Events · Libraries · Library · Reviews

The Library of Congress a Historical Masterpiece

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By Molly Korroch

Living in D.C., we are incredibly lucky to have one of the most amazing and thorough research libraries at our front door. The Library of Congress is equal parts museum, architectural masterpiece, and library.

Walking through the United States Library of Congress is like walking through time. Though this point may seem moot, John Adams established the library for it’s literal purpose: to house reference books for the congress. This occurred in 1800, and of course, within fifteen years, the British had come and burned the whole thing down during the War of 1812.

Soon after, then former President Thomas Jefferson donated his personal library. This collection served as the beginning of the massive—including over 158 million pieces—library we enjoy today.

The library is actually comprised of three buildings. The grandest is the aptly named Thomas Jefferson Building. The building opened to the public in 1897, and before that the collection was housed in the Capitol building.

The architecture of the building is a monument to the volumes it houses. It borrows styles from every corner of history. The intention was to create an amalgamation of the best of the best. On your visit, pay close attention and you’ll see references to famed thinkers, writers, and historical works in every nook and cranny of the building.

The main architect, Paul J. Pelz, created a building, “Perfectly suited to a young, wealthy, and imperialistic nation in its Gilded Age. The materials—marble (15 varieties), granite (400,000 cubic feet), bronze, gold, mahogany—were expensive but would last a thousand years.”

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Fast Facts

Place: The Jefferson Building of The Library of Congress

General theme: You name it, they’ve got it. Also, marble upon marble upon marble.

Hours: Monday-Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Closed Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Years

Food/Drink: Vending machines and a little coffee shop on the cellar level

Wifi: Yes and No. Check out this list to find out where Wifi is available

Events: Amazing exhibits! Remember those books Thomas Jefferson donated? You can see them! Right now there’s an exhibit on World War I and an exhibit about the history of music in baseball

Appointment necessary: Depends on what you’re researching! Here is a list that includes the hours and whether or not an appointment is necessary for all the Library of Congress reading rooms

If this place were band: Billy Joel — Scenes from an Italian Restaurant (If ever there were an architecturally overdone American amalgamation, this is it.) 

Images via Al Jazeera and The Library of Congress
Bookstore · Events · Reviews

A Little DC Without the Bougie: Politics and Pros

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If you have lived in DC long enough, you might’ve heard of Politics and Prose. With many locations in DC, and their affiliation to Busboys & Politics, its known for a great variety of books, community place, and a good hang out spot. Not only do they have the new-est books, Politics and Prose also hosts exclusive author talks and frequent events throughout the city.

Fast Facts

Place: Politics and Pros on Connecticut Ave. NW, and including all Busboys & Poets locations

General theme: “Something that evokes Washington, but not pretentious” – owner Carla Cohen

Hours: Monday-Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. 

Food/Drink: Busboys & Poets has a full menu and bar. Politics and Pros location on Connecticut has a coffee shop on the lower level. 

Wifi: Busboys & Poets does!

Events: A full list of calendar events can be seen here, with info on Busboys & Poets too! 

Appointment necessary: Nope! 

If this place were band: John Lennon – Imagine 

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Bookstore · Events

A Night With Auntie Maxine

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Congresswoman Maxine Waters, or also known as Auntie Maxine, held an open-mic reception at Busboys and Poets on 5th and K St. just last Friday in anticipation of the Tax Day March. This reception was an invitation to “young writers, bloggers and all millennials who have profiled her opposition to President Trump and leading conversations on Twitter regarding what’s at stake under his administration” according to BusBoys & Poets.

GU Book Crew made a quick stop to see what the event was all about, and it did not disappoint.

For those not following Auntie Maxine, she is a leading women in the impeachment of President Trump. She has been serving as a U.S. Representative since 1991, the most senior of the 12 black women currently serving in congress, and a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

What you might see circling around the internet is her famous “We’ve got to stop his ass!”  video which took place at Busboys. Busboys and Poets is known for its safe space for community engagement and radical connections, so it’s no surprise that Auntie Maxine let it all out.

BusBoys and Poets takes pride in being a community gathering place, a place to feed your body, mind and soul, and a space where culture and politics collide. At all locations, you will find paintings from local artist and/or activists. With a full menu, full bar, and book store in every location, its a perfect spot for community engagement and fun.

Fast Facts

Place: Busboys & Poets – Locations include 5th &K, 14th & V, Shirlington, Hyattsville, Brookland, Takoma

General theme: Community, culture, art

Hours: Hours vary by location, but you can typically expect 8:00 a.m. – midnight Monday-Thursday, 8:00 a.m.-1:00 a.m. Fridays, 9:00 a.m.-midnight on weekends.

A Brief History: Established in 2005, Anas “Andy” Shallal, an activist, artist and ‘restaurateur’, wanted to create a community gathering place. The first location on 14th & V received a welcoming embrace, especially from those opposing the Iraq War. Since then six more locations have been opened in distinct DC neighborhoods.

Food/Drink: Yes. Full menu, full bar. You can check out their menu here, which includes vegetarian, gluten free and vegan options.

Wifi: Yes.

Appointment necessary: Nope! Although, if you come with a party you should make reservations.

If this place were band: Billie Holiday – Strange Fruit

Bookstore · Events · Reviews

5 Bookstores a Day Trip From DC

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By Molly Korroch

There is nothing so sweet as stumbling upon a fantastic independent bookstore.

While we’ve discussed several that are located in downtown D.C., sometimes you must stretch your legs to stretch your mind. If you need a weekend getaway from the city, here are five fantastic bookstores (and cities) that are only a day trip away.

Atomic Books

Baltimore, MD
3620 Falls Road

Atomic Books lives up to its quirky and modern name. Its motto is “Literary finds for mutated minds.” Thoroughly invested in the literary and local community, Atomic Books hosts a variety of events, including readings, signings, books clubs and beer nights–and that’s only the stuff that’s happening over the next couple of weeks. Fun Fact: The actor/director, John Waters, picks up his fan mail via Atomic Books. It’s true!

Riverby Books

Fredricksburg, VA
805 Caroline Street

Riverby Books is quaint and cozy. While technically this store has a D.C. location, take an afternoon to check out its Fredricksburg site. They specialize in used books, including the rarer and out-of-print titles. (Its Facebook page recently boasted a first edition of Ralph Ellison’s famed Invisible Man.) This is the perfect spot for a wander or to find something special for the book lover in your life.

Chop Suey

Richmond, VA
2913 West Cary Street

Chop Suey Books is a haven for readers and writers alike. Next door is the home of the Richmond Young Writers. (But, don’t let the word “Young” fool you. It offer classes and workshops for all ages.) Though it only began in 2002, Chop Suey has the kind of presence in the community that makes it feel like it’s been there forever. Its two story bookshop offers both new and used titles of all genres imaginable. Chop Suey also has a special relationship with many local writers and authors, and the staff are always happy to recommend what is sure to become your next favorite book.

The Annapolis Bookstore

Annapolis, MD
53 Maryland Avenue

The Annapolis Bookstore looks exactly like the children’s bookstore from You’ve Got Mail. It’s classic, simple and there’s something comforting about it. At this store there’s a focus on maritime lit and children’s books. It also sells quite a few rare books. Its events include a weekly story time with ‘Nanny K’ and conversations with noted scholars.

Daedalus Bookshop

Charlottesville, VA
123 Fourth Street NE

When you walk into Daedalus Bookshop you are immediately washed with the smell of old books. Located right off the Charlottesville’s downtown mall, Daedalus feels like your grandmother’s attic: piles upon piles upon stacks of used books. There’s literally thousands of books! Every single bit of wall space is comprised of book-stuffed shelves. It’s the perfect place for a bibliophile to wander because you’re sure to find something you love–and for a great price. The building is a bit wobbly. The stairs creak, and it’s easy to get lost, but in the most delicious of ways.

Authors · Events

A Bookstore to Remember: For and By People of Color

By Isabella Basco

On April 10, Angela Maria Spring announced a Kickstarter campaign to fund the launch of a pop-up, multicultural bookstore in the Duende District. After managing the popular Politics and Prose, Spring left her job to start Duende District.

Kickstarter

Kickstarter

Inspired by her roots as a daughter and granddaughter of Latin American immigrants, Spring left the popular D.C. bookstore, which is in a majority-white neighborhood, to create a space for people of color to celebrate diversity.

When Duende District Bookstore opens, Spring hopes to build purposeful partnerships with minority organizations and communities in the city.

Spring’s goal is to raise $9,000 so if you’re interested in contributing to her mission, you can donate to her campaign here.

You can donate to her campaign here and the GU Book Crew will be sure to continue covering this exciting new spot.

Authors · Events

Filipina female trailblazers discuss and write about leadership in DC

By Isabella Basco

At the Filipino embassy last Wednesday, several Filipina trailblazers in the military, law and medicine came together to read their excerpts from the new book, DISRUPT 2.0, Filipina Women: Daring to Lead.

The book is a collection of stories by 35 different Filipina thought leaders and some of the “disruptions” they have faced in their personal and professional lives, hence the title.

The Philippines is in a unique position compared to other countries when it comes to women and leadership. It is the highest-ranked country in Asia when it comes to closing the gender gap and is a traditionally matriarchal society: the country has already had two female presidents.

The event was organized and sponsored by the Filipina Women’s Network (FWN), an organization devoted to promoting Filipina female leadership. FWN has been traveling across the country on a “road show” to advertise the launch of the book.

Some of the leaders who spoke were Sonia Delen, the Senior Vice President of Bank of America Leasing; Shirley Raguindin, the Director of Equal Opportunity for the Dept. of Defense and Col. in the Air National Guard; and Maria Nieves Santos-Graves, the President of Surrey Hearing Care, Inc.

Their journeys were different, but their themes were the same because all were immigrants or the children of immigrants who faced unique struggles in their journeys to leadership due to their genders and races.

Santos-Graves spoke about her arduous path as an immigrant. She earned a pharmacy degree from a respectable university in the Philippines, but she could not find a job after moving to Canada because they did not recognize “outside degrees.” She worked at a dollar store, sold education savings plans and at a call center before going into business herself.

FWN Daring to Lead

Filipina Women’s Network

Many of the leaders told their stories and offered wisdom for the future. Eileen Mitzi Pickard, a notable Filipino-American community organizer in Washington, encouraged readers to take advantage of life’s opportunities.

“Do what you can in the time that you have in the place that you are,” Mitzi Pickard said.

Cris Comerford, the first woman and person of Asian descent to hold the title of White House Chef, also wrote an excerpt in the book.

Going Pinay

DISRUPT 2.0 demonstrated that gender equality and women’s empowerment are not just about breaking glass ceilings and opening doors, but about mentoring and supporting each other in our personal and professional journeys.

While the event was eye-opening and gave a unique lens into some of the “trials and tribulations” many Filipina women normally face in a new country, it would have been wonderful if there were a panel of women who gave direct advice to other younger Filipina women who are just beginning their careers.

Still, organizations like the Filipina Women’s Network and their launch of DISRUPT 2.0 shows how powerful the “written word” is.

The book is available on Amazon and Kindle.