Originally uploaded by Librarienne.
We’re in the Great Hall and going camera crazy.
[Added:] The tour docent also took us up to the overlook of the Reading Room, and pointed out the symbolism and identity of the statues and seals adorning the dome. He asked an interesting question before we continued — if this temple to human knowledge and civilization were being built today, who do we think should be represented? I was painfully aware of the historical prejudices built into the artwork — for example, the figures at the very top of the dome, representing the development of civilization, included certain countries and their contribution … Germany was there for printing and America stood in for science. No India. No China. Today, I would hope there would be some recognition of the incredible contributions these countries have made to literature, philosophy, and sciences. But I have to remember my favorite history professor and his admonition about wagging our 21st century finger at the beliefs of previous centuries. I think my embarrassment was coupled with the fact that our tour was for the International Relations Round Table of librarians. Thus, we had many nationalities in our group and many of them had been living here in the States for a long time. I wish the tour guide had at least acknowledged that there were far more influences on America’s success than those figures represented in the Library of Congress Reading Room.