Madeline: Good morning, America! I’m here at the Library of Congress with Bob, one of the students from Central Middle School who is part of the STEM program. Bob and his friends are on a field trip to learn about the history of this national monument.
Madeline: When you first got to the Library of Congress, what stood out to you most?
Bob: Probably the statue of Neptune and all the female water nymphs. The statue is huge, standing on both sides of the stairs to the entrance. The fountains were on and looked like the water was spraying out of all of the sea creatures.
Madeline: What is the Library of Congress made of?
Bob: It is made out of marble. We had to whisper because the sound echoes off the walls but even some of our whispers would echo. We learned that marble was used for the building because it was such an important building, very expensive. The architects use this material because it is strong and would make the building last for a long time.
Madeline: What did you do with all your STEM friends?
Bob: We did a series of activities. First, we had to find the mosaic, memorize it, then draw it without looking. The mosaic was important because it was of Athena, the goddess of learning. After drawing the mosaic we got to build our own mini mosaics out of magnetic cubes. Then we went to the next station and had two puzzles to complete. My team won! One of the puzzles was of the FBI symbol and the other puzzle was of the all seeing eye. Many of my friends joked that this was the Illuminati.
Madeline: That’s very interesting, Bob. Do you know what the FBI seal stands for and what the Illuminati means?
Bob: The FBI seal stands for our government. We talked about the slogan “united we stand, divided we fall.” The Illuminati was a secret group who tried to work against the government. Fortunately, the Illuminati did not succeed.
Madeline: Yes, that’s a very important fact. So after drawing the mosaic and putting together the puzzles, how did the field trip end?
Bob: We got to see the reading room! It was Amazing! In the reading room, they have every single book published! It made me think about how the room was engineered to hold all of those books and how they would still have room to hold even more books. Then I thought about how today I can read my books on my iPad, so they don’t need to have real books on the shelves. They can use computers to store the books. If all of these books hadn’t been written I wouldn’t be able to learn everything from my STEM classes.
Madeline: That sounds so exciting. When can I check out a book?
Bob: You’re not allowed to check out a book. Unless you’re the President.
Madeline: *Sigh,* well what age do I have to be to go?
Bob: Well, you need to be 16 to go into the main reading room, but they have a young adult reading room.
Madeline: Thanks for all of the great info, Bob!
Madeline: Well, America, this is Madeline signing off live from the Library of Congress.
Sixth grader Maddie Petrie, Central Middle School, Anne Arundel County, learned about the Library of Congress to write her first nonfiction novel.