|Library of Congress Main Reading Room (LoC file photo)|
Last weekend, I took a trip to the Library of Congress to get a library card and checkout a book. While this might sound impressive, it's really a fast and simple process. It only took about 10 minutes from walking in the door until I had my library card in hand. The best part is that I didn't need any reservations, etc. – most any American citizen would have the same experience.
|My newly issued Library of Congress library card.|
Getting my library card only required three quick steps. After signing in and showing my driver's license I was given a single page paper form which I filled out by hand and then entered the same info into a computer. The final step was to have my photo taken and my card issued.
Once I had my card in hand, I proceeded to the Main Reading Room to find some books on Rear Admiral Grace Hopper. A very helpful librarian looked up RDML Hopper and told me that books about her were in the Adams Building. She said that I could request the books to be delivered to me in the Main Reading Room, which would take about 90 minutes, or I could just walk over the the Adams building, across the street, and check them out there.
|Adams Reading Room: Checkout slip and book in hand.|
I chose to walk over to the Adams building, but not before taking a gander through the Main Reading Room. Throughout most of high school, I worked as a page in my local public library which I really enjoyed, especially since the Web hadn't been invented then.
At the Adams Reading Room, I simply filled out a slip of paper and I had my book in hand within 10 minutes.
Since it was a Saturday morning, the Library was fairly empty, so keep that in mind if you ever intend to pay a visit. I probably gained 10 to 15 IQ points just by visiting.