at set times, so if you have a packed schedule feel free to drop in for a one hour tour. Other guided tours require reservations and are available as group tours by request. Be sure to check out the guidelines & tips before you tour the library.

Picture taken by Anna Groves.

We also have a number of reading rooms and exhibits you may want to visit. From the African & Middle Eastern Reading Room to the American Folklife Center, there are amazingly diverse collections to explore. Prior to visiting these specialized areas, please obtain a Library of Congress Registration Card. (You will need a government ID — either a driver’s license or a passport — to obtain the Registration Card.) It makes a fun souvenir! Family activities are also available, and you can check out our public events listing to learn about lectures, exhibits, concerts, and more!

Other D.C. Tours and Landmarks

When you have free time from our packed conferences, or while your accompanying person explores the city, we hope you will be able to experience some of the wonderful things our city has to offer! Below, we talk about a few sites that may be on your mind.

“Inside the White House,” the White House, at

Setting up a tour of the White House requires advance notice (no less than 21 days), so it may not be an option on this trip. U.S. citizens request White House tours through their individual Members of Congress, while citizens of foreign countries work with their embassies to submit a tour request. However, it can still be enjoyable to take a virtual tour or just walk by the exterior of the White House.

The Library’s next door neighbor is the Supreme Court, and you can stop by for a self-guided tour or also participate in docent-led “Courtroom Lectures,” 30 minute programs available Monday-Friday every half hour from 9:30am-3:30am. Before your trip, check out their helpful information on planning your visit. Translations of the visitor’s guides are available online.

Many museums and landmarks across the city offer free tours led by helpful docents, so check out the visitor’s information before you go. Also, many visitor and travel sites offer advice on free and paid tour options across the city.

Are there other DC spots you’re thinking of touring? Would you like to share advice with other attendees?


If so, please let us know in the comments below, or tweet us at #IFLAPREatLOC.