If you love books and great architecture, the Library of Congress is a must-see when visiting Washington DC. For tourists, the library's main attraction is not its endless collection of books, but its fascinating special exhibitions as well as the extravagant architecture of the Jefferson Building. As a result, the Library of Congress provides free tours of the Jefferson Building. Also, visitors can pick up a self-guided tour brochure at the west entrance and tour the building on their own.
At the entrance to the Main Reading Room are the Library's most-prized possessions: the Giant Bible of Mainz and the Gutenberg Bible, both made in Germany in the mid-1450s. The library also has many rotating exhibits on American history and culture on the second floor. To truly appreciate the size and magnificence of the Library of Congress, one must travel up the grand staircase to the Arcade. From here, visitors can look down into the Great Hall or look up at the beautiful mosaics that adorn the walls and ceiling. With more than 18-million books and more than 4.5-million maps, the Library of Congress is the largest library in the world.