Press contact: Deanna McCray-James (202) 707-9322
Public contact: Visitor Services (202) 707-8000

January 17, 2013

Main Reading Room Open House on Presidents’ Day

Twice each year, the Library of Congress opens its magnificent Main Reading Room for a special public open house. The spring open house will take place on the federal Washington's Birthday (Presidents’ Day) holiday, Mon., Feb. 18, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Photography, excluding use of tripods, will be allowed.

The Main Reading Room is located on the first floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St., S.E., Washington, D.C. Reference librarians will be available to demonstrate the Library’s online resources and discuss access to the Library’s vast onsite collections, including services and collections for use in family history research. No other reference services will be available and all other Library of Congress reading rooms and buildings will be closed.

The Jefferson Building, which will be open to the public between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., also features the incomparable Great Hall and the Library of Congress exhibitions. This holiday marks the last opportunity that visitors will have to view the initial draft of the Emancipation Proclamation, handwritten by President Abraham Lincoln. The draft has not been on public view since 2009 and is currently on display in the Library's ongoing "The Civil War in America" exhibition. It will also be the final day to view President Lincoln’s final draft of his first inaugural address, the inaugural Bible on which he took the oath of office in 1861 (also used by President Barack Obama for his 2009 and 2013 inaugurations), and the original reading copy of Lincoln's second inaugural address in the exhibition.

The Library’s Young Readers Center, which is also housed within the Thomas Jefferson Building, will be open to visitors with children from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Young people, who must be accompanied by adults at all times, are encouraged to explore the center’s library of current and classic books, which can be read onsite. Adults can also read aloud to their children from a selection of age appropriate books by the nation’s best authors and illustrators. This collection of books is non-circulating.

Unreserved guided tours of the Thomas Jefferson Building will be offered at 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. and at 12:30, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. These tours are meant for individuals and families, and for groups with no more than 10 participants. As tours can fill up quickly, plan to arrive at the Visitors' Theater at least 15 minutes before the scheduled tour time. Each tour is limited to 40 people and designed to accommodate individuals and families, not large groups. More information about the Library, the exhibitions and tours is available at the orientation desks or online at or by calling (202) 707-8000.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at

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PR 13-011
ISSN 0731-3527

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