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Guidelines

The following information is provided to assist in planning your special event at the Library of Congress. For further information, contact the Office of Special Events and Public Programs, at (202) 707-5218.

Availability of Library of Congress Facilities

Each year the Library of Congress approves a limited number of proposals from outside organizations to hold special events in Library facilities. Proposals are accepted from corporations and cultural, educational, literary or scientific non-profit organizations (as described under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code). The Library evaluates proposals on the basis of the event's relation to the Library's mission, programs or collections.

Library of Congress facilities are not available for:

  • Events scheduled between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, or for events scheduled on Sunday or holidays;
  • Events of a primarily personal, political or fund-raising nature;
  • Events where the sponsor is planning to charge admission fees, make collections, seek contributions, give door prizes, have auctions or raffles;
  • Events sponsored by organizations practicing discrimination based on race, color, creed, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, or condition of physical ability;
  • Events where the sponsor intends to use the Library facility for advertising or promoting any product or service for profit;
  • Events where the sponsor intends to conduct religious or lobbying activities, hearings, press conferences, or recurring meetings.

Reservations

Proposed events are scheduled through the Office of Special Events and Public Programs. Please call (202) 707-5218 to reserve a date and to request information on preparing and submitting an event proposal. The Library will reserve space for you conditionally, pending receipt and review of your event proposal. Your proposal must be received by the Library within four weeks of your original request for space.

Event Proposals

To apply to hold an event at the Library, submit a written proposal that includes a description of the event and the planned agenda, audience, funding, and entertainment, along with your organization's annual report and tax certificate (if claiming non-profit status). Your proposal should include the information identified in the sample proposal letter. To facilitate processing, please fax your letter to (202) 707-9898. The letter should be addressed as follows:

The Honorable James H. Billington
Librarian of Congress
The Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave., S.E.
Washington, DC 20540-1000

Your event proposal should describe an existing or suggested relationship with the Library of Congress in order for your request to be considered. Your request will be evaluated on the basis of the proposed event's relation to the Library's mission, programs, or collections. The Office of Special Events and Public Programs will notify you of the Library's decision.

Agreement, Budget and Deposit

If your event is approved, the Office of Special Events and Public Programs will provide you with a Special Events Agreement (PDF, 83KB) that identifies the terms and conditions for holding events at the Library.

As a sponsor of an event at the Library of Congress, you are responsible for all costs associated with the event. The Library has established standard administrative fees for events in different spaces within Library facilities. The budget will include both the standard rate for the space approved for your use and event-specific costs estimated based on your event proposal and event planning discussions with your point of contact.

You must return the signed agreement together with the administrative fee for your event. The due date for returning the signed agreement and advance payment and the amount of the advance payment will be specified in the agreement. Please note, if the Library does not receive your advance payment by the date identified in your agreement, we will be forced to cancel your event.

Your payment to the Library (as well as any refund following the event) will be executed via electronic funds transfer (EFT). The Library collects the data necessary for EFT on the Financial Information Request form (PDF, 52KB). If you are unable to execute an EFT, and must pay by check, please contact the Special Events Office.

Cancellations and Refunds

If you cancel your reservation more than 30 days before the date of the event, the Library will refund 75 percent of the administrative fee excluding any direct costs incurred. If you cancel the event 30 days or less before the date of the event, the Library will retain 100 percent of your administrative payment, and any direct costs incurred. The remainder of the direct costs will be refunded to you.

A reservation may be canceled at the discretion of the Librarian of Congress or if a subsequent request for the same date is received from the Congressional leadership or the White House. In these extremely rare cases, all of your payments will be refunded in full or you will be offered an alternative space and/or date.

Policies

Caterers

You may work with your preferred caterer; however, caterers not listed on our web site must be approved by the Library. Only professional, full-service caterers may be hired for events held in Library spaces. Caterers must have a certificate of insurance on file at the Library or present one upon request. You must be sure to provide your caterers and any other vendors that provide services in the Library of Congress spaces with the Library's list of contractor requirements (PDF, 31KB). The Public Programs Service Manager will review these guidelines and arrangements with your selected vendors.

Insurance

You must require vendors used for your event to provide evidence of insurance limits and to name the Library of Congress as an additional insured for the use of the facility. Such evidence of insurance may be provided by a Certificate of Insurance and must be received by the Special Events Office at least one month prior to event.

Invitations/Programs

Prior to printing, you must submit your invitation or program text for review and approval to the Office of Special Events and Public Programs.

Use of Name, Seal or Image

You may not use the Library's name, seal or image in any document without prior review and approval by the Office of Special Events and Public Programs.