Things to Do

Explore the Main Reading Room in the Library of Congress Monday

The room is only open to the public twice a year—including Columbus Day.

Photograph by Flickr user Jiuguang Wang.

If you’re one of the lucky folks to get this rainy Columbus Day off work, you could spend the time diving to the bottom of pitchers of mimosas (no judgment)—or you could indulge your inner history nerd and head to the Library of Congress’s open house. During the event, from 10 AM to 3 PM, the ornate Main Reading Room, on the first floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, will be open to the public, with the aim of teaching visitors about how to use the library’s resources year-round. Librarians will be on hand to provide walk-throughs of online tools and the physical collections.

Once you’ve checked out the Main Reading Room, you can head to the Northwest Gallery’s second-floor “Exploring the Early Americas” exhibit, where at 11 AM John Hessler, who coauthored the book Christopher Columbus Book of Privileges: 1502 The Claiming of a New World, will discuss his work. Small visitors can visit the Young Readers Center between 10 and 3 for activities, crafts, and book displays themed around “exploring our world.”

For more information about the Library of Congress fall open house, visit the library’s website.