Rolling Out the Welcome Mat

One would be hard-pressed not to appreciate the splendor of the Library of Congress Main Reading Room. Granted, I may have an employee bias, but it truly is a magnificent space. A local blogger once referred to it as the “Sugar Ray Robinson” of interior spaces, with grandeur that “can’t be beat.”

Photo by Deanna McCray-James

Twice each year, the Library opens the reading room for a special public open house. The winter open house takes place next week on the federal Washington’s Birthday (Presidents’ Day) holiday, Monday, Feb. 20, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

More than 4,200 visitors attended last year’s open house. And Library staff expect large crowds again, as this event has become increasingly popular.

James Sweany, head of the Local History and Genealogy Reading Room, talks about doing research at the Library/Photo by Deanna McCray-James

Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the Library’s genealogical collections and services, view recipes from our collection of presidential and White House cookbooks, become acquainted with the “Ask a Librarian” online reference service and check out the “Chronicling America” historic American newspaper resource, featuring president-related topic pages such as this one on Teddy Roosevelt.

A highlight of the open house is the card catalog – particularly popular with the kids, many of whom have never seen one before.

A sign of our technological times?

Visitors peruse the Library's card catalog/Photo by Deanna McCray-James

Another special treat for will be a read-aloud with Miss International, Ciji Dodds. She’ll be reading “A. Lincoln and Me,” by Louise W. Borden.

So grab the kids and get thee to the Library next Monday. See you soon!


  1. David Babolcsay
    February 13, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    Great place to visit I had a great time!!!!

  2. Sami
    February 14, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Great info, thanks.

  3. Gloria Matthew
    February 18, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    what a great heritage !

Add a Comment

This blog is governed by the general rules of respectful civil discourse. You are fully responsible for everything that you post. The content of all comments is released into the public domain unless clearly stated otherwise. The Library of Congress does not control the content posted. Nevertheless, the Library of Congress may monitor any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove content for any reason whatever, without consent. Gratuitous links to sites are viewed as spam and may result in removed comments. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on the Library site. Read our Comment and Posting Policy.

Required fields are indicated with an * asterisk.