The wife and I are back from a visit with number two son in Washington DC. I can report that all is well in the Capitol (as long as you stay off the metro mass transit system there).
Scott works for the congressional service that is trying to translate and enact the new health care reforms that were passed this year. His office is in one of the buildings that houses the Library of Congress.
So Wendy, son and I traveled up to Capitol Hill to get a closer look. Couldn't get too close though. The building is not open to the public at large. But Scott thought I could take a peek inside, at least to photograph this impressive statue that sat off the lobby.
Ummmmmm, no. I took one picture (see above) as I approached the lobby, but when I stopped before the metal detectors and a cadre of uniformed security guys to try to take another picture, I was immediately challenged.
"In or out. You can't stay there," he barked.
Okay, okay. Sheesh, ya know. Then we headed over towards the somewhat more people-friendly Library of Congress building itself. There, we climbed to the third floor where there is viewing gallery that overlooks a giant reading room below with shelves upon shelves of books.
Quite an impressive sight. But you can't take pictures of it. Nor can you enter the reading room itself without special permission. Check out a book at the Library of Congress? Surely you jest.
Yes, security is tight here too. I even had to take off my belt and go through a metal detector. When we tried to find a restroom in the building, we took an elevator that wound up in the basement. No sooner had the doors opened when a passing uniformed security guard stopped and turned our way. I know, I know . . . we're not allowed here either.
They did have a public exhibition of old books and maps from a special collection of centuries old books and maps of early America, all behind thick glass. Couldn't take pictures there either. Kinda limited my picture-taking to the expansive great room entryway and the statues outside (see below). In otherwords, there's one thing you can't take a picture of at the Library of Congress: books.
They did have computer kiosks where you could do special research with materials not available at your local library. I sat at one work station, thinking I could try it out. Then I saw that the work station required you to enter your identification . . . in the form of a passport.
Couldn't my simple library card suffice?