Washington D.C., Day 2 – The Library. My Library. We OWNDZ This Library.

“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”

-Virginia Woolf

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Who has a library card from the Library of Congress???

THIS GIRL.

You know what you can do with a library card from the Library of Congress???

YOU CAN GO IN.

And go in, we did.

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This place is enormous.

I mean, all the buildings in D.C. are enormous, but you just don’t know enormity. You experience enormity.

And then, we went in.

Ben and I have a foundation of reading together which have spanned over two decades. We have reading chairs in our home specifically dedicated to reading in front of the fire. Every room in our house has bookshelves, and the shelves near our desks are double stacked with books.

And we ain’t stopping. We just gettin’ started.

Needless to say, we were in heaven in this quiet hamlet, and we had no inclination to leave.

Wait, how ’bout we zoom in a little…

See that figure, leaning on her arm and sitting in the great, quiet Reading Room of the Library of Congress?

That is me.

Screen Shot 2016-12-10 at 8.06.09 PM.pngI am reading.

In the Reading Room.

I cannot tell you the joy I felt sitting there. It may be something small to others, but to me it was something very special.

Women have had a…complicated…relationship with Libraries.

The relationship has not always been cold or closed to women, but it has also not been as open and easy as it was for me this week.

Particularly in University libraries: “In 1967, Lamont Library (in Harvard) allowed women access.”

This happened when my parents were growing up, after Harvard first opened its doors in 1636. Well over 300 years had passed before the regal university could stomach the idea of women in their libraries.

Progress has been made even this year, as Dr. Carla Hayden (link!) was just sworn in as not only the first African American Librarian of Congress, but the first woman in this seat in the history of our nation!

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Link to video!

I mean, how can you not be swathed with exhilaration at this news?!

Besides this heavy moment, we also got to wander in the Jefferson wing, which was equally as amazing. They had all my favorite books on display, to boot!

…how did they know??

Plus they have the Gutenberg Bible, and I got to take a peek into the original office of the Head Librarian…so jealous of this office. 

Most of all, though, was when we got to go through Jefferson’s Personal Library. Like, the actual books Jefferson brought into his home to study. 

Are you kidding me.

Which was humbling…and delightful. I loved seeing the patterns in the books. He has the same patterns that Ben has with studies, from my eyes. Ben has seasons of study, where he will spend months (sometimes years) going through one subject until he knows it backwards and forwards. From philosophies, to theologies, to literature, to business, to poetry…he is a diverse man with incredible tastes.

But all in all, the majority of the books he has are on systems and systems’ management.

Jefferson had the exact same pattern: Lots of books from one trunk of study, but interspersed with seasons of branches, building a solid tree of knowledge.

(See what I did there)

I was surprised how much Opera was in his library…that was interesting to see.

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We definitely went to the Library a few times.

I told Ben he could just leave me there and go home to fetch the kids…so we could all just live there forever.

He said no 😦

Just Because It’s Summer…Doesn’t Mean We Don’t Get Field Trips

 

I am a sucker for Marine Biology.

Truth be told, it was the subject I had intended to study in college. Unfortunately, I did not fare too well in the required Science classes. Henceforth, I degreed in my other favorite hobby: reading.

Nevertheless, my enduring love for aquatic biomes has yet to subside and I find as many opportunities to share my love with those around me.

Marine Science Center for the day? Don’t mind if I do!

So, it wasn’t a terribly large place…and granted, I only have the Monterey Bay Aquarium for scale, so it isn’t exactly a fair comparison. But they really packed a lot of interesting stuff in here! We loitered for well over 2 hours, and I honestly believe we could have stayed longer except we were tired and becoming delirious with sea cucumbers at that point.

We are very big in touching squishy, wet and slimy things. So the fact that this whole place was filled with touching stations made us squeal with delight. There were critters we knew, like anemones and urchins, and other critters I have never seen before! The docents were also extremely helpful, and friendly, and showed us where all the pipe fish were hiding, and the eels…and the secret backroom with all the microscopes…

 

The microscope was so much better than the microscope I have, which uses a mirror…that I just could never get the hang of. But this one was pretty neat. We were looking at a jellyfish, and we could see the plankton swimming in the middle of it. If that isn’t totally nifty, I don’t know what is.

We also got to work in a side room with TONS of skeletons, and videos, and audiostations, and magnifying glass stations…honestly, I can’t believe we only spent 2 hours in here.

We definitely outlasted the afternoon crowds…

 

After visiting a sister exhibit across the road and seeing even more amazing skeletons, and learning about a class for kids where they get to assemble a gray whale skeleton in the back room (dude, seriously), it turned out that we really were totally beat from all this amazing exploration and information gathering.

So we trekked down the road a bit and hung out at the beach. Made a few driftwood forts. Walked the shore. Got to watch a baby otter swimming around looking for lunch.

Picked up some enchiladas on the way home and called it a day.

You really can’t get a better field trip than this.