Library of Congress: Main reading room open house on Presidents Day


Twice each year, the Library of Congress opens its magnificent Main Reading Room for a special open house to share information about how the public can access the Library’s resources year-round. The first open house of 2015 will take place on the Presidents Day holiday, Monday, February 16, 2015 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Main Reading Room is located on the first floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street, S.E., Washington, D.C.

Reference librarians will be on hand to demonstrate services, instruct on how to obtain a reader registration card and answer questions. No other reference services will be available and all other Library of Congress reading rooms and buildings will be closed. Visitors can join the conversation that day on Twitter using the tag #LCSpring15. Photography is allowed; however visitors may not use mono-, bi- or tripods.

The Jefferson Building will be open to the public between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., and will feature the incomparable Great Hall and the Library of Congress exhibitions.

When the reading room doors open at 10 a.m., poet Patricia Smith, recipient of the Library’s 2014 Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry, will read portions of her collection “Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah” from the Main Reading Room center desk. The prize’s namesake and her husband, O.P. Bobbitt, met when they both worked as catalogers at the Library in the 1930s. Smith, the author of six poetry collections and winner of multiple literary awards, will officially receive the prize February 17, 2015.

The Library’s Young Readers Center will celebrate past and future presidents from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Children are invited to bring their own historic props— top hats, mustaches, spectacles and read a famous speech (or their own) at the presidential podium. Visitors can learn about the presidents as children, have fun with presidential trivia, engage in craft exercises and much more. Young people, who must be accompanied by an adult at all times, are encouraged to explore the center’s library of current and classic books, which can be read onsite.

Guided tours of the Thomas Jefferson Building begin on the Ground Floor at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. and at 12:30, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. These unreserved guided tours are designed to accommodate individuals and families in groups of 10 or fewer on a first-come, first-served basis. Larger groups may not join the unreserved tours, but may obtain brochures and information about visiting the Jefferson Building on their own.

More information about the Library, the exhibitions and tours is available at the orientation desks, at or by calling 202-707-8000. Request ADA accommodations five business days in advance at 202-707-6362 or email: