Frequently Asked Questions
How do I...
know which materials I may request in the reading room?
You may request ALL materials from the Library's general collections, except
for certain materials that are restricted to their own specialized reading
rooms (Rare Books, Prints and Photographs, Music, etc.).
find reference materials for European countries I don't see represented
in the reading room?
Because there is not room for all of the materials in the reading room itself,
part of the reference collection is housed in an adjacent stack area, Deck
13. The reference librarian can show you where it is.
find reference materials on Spain or Portugal?
For reference materials on these countries, visit the Hispanic
Reading Room, in Room
240 of this building.
find reference materials on Turkey?
For reference materials on Turkey, visit the African
and Middle Eastern Reading Room, in Room
220 of this building.
find reference materials on the United Kingdom or Ireland?
For reference materials on these countries, visit the Main
Reading Room, in Room
100 of this building.
find reference materials on the former Soviet republics of Central Asia
or the Caucasus?
Responsibility for reference materials on these countries is divided between
the European Reading Room and the African
and Middle Eastern Reading Room, in Room
220 of this building, based on language. Consult the reference librarian
to determine the location of the item(s) for which you are looking.
find reference materials on European law or legal matters?
To use these reference materials, visit the Law
Library Reading Room, in Room
201 of the Madison Building.
find out what materials are in the Library's collections?
The Library's online catalog, available on public workstations in the reading room or via the Internet, allows you to search the Library's collections in several different ways (by title, author, subject, etc.). The reference librarian can show you how to use this system.
request materials from the Library's general collections?
To request materials from the Library's general collections, you first must have a Library of Congress Reader Identification Card. To make your request, use the Library's online catalog and follow the instructions on the "Quick Guide to Call Slip Requests for Readers in the European Reading Room" card located at the reading room's public workstations. The reference librarian can assist you. If the materials you have requested are available for use, we will deliver them to the designated pick-up location in the reading room.
get a Reader Identification Card?
To get a Reader Identification Card, go to the Reader Registration Station, located in room LM-140, in the James Madison Building. There, upon completion of a simple self-registration process and presentation of a valid driver's license, state-issued identification card, or passport, the station attendant will check the information, take an identification photo, and issue the printed plastic card to the reader. The entire process normally takes less than ten minutes to complete. Reader Identification Cards are valid for two years from the date of issue.
find out which newspapers and periodicals are available in the reading
The reading room's holdings include issues of Slavic and Baltic newspapers and periodicals for the current and past year. Other current periodicals are available in the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room, located in Room 133 of the Madison Building.
request current issues of newspapers or periodicals (from the last two
years or so)?
The latest issues of many newspapers and periodicals held by the reading room are located in racks within the reading room. To request less recent issues of these titles, or to request titles that are not displayed in the reading room, fill out a yellow "Request for Current Newspapers & Serials and Newspapers on Microfilm" form located in holders on top of the shelves in the reading room. Submit this form to the reference librarian, and the materials will be brought to you.
request older issues of journals or periodicals?
Issues of journals and periodicals more than two years old are usually either
bound or on microfilm. To obtain bound issues, locate the record for the
title you want in the electronic catalog, then click on the request icon
and use option B (serials). Older issues of some periodical titles are on
microfilm. You must view microfilm of periodicals in the Microform
Reading Room, in Room
139B of this building.
request older issues of Slavic or Baltic newspapers on microfilm?
A card catalog at the reference desk identifies the European Reading Room's
titles and holdings. To request the microfilm, fill out a "Request for Current
Newspapers & Serials and Newspapers on Microfilm" form and include the
newspaper title(s), year(s) or issue(s), and microfilm number. You are limited
to 12 reels at one time.
access the reading room's other microfilm holdings?
See: Special Projects
use the European Research Document Collection?
The European Research Document Collection, a collection of pamphlets, documents, and gray literature, is located on Deck 13 (on the third aisle on the left). The index to all these items is located in the reading room.
use the Economist Intelligence Unit yearly statistical reports on countries covered by the European Reading Room?
The statistical reports held in the reading room can be found in the rack located behind the reference desk.
reserve materials (including microfilm)?
To reserve materials for up to three working days, put a green "Reserve Slip" form in each item, bookmark style, so that it is easily visible, and place your materials on the reserve shelves in the reading room. To reserve materials for more than three days, you may apply for a study shelf if you plan to use the reading room regularly (at least once a week).
apply for a study shelf?
Ask the reference librarian for a copy of the study shelf rules and a form
to request a study shelf. Return the completed form to the reference desk.
Study shelves are located on Deck 13, an adjacent stack area.
make copies of materials?
The reading room has one copy machine, located across the reading room from the reference desk. This machine does NOT take either coins or paper money, only LC copy cards. Each exposure on the copy machine costs twenty cents.
get an LC copy card?
The copy card vending machine closest to the reading room can be found in the Main Reading Room, in Room 100 of this building. You must start with AT LEAST one dollar to buy a copy card. Of that first dollar, the first sixty cents pays for the card itself, leaving the remainder available for copying. If you add money to a card you already have, all of the added money will be credited to the card for copying.
continue working with materials when the reading room is closed?
You may continue to work with materials, either from the reading room or from the Library's general collections, when the reading room is closed, but only on the evenings when the Main Reading Room (Room 100 of this building) is open until 9:30pm (Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday), or on Saturdays, when the Main Reading Room is open 8:30am-5:00pm. Ask the reference librarian in the European Reading Room to have your materials brought down to the Main Reading Room, to the European Division shelf in Alcove 7. When you have finished using your materials, return them to this same shelf. On the next working day, ask the European Reading Room librarian to have your materials brought up from the Main Reading Room.
know what I can bring into the reading room?
The Library's security policy imposes restrictions on what belongings may be brought into its reading rooms in order to maintain a scholarly atmosphere and to protect Library materials better. For a list of what is, and is not, allowed in the reading rooms, ask the reference librarian for a copy of the Library's Personal Belongings Policy. Items that are not permitted in the reading rooms must be checked in at one of the cloakrooms.
find the cloakrooms?
There are two cloakrooms in this building, both located on the Ground Floor. One, equipped with lockers, is located in Room G-39C, just inside the researchers' entrance on the Second Street side of the building. The other cloakroom is located in the Visitors' Center on the First Street side of the building. The cloakrooms close fifteen minutes after the Main Reading Room, which closes at 9:30pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and at 5:00pm on Tuesday, Fridays, and Saturdays.
find the restrooms?
The restrooms nearest the reading room are located on the Second Floor, off the elevator lobby outside the Hispanic Reading Room.
The Library's largest food facility is the cafeteria located on the
6th floor of the Madison Building. Once you are on the 6th
floor, you will see signs directing you to the cafeteria, which is open
to the public Monday-Friday, 12:30pm-3:00pm. The Library's coffee shop is
located in Room
G-47, on the Ground Floor of the Madison Building. It is open to the
public 9:00am-10:30am and 12:30pm-3:00pm Monday-Friday, and 8:00am-2:00pm
on Saturday. The vending machines in the snack bar adjacent to the
coffee shop are available during the Library's regular business hours.
find a map of the Library?
Map & Floor Plans
find information about the Library's other reading rooms?
Research and Reference Services