Visiting the NatLibs of the World: The Library of CongressSeptember 11th, 2012
Most readers will know that our building in Wellington is being redeveloped. While we wait for the ground floor to re-open, we thought we would take a virtual tour of some of the other National Library buildings we’ve visited, admired, and been inspired by. We started with the National Library of Australia, and now consider the Library of Congress, in the USA.
Exterior of the Thomas Jefferson Building
It is a beautiful building inside and out (but not done justice by this photograph), and my favourite part is the dome, high above the main reading room.
Edwin Howland Blashfield's murals, which adorn the dome of the Main Reading Room
Near the exit, there’s a quiet hall with a statue of Madison himself.
James Madison Memorial Building exterior
Statue of James Madison
In writing about the other library buildings we’ve visited, we’re also trying to draw lessons we can apply to our own situation.
There are plans to move the Treaty of Waitangi from ArchivesNZ to the National Library building on Molesworth Street. At that time, the building will be renamed, though as yet no name has yet been chosen. The Library of Congress faced a similar problem in 1980, when the “Main Building” or “Library of Congress Building” was renamed to the Thomas Jefferson Building. All three buildings are now named after Presidents.
But that’s not the lesson I want to draw. Cool as document delivery via TeleLift may be, better still would be a network of underground passages, like those that connect the buildings of the Library of Congress.
Tunnels under the Library of Congress buildings