Inside the main building of the Library of Congress, visitors have the opportunity to view the main reading room. The main reading room is located directly below the dome of the building. The 23 caret gold-plated dome, ornate architecture, and interior design is based on the Paris Opera House. This room is the hub of the congressional library system. Stained glass windows sit just below the dome of the building and accent the marble interior, the intricate column, and balcony design. The character of the building reflects desire of Congress to construct a building that is the largest and safest library in the world.
Public access to the main reading room is restricted. Individuals wishing to do research at the library must go through an approval process. As they enter the main reading room, they are screened and must leave restricted items in the cloakrooms. Named after President Thomas Jefferson, the building is located across the street from the grounds of the U.S. Capitol.