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Tours and Research Orientations

Online Orientations

Online video research orientations by Local History & Genealogy reference specialists:

Onsite Orientations at the Library of Congress

To acquaint readers with the genealogical resources of the Library of Congress, Local History and Genealogy reference specialists conduct group tours or orientations. Requests for such tours must be made well in advance so that a staff member can be assigned to provide the orientation or tour or can be available to answer questions if a formal tour is not necessary. If possible, the group's leader should conduct a preliminary session on the Library's services and collections before the group arrives. Upon request, the Library will furnish materials for use in such a session. It is particularly important for the group to know that the bookstacks are closed to the public and that no genealogy or local history books may be borrowed unless they are on microfilm and the Library holds a master negative. Anyone who wishes to arrange a tour or who has questions about the Library's services to genealogists should call the Local History and Genealogy section at 202-707-5537.

Orientation classes, taught by reference librarians, are offered regularly. The "Resources for Genealogical Research at the Library of Congress" course is designed as a basic introduction for genealogical researchers using the Library of Congress collections. Each session includes an introduction to genealogical research: what it is and what it involves; the Local History and Genealogy resources and collections: compiled family histories, local histories, city directories, telephone books, the reference collection, how to search the Library's online catalog, and an overview of automated resources on the Internet. How to locate published census schedules and indexes, ship passenger lists, military service and pension records, military lists and registers, cemetery records, church records and registers, court records, land records, and registers of births will be included. The orientation classes are offered by the Local History and Genealogy reference staff on the following Wednesday mornings:


March 11 and 25
April 8 and 22
May 6 and 20
June 3 and 17
July 8 and 22
August 5 and 19
September 16 and 30
October 14 and 28
November 18
December 2 and 16

Orientation sessions will run from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Research orientation sessions will commence in the Main Reading Room, LJ-100 of the Thomas Jefferson Building. For additional information, or to register for a class, call the Local History and Genealogy section at (202) 707-5537 Monday-Saturday between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. You can also register via an online registration form.

Please come to the Library by 9:30 a.m. to apply for a Reader Registration Card (picture identification required). The Reader Registration Station is located in Room LM 140 on the first floor of the Madison Building, near the Independence Avenue entrance. The Madison Building can also be entered on the ground floor through the C Street SE entrance.

The Humanities and Social Sciences Division periodically offers a 90-minute research orientation for first-time users. This course is a general introduction to the Library of Congress collections and resources. More information and a schedule of research orientations is available in the Library of Congress publication Information for Researchers.


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  February 26, 2015
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