Whether you are spending your summer nights catching up on the classics or seeking 52 shades from a blazing beachside sun, chances are that, if you’re like me, you have your nose in a book right now. Summer is time for recreational reading. Me? I’m always reading something, but first I want to tell you that I’ve just returned from our nation’s capital where I visited the grandest home for all things books–the Library of Congress.
If you’ve never been there (as I had not), you might not realize what a majestic and reverent place the Library of Congress is. It is as decorated and awe-inspiring as any palace, temple or church and there is something to look at or experience in every single nook and cranny. It houses not only millions and millions of books (including mine!) but memorabilia, prints & photographs, newspapers & periodicals, maps, manuscripts, audio & film and more. Full to the brim with the pieces of American culture, it also maintains numerous satellite locations to contain the overflow. So much stuff is stuffed into this amazing building that our docent admitted if something gets shelved in the wrong place, it is likely to never to be retrieved again.
Every part of the grand lobby has a story to tell, a meaning behind the sculpted or painted image with the connecting theme being the honor of continued learning through the thoughts, research, expressions and dreams of our fellow humans.
The ceilings are covered in inspirational quotes and phrases that speak to the power of knowledge and the magic of curiosity. There were hundreds but here are some of my favorites.
I will admit to sleeping through much of high school history classes, however, I have found that, as an adult, I have become eager to understand who we are and where we come from as Americans. I spent only a few hours at the Library of Congress, barely enough time to see more than a smattering of what it holds–although I did view the exhibit of the 100 Books That Shaped America which was amazing–but I left with a wild feeling in my heart about this place that is so dedicated to keeping these fragile things called books. Such a large part of my life has been shaped by the books I’ve read, as well as the books I’ve written, that it was both humbling and invigorating to be in this most incredible library.
And, if you’ll excuse me now, I have a book to read. The main character is a little shady, it’s true, but the story has most certainly aroused my curiosity. Laters.
TRY THIS WEEK: Stick your nose in a good book.