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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 an independent bookstore popular for its knowledgeable staff, author readings and book signings, occasional trivia nights, and a café that's been serving organic fare since...
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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 has been an Adams Morgan fixture since 1981 and carries a quality selection of used, recent, and out-of-print books, as well as vintage greeting cards, newspapers, records, and CDs. The best way to explore this little gem of a...
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2000 P St NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA
When I lived in the Dupont Circle neighborhood, I would go to Second Story to check their sales carts. I still love spending time here, especially as the store has been cleaned up and the collections much better organized. You can find current...
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657 C St SE, Washington, DC 20003, USA
Capitol Hill Books looks more like a hoarder's basement than a bookstore. It's not the best place to pick up the latest bestseller, but it is exceptional for its collection of rare books, as well as its snarky, not-so-subtle opinions about various...
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101 Independence Ave SE, Washington, DC 20540, USA
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...