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D.C.'s Best Bookstores and Libraries

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Regularly ranked as the most literate city in the US, DC houses attractive independent and used bookstores for the bibliophile. Let's not forget to mention that DC is home to the Library of Congress, the world's largest library, which comprises of three buildings containing over 158 million items (36 million of them books in 460 languages) and the Folger Library, the world's largest Shakespearean library. Definitely plenty of shelves and stacks for the literary nerd to get lost in.
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5015 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008, USA
$$$$
A D.C. fixture since it opened in 1984, Politics and Prose is a much-loved independent bookstore. Even as the larger chain bookstores began to shutter in the '90s, this place thrived. The knowledgeable staff, author readings and book signings...
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1517 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA
$$$$
One of Washington's most beloved independent bookstores, Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café is just as much a D.C. institution as the city's historic monuments. Opened in 1976, Kramerbooks was the first bookstore/café in the United...
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2467 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA
Idle Time Books is a long standing fixture in the Adams Morgan neighborhood having been in operation since 1981. Although it’s a small store, Idle Time carries a sizeable selection of quality used, recent and out-of-print books, as well as vintage...
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2000 P St NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA
I think I’m one of the few people on the planet who does not own a Kindle. Don’t get me wrong, I read plenty of content online but when it comes to books, I’m old school – I like to run my fingers across the covers, feel the pages and actually be...
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657 C St SE, Washington, DC 20003, USA
Like many people these days, I do a lot of my reading either online or on an electronic device of some sort. But every now and again, I have the urge to open up a book and thumb through the pages. I especially love the soft feel of worn pages and...
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101 Independence Ave SE, Washington, DC 20540, USA
FREE
Established in 1800, the Library of Congress is the oldest federal institution in the United States. The library was destroyed by British troops just 14 years after its conception, and Congress used Thomas Jefferson’s collection of 6,487...
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3160 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20010, USA
Established in 1925 in the diverse Mount Pleasant neighborhood, this public library was one of three in DC funded by the steel magnate Andrew Carnegie and is the third oldest public library still in use in the city. Today, over 50,000 books and...