Other Transportation Options

This post is a combined effort between and . Thanks to both!

In the previous post , we took at look a public transportation options in Washington, D.C. In this post, we will be taking a look at other transportation options for getting around Washington, D.C., including via bikes, taxis, ride sharing services — and even Segways and pedicabs!

“Smartly dressed couple seated on an 1886-model bicycle for two,” United States National Archives, at

Biking can be a great way to see the city and avoid traffic jams at the same time. Washington, D.C. was the first U.S. jurisdiction to launch a bicycle sharing program in 2008. Since that time, the largest bike sharing program, now called Capital Bikeshare , has taken off, and the program is now owned by various local governments. Find out more about how it works , a station map , and pricing at its website.

You can also rent bicycles by the day (rather than by the half hour, as is the case with most Capitol Bikeshare rentals). has a list of resources to help you do that. In addition, guests at one of the conference hotels, the Capitol Hill Hotel, have access to that hotel’s own bike program .

No matter where you get your bicycle, you can turn to Washington D.C.’s Department of Transportation page to check for information on bike paths (as of 2015), bicycle and pedestrian safety , and bicycle laws .

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association also has information on bicycle routes , including apps that may help you find your preferred path. They also have pages on key points of bicycle laws in the area, biking visibly , and on what to do if your bike is stolen .

“Bike race on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.,” Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Collection, at

Do you want to bring your bike onto Metro? Here are the rules for bringing your bike onto Metro rail and the rules for bringing your bike onto a Metro bus .

If you’re serious about biking and want to get out of the city, here is a webpage with the local .

DC also offers many options for tours on buses, Segways, and even pedicabs , particularly in and around the National Mall area.

Taxis and Ride sharing Options
“Heated Taxi Cab,” Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Collection, at

Washington, D.C. also has many options for taxi and ride sharing services. The D.C. government Department of For-Hire Vehicles has this list of for-hire vehicles that can be dispatched either via phone or digitally via your smartphone. In addition, this page has information on taxis in D.C. (including pricing information).

Taxis in D.C. now mostly have a red-and-grey pattern; you are allowed to hail them from the street, and you should tip the driver at the end of the ride. By contrast, ride sharing vehicles will not have a standard look; they must be hailed using your smartphone device; and the tip is usually included in the price.

Let us know if you have any questions about transportation in the comment box below — or if there are any modes of transportation we didn’t cover that you would like to use (hot air balloons?).

The Librarian of Congress

This guest post was written by Jennifer Manning, a Senior Research Librarian at the Congressional Research Service who has been very active on the planning committee for the IFLAPRE conferences. Thanks for sharing your research into this topic, Jennifer!

You will be visiting the Library of Congress during a rare period of leadership transition. Since the establishment of the Library in 1800, there have only been THIRTEEN Librarians of Congress. The Librarian of Congress is nominated by the President, then confirmed by the Senate. Until this year, the position was a lifetime appointment. However, a new law makes the Librarian job a 10-year term (although renewable).

The 13th Librarian of Congress retired in September 2015 after 27 years of service. Since then, we have been led by Acting Librarian of Congress David S. Mao.

“About the Librarian,” Library of Congress website, at

David began his career at the Library in the Congressional Research Service, and also served as Law Librarian of Congress.

On July 13, the Senate confirmed President Obama’s nomination of Dr. Carla Hayden to serve as the 14th Librarian of Congress.

“Press Kit for Carla Hayden 14th Librarian of Congress,” Library of Congress website, at

Dr. Hayden heads the library system in nearby Baltimore, Maryland, and is a past president of the American Library Association. She will be the first woman and the first African-American to serve as Librarian of Congress. She is also the second professionally trained librarian to serve.

Dr. Hayden will be sworn into office at a date to be determined.

The 13th Librarian of Congress was sworn in in 1987 in the Great Hall of the Library, by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. President Reagan made a short speech and many Members of Congress were in attendance.

“Billington Swearing In Ceremony,” Library of Congress website, at

The 12th Librarian of Congress was sworn in in 1975, also in the Great Hall, by the Speaker of the House.

President Ford spoke, and again, many Members of Congress attended.

Many thanks to our intern, Anna Groves, who conducted extensive research for this post on security at the Library of Congress and beyond. Thanks, Anna!

When visiting the Library of Congress, it’s important to keep in mind that security protocols are fairly robust. To make sure you have an enjoyable and safe experience, here are some important tips to keep in mind:

Mike Monroney Astronomical Center, “Do You Know What is Considered a Weapon on the Aeronautical Center Premises?” at

To enter any of the buildings, you must pass through airport-like security.

  • Your bags will be scanned, and each person must pass through a metal detector. Put all phones, keys, and other metal items in your bag and place it on the x-ray belt before stepping through the metal detector.
  • Laptops must be removed from your bags and placed on the x-ray belt.
  • The Library prohibits weapons of any kind. These include, but are not limited to, firearms, explosives, knives, razors, and box-cutters.
  • No provisions are made for checking or holding prohibited items.
  • Suitcases and bags larger than 25″W x 15″H will not fit on the x-ray belts and are prohibited.
  • When passing through security, be patient. Lines can sometimes be long, but it is important to:
    • stay in orderly queues
    • keep conversations volumes low
    • follow the directions of the officers
    • do not crowd the personal space of any officer
  • If something on your clothing/person triggers the metal detector, simply follow the officer’s directions and you will be individually scanned with a hand-held wand. Visitors may request an officer of their own gender for this procedure if they wish.
  • In addition to entry checks, all bags and packages must be visually scanned when you exit the building. As you approach the exit, an officer will ask to view the contents of your bags. Have your bags open and ready in order to avoid holding up the exit line.

Other things to remember are:

  • No smoking except in designated areas outside of the buildings. (See for more information about smoking.)
  • Watch your step. Always use handrails when ascending and descending stairs, since some of the marble steps in the Jefferson building have been worn down over time and may be uneven.
  • Photography is allowed, however flash photography is prohibited in various areas as posted.
  • The use of photographic equipment, including tripods and selfie sticks, is prohibited. Please follow the Photography and Video Guidelines .

In the event of an emergency, move towards the nearest exit and follow police and emergency staff directions.

If you need to report an emergency, call 911 .

For tips on safely entering the United States, you may be interested in watching this Customs and Border Protection Video on things you need to know before you visit or another video on going through the immigration process as an international visitor . You can also contact the United States’ Transportation Security Administration via Facebook or Twitter.

From the Transportation Security Administration’s Instagram account.
From the Transportation Security Administration’s Instagram account.

For an international perspective on traveling to the U.S., you might want to take a look at the Canadian government page or the U.K. government page on United States travel tips.

We look forward to seeing you all safely in the United States!

This guest post was contributed by Jared Nagel, a Senior Research Librarian in the Congressional Research Service and our resident music guru. Thanks for all your insights, Jared!

Black Milk and Nat Turner, photo by Jared Nagel.

The District and surrounding area hosts a pretty good group of live music venues covering just about every genre of music. Luckily there are a few resources to help keep you up to date on who is in town and where they are playing. Below are some quick picks that should get you to a good show before or after the conferences start, or on a free night during your conference.

The Washington Post’s “Going Out Guide”

The Washington Post hosts a guide for area restaurants, events, and music. The music section includes highlights for area concerts.

The Washington City Paper’s “Do This”
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, photo by Jared Nagel.

The Washington City Paper has their own webpage with information on upcoming concerts and events. They list events by date and provide some pretty good options to keep you busy every night of the week. You can also filter events based on the genre of music you are interested in. The music portion of “Do This” is available here .


Songkick is a website and app for your phone that allows you to track concerts. You can search by location or follow your favorite bands to see when the next time they are going to be in town.  Here is a link to upcoming events in the DC area.

Show List DC

Want a simple listing of shows by date? Look no further than Show List DC .

Do you have a favorite music venue or area concert guide? Feel free to share it in the comments.

This guest post comes from our summer intern, John Steele. Thanks so much, John!

Everyone knows about Washington, D.C.’s reputation as the living enshrinement of America’s rich history and home to the United States federal government; however, it can be easy to forget about Washington D.C.’s thriving sports scene.  Whether you’re out touring one of D.C’s great museums or handling official business in the Library of Congress, you may want to save some time in the evenings or at the beginning or end of your trip to catch an exciting baseball game or tennis match—both of which will be readily available during your visit to Washington D.C.

“Baseball Ball Isolated On White,”, at

Every week, scores of elated Washingtonians pile into National Park to watch the Nationals duel visiting baseball teams. Home games occur frequently, so catching one should not be too difficult. For further information on scheduling and ticketing, please see this site . If you actually decide to embark on a D.C. baseball journey, one option for traveling to Nationals Park is the DC Metro .  The Green line runs regularly during games and the walk to/from the Navy Yard-Ballpark stop is very short. Be prepared for very large crowds. If you have a DC Metro Smartrip card, please be sure to use it.. Additional information on travel to Nationals Park can be found here. With regard to seating, there’s no such thing as a bad seat in the house, but try to avoid the lower right field seats. You’ll be in the shade, but it’s really difficult to see the entire field and scoreboard from that vantage point.  Nationals Park hosts an assortment of fine eats. Reference this site for more information.

“Fuzzy Yellow Tennis Ball,”, at

In addition to great baseball, the District is also home to a growing tennis market. To be fair, you’re probably not going to catch any Wimbledon-level tennis in D.C., but if you’re into viewing competitive matches, the District has a few options. The Washington Kastles , one of seven franchises currently competing in World Team Tennis, has won six of the last seven World Team Tennis championships.  Matches are held indoors at the Charles E. Smith Center , Kastles Stadium. The Smith Center is located on the corner of 22 nd and G Streets NW in Foggy Bottom. For additional information on directions and ticketing, please visit this site .

Thanks so much to Jennifer Manning, our guest blogger for this post on navigating the Library of Congress buildings. Jennifer is a Senior Research Librarian at the Congressional Research Service in the Library of Congress, and has been very active on the planning committee for the IFLAPREatLOC pre-conferences. Thanks for all your insights, Jennifer!

Tip 1: Security

We will have an entire post on this topic in the coming weeks. Suffice it to say in the meantime that you can expect to go through security upon both entering and exiting Library of Congress buildings. On entering a Library of Congress building, you will go through a metal detector; please remove all metal items from your pockets (including your cell phone, keys, etc.), and place them on the conveyor belt. On exiting the building, the security officer will check any bags you may be carrying for Library materials. Please keep checking back at this blog for more information on security.

Tip 2: Photography
“Herbert G. Ponting and his camera,” Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Collection,

Photography is allowed in Library buildings, although flash photography is not allowed in some exhibits, to protect the objects from excessive light. Tripods and “selfie sticks” are prohibited in Library buildings (and many other D.C. museums as well).

Tip 3: Wifi

The Library buildings have a public wireless network (WiFi) called “LOCGUEST.” No password is required.

Tip 4: Smoking
Library of Congress.

Smoking is prohibited in Library of Congress buildings (and most government buildings and museums), including in interior courtyards and bathrooms. To smoke outside the building, you must go out, through security, and be more than 25 feet [7.6 metres] from the building entrance. The map to the right of this text is a map of the Library of Congress Campus; there are smoking tables set aside alongside the Madison building, on the corners of 1st Street SE & Independence Ave. SE and again at 2nd St. SE & Independence Ave. SE.

Tip 5: Air Conditioning
“Washington, D.C. Jewal Mazique [i.e. Jewel], worker at the Library of Congress, waiting for a streetcar on her way home from work,” Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Collection, at
Although Washington weather in August tends to be very hot and “muggy,” the air-conditioning inside buildings is very effective. Sometimes we find it TOO effective. Conference attendees, especially women wearing short sleeves or skirts, may wish to bring another layer of clothing, such as a shawl or jacket, in order to stay comfortable during sessions.

Are there any other topics on which you would like some tips?

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

Our deepest thanks to Angela Napili, the author of this guest post. Angela is a Senior Research Librarian at the Congressional Research Service in the Library of Congress, and she is also an award-winning amateur photographer. Thanks for sharing your tips, Angela!

With its monumental architecture, historic landmarks, and diverse communities, Washington DC is a photographer’s paradise. Here are three photo tips.

Tip 1:  If you want to avoid the crowds and harsh midday sun, then early mornings and early evenings are lovely times to photograph DC’s memorials.

The at sunrise.

Photograph taken by Angela Napili.

Evening at the looking toward the .

Photograph taken by Angela Napili.

The and at sunset, photographed with a zoom lens from near the .

Photograph taken by Angela Napili.

Here are the sunrise and sunset times .

Tip #2: Some of DC’s best photo opportunities are indoors, with free admission (and air conditioning!)

Electronic Superhighway” by Korean-American artist Nam June Paik, .  Here is the Smithsonian’s photography policy .

Photograph taken by Angela Napili.

The , photographed from just outside the courtroom. Here is the Court’s photography policy .

Photograph taken by Angela Napili.

. Here is Union Station’s photography policy .

Photograph taken by Angela Napili.
Tip #3: Keep your camera within easy reach. You never know when you’ll come across something interesting, like a Dog in a costume.

Here is a Welsh Corgi dressed up as Captain America . (Well, kind of.)

Picture taken by Angela Napili.

Even our metro stations are eye-catching. This is the , but most stations in the system look very similar.

Photograph taken by Angela Napili.

More resources:

Do you have favorite DC photo spots, tips, or resources? Please share them in the comments below!

This guest post comes from our summer intern, Anna Groves. Thanks so much, Anna!
Picture by Anna Langova,, at

Washington D.C. offers a variety of unique and exciting shopping venues within a short metro ride of Capitol Hill. Eastern Market, Union Station, and Penn Quarter are the closest and offer a wide variety of retail options. For those with a little more time to explore, Georgetown, Virginia, and Maryland offer everything from boutiques to malls. The following articles offer summaries of shopping destinations around town:


Virtual Tourist

When shopping in the U.S., keep in mind that the price on the tag does not include the sales tax . The tax will be added to your final total at the register. The general sales tax in VA is 5.3%-6%, in Maryland it is 6%, and in Washington D.C. it is 5.75%.

Remember to be familiar with your home country’s regulations on customs and imports when selecting items to purchase. In addition, if you are purchasing any large or fragile items, it is worth inquiring about shipping services. Many retailers and boutiques are willing to ship items upon request. If a retailer does not offer this service, you can also easily ship it yourself using the U.S. Postal Service or one of the many reliable commercial shipping services. A quick Google search for “ international package shipping companies ” will bring up a variety of options.

Other good tips to keep in mind for the first time visitor are:

Return policies: Each store’s return policy is slightly different. Some offer full refunds for unwanted or damaged items, others only offer store credit, and a few have ‘no returns’ policies. Be sure you understand the details before making a purchase.

Customer service: Quality of customer service ranges depending on the level of retailer you visit, however most stores try to maintain high standards of customer service. Feel free to ask questions about items on display, options available, and whether an out of stock item can be found at another location or online. You are under no obligation to buy anything at any time, however most sales clerks appreciate an honest answer if you only intend to browse. If you feel you have been treated rudely or unfairly, do not hesitate to ask to speak to a manager.

No bargaining: The prices in most U.S. retailers are set at the corporate level. Local staff members usually have little to no authority to haggle on prices. However, sometimes it is worth asking if an item on clearance can be reduced even further, or if a retailer is willing to match prices with a competitor.

Credit cards, checks, and cash: U.S. retailers are currently transitioning from magnetic strip card readers to smart chip readers. Simply ask the cashier if you are unsure of which method to use at any given store. Be aware that for security reasons, many U.S. retailers no longer accept paper checks. Cash is easily obtained from any of the widely and conveniently located ATMs.

Purchasing electronics: If purchasing electronics, be sure to double check that all of the components are compatible with your facilities at home.

Enjoy your time exploring the shops of Washington, D.C., and please let us know which are your favorites in the comment section below.


Welcome to the #IFLAPREatLOC blog! The United States Library of Congress is hosting three IFLA pre-conferences this August: IFLA PARL (the pre-conference for the Library and Research Services for Parliaments Committee), IFLA P&C (the pre-conference for the Preservation & Conservation Committee), and IFLA DOCDEL (the pre-conference for the Document Delivery & Resource Sharing Committee). We are thrilled to welcome so many international delegates to the Library of Congress – the nation’s first established cultural institution and the largest library in the world.

We hope to start introducing you to Washington, D.C. – and even to each other – long before your pre-conference starts. We will start writing frequently updated blog posts here, and during the pre-conferences, we hope to feature twice-a-day updates, summing up the events of the day and taking a look at what is planned for the next day.

We also want to involve you, the attendees! We will be sending out emails asking a few questions about what you hope to get from your conference, as well as asking you to tell us a little bit about your library or research service. You can also post information on these topics in the comments below.

Here is an introduction to the regular members of our blogging team (we also hope to feature guest bloggers throughout the summer).

Hannah Fischer

I am a Senior Research Librarian at the Congressional Research Service, and this will be my fifth IFLA PARL conference. I chair the IFLAPRE website and communications committee, so let me know if you have any questions about the website or technology in particular.

Claudia Guidi

As a User Support Specialist at the Congressional Research Service I feel humbled by the opportunity to help the IFLA pre-conference this year. This will be my first IFLA pre-conference.

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.

Andrew Weber

Andrew Weber is a Legislative Information Systems Manager at the Law Library of Congress. This will be his first IFLA pre-conference.

We hope you will participate with us as we explore everything Washington D.C., from the history to the food to the public transportation . Feel free to send us suggestions, ideas, and comments on the blog itself, or use our twitter hashtag, #IFLAPREatLOC . If you have specific questions about the blog, please feel free to write us at [email protected] . Thanks, and we look forward to sharing this blog with you throughout this summer and seeing you in August.