The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
FRED is a Forensic Recovery of Evidence Device, and it is just one of the many fascinating stories and objects presented by the Preservation and Conservation Directorate at this afternoon’s 13:00 tour before the official launch of the three pre-conferences.
I have worked at the Congressional Research Service for twelve years, but have never visited the preservation and conservation areas of the Library of Congress before. So I decided to join the tour for an hour, and I was so happy I did! From stories about using Edison’s own lab books to make wax cylinders like those that were once used as recording devices, to the story of a change Jefferson made to the United States Declaration of Independence (Library of Congress employees found that Jefferson wrote “fellow citizens” over his original words, “fellow subjects”), every story revealed new insights into the amazing work that goes on at the Library every day. For those who have signed up for the
Preservation and Conservation Directorate tour
on Friday: you are in for a treat!
We’re getting very close to the first day of the IFLA pre-conferences, and we couldn’t be more excited! We thought we would write up just a few more tips to help you navigate the Library of Congress during your visit here.
There will be a prayer room available in the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress during the pre-conferences. If you would like to make use of the room, please head over the the Coolidge Auditorium in the Jefferson Building (where most of the IFLA PARL events will be held) and ask one of the staff members associated with IFLA PARL for directions. The staff members will be wearing
on their name badges.
Don’t forget that you cannot bring large pieces of luggage into the Library of Congress! Suitcases and bags larger than 25″W x 15″H will not fit on the x-ray belts and are prohibited. Also, there is no coat- or luggage-check available at the Library. On the day you are planning to leave the pre-conferences, you may want to use the luggage-check at your hotel; you will then need to return to the hotel after leaving your pre-conference and before moving on to the next leg of your travel.
Here is the Library of Congress website containing the
of all three Library of Congress buildings, as well as online tours of the
, and the
. The floor plan for the ground floor of the Madison building, for instance, is to the right.
Please let us know if you have any questions, or need any assistance in navigating the Library when you are here. We are looking forward to seeing you all!
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
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.
If you’re a U.S. Citizen, you can request a tour through the
offices of your Representative
. Offices sometimes offer staff-led tours, and work directly with local constituents to provide a tailored experience.
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.
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
or just walk by the
exterior of the White House
The Library’s next door neighbor is the
, and you can stop by for a
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
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.
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
are fairly robust. To make sure you have an enjoyable and safe experience, here are some important tips to keep in mind:
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.
We look forward to seeing you all safely in the United States!
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
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
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
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 #
The weather on the United States’ Independence Day – July 4th – was rainy and humid. Usually, the annual fireworks display on the
is a spectacular culmination of the national holiday. This year, however, the weather blocked the view of the fireworks to such an extent that the national Public Broadcasting Station (PBS), which broadcasts the celebration annually, spliced in some stock footage of clearer, prettier July 4ths. (This resulted in a certain amount of
.) As the national capital, Washington, D.C. is a rather patriotic city with many displays of the U.S. flag – the star spangled banner – flying throughout it. Here are a few examples from across our region that you can see when you visit for