Mr. Burleson Goes to Washington Part One: Getting to Know DC

I’m just now sitting down after a whirlwind series of days in which I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Washington, DC, accept the School Library Journal School Librarian of the Year Award, tour the Library of Congress, take a moonlit tour of the capitol, deliver a keynote presentation to 300 librarians and leaders in the field, spend time with the new Librarian of Congress and visit the Kaboom! headquarters.  To say I’m wiped out is an understatement!  It’s been mind-blowing!  So much happened that I’m going to have to break it down into three parts.

Part One:  After a late night arrival in DC, I was up and ready to visit the Library of Congress.  We began in the Younger Readers Center within the Library of Congress.  This tiny space was chock full of the ‘best of’ collections.  Every reading group was represented from birth to teens.  Run mostly by volunteers, the small collection was inviting and lively.  img_5290

Of course, President Jefferson, who essentially started the Library of Congress, was featured prominently throughout the Young Readers Center.


One of the most interesting collections for me was the Braille collection.  One of student’s favorite titles, Harry Potter, was there in Braille.  It took 17 notebooks to contain the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Another very popular title,  The Hunger Games, was available for visitors to ‘read.’  It sure gave me an appreciation for Louis Braille!

After visiting the Young Reader’s Center, we were off for an astronomical tour by the Library of Congress’ Historian John Cole.

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The main ‘reading room’ in the Library of Congress.  The veranda was enclosed completely in a glass ‘box’ that allowed visitors to see the reading area, without disturbing those below.  It was stunning and there is no way to capture its beauty in a photograph.

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Dr. Cole literally ‘wrote the book’ on the Library of Congress.  He knew the detail behind every piece of ornate sculpture, mosaic, painting and statue.

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Jefferson’s Library was incredible!  So interesting to be standing amongst the very books he read.  The Library of Congress was established because and I’ll paraphrase, ‘There should be no topic that a member of congress could read about before making a decision.’  Interesting concept.

It was a GORGEOUS day in DC!  The Library of Congress sits across from both the capitol and the Supreme Court of the United States.

That is where I’m going to end this first installment.  Next up: Day One of the SLJ Summit.

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