Just from the outside, it looks pretty grand. There are busts of different authors and writers. You have to go through security to get in. It's a big deal. I sort of knew what to expect, but I was definitely not prepared for just how beautiful this building is.
When you walk in, you are in a little foyer, but then you walk up to the main lobby area or what they call the Great Hall. As a huge Harry Potter nerd, I was happy to learn that it's called that. There are pillars and mosaics and tiles and statues and beautiful designs on the ceilings and walls. It's like a church for books. It's like librarianship is the worship of books and this is our temple. Ok, that got a little weird, but you get the picture. It's GORGEOUS. I wish I could get married there, but I already looked into it and just renting the Great Hall alone is $35,000. The average wedding in the US costs $26,000 just for some perspective.
There are so many things to look at. I even found Poe's name on the ceiling. :) There are also a ton of sayings about reading and books that are all over the walls. I LOVED IT.
They have a Reading Room which is also spectacular. You have to wait in a small line to go view it and you only get like, 30 seconds to a minute to look at it from a glass window that overlooks it. I think you need special permission to actually use the Reading Room. It was so pretty, though.
They also have Thomas Jefferson's original library. The books are on shelves that are in glass enclosed cases. They had other historical exhibits as well in different wings and rooms of the library. They also have the Gutenberg Bible which was the first big book to ever be mass printed.
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