Visit Menu

Guidelines & Tips

Library of Congress guests are asked to follow some general guidelines:

  • Please dispose of all food, drink, and chewing gum, and turn off cell phones and other electronic devices before touring the Library.'
  • Be prepared to pass through airport-like security as you enter the Library and to present all packages, purses, backpacks, etc., for inspection as you exit.
  • Please do not block doorways, stairwells, or corridors or sit on stairs or floors. Seating is provided throughout the building.
  • Watch your step. The stairs and floors can be uneven. Always use handrails when ascending and descending stairs.
  • Please respect any areas that may be roped off.
  • Please observe restrictions on photography.'Photography is permitted, EXCEPT at the Bibles, in the Main Reading Room overlook, and in the exhibitions.
  • Please inquire at the Ground Floor Information Desk for information about doing research at the Library. Only researchers may enter the Library's Reading Rooms.
  • In the event of an emergency, please move towards the nearest exit and follow police and emergency staff directions.
  • Chaperones must remain with student groups at all times. The Library asks that one adult accompany every eight students. Chaperones should review these guidelines with their groups before touring the Library and must ensure the group maintains orderly behavior during the visit.

Useful information guests should know prior to arrival:

Metro:

The closest Metro stations are Capitol South (Blue/Orange Line - a two-block walk) or Union Station (Red Line - a half-mile walk).

Parking:

The Library does not provide parking. Limited metered and two-hour zoned parking is available in the surrounding neighborhoods. Public parking lots are also available, with the largest being at Union Station.

Admissions and Ticketing:

Admission to the Library is free and no tickets are required.

Upon Arrival:

Begin a visit to the Library of Congress in the Thomas Jefferson Building. Enter the building through the main doors at the top of the grand staircase, facing First Street S.E. Upon arrival, visitors can request information from the volunteers at the Orientation Gallery where they can also view a slide show of the Library in action. Here, they can find out about guided and self-guided tour options, exhibitions, and the many public programs that the Library sponsors.

Tours:

The Library of Congress offers hour-long, fully accessible docent-led tours of the historic Thomas Jefferson Building. During your tour, you will learn about the building's symbolic art and architecture and view the grandeur of the Main Reading Room. Check in is at the Ground Floor Information Desk. Please note that guided tours are not required to visit the Library; visitors are welcome to take a self-guided tour of the Great Hall and Exhibitions. Public tour schedule or brochures for self-guided visits are available at the Information Desks.

The Library is closed New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

Shop:

The Library of Congress Shop offers unique items from the Library's wide collection, which includes exhibit related items, facsimiles, souvenirs, prints and photographs, and books for the whole family. Come share the gift of knowledge and support the Library's mission of preservation and education! Located in the Thomas Jefferson Building on the Ground Floor. Hours are Monday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on federal holidays. The Library is closed New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. Phone: (202) 707-3895

Cloakroom:

The Library operates 3 cloakrooms for researchers and visitors to its Capitol Hill campus.' Madison Building (LM140) cloakroom is open Monday through Saturday when the reading rooms are open.' Jefferson Building:' Cloakrooms are located on the Ground Floor of the Jefferson Building. The Daytime Cloakroom (at the West Entrance) is open Monday through Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.' The Evening Cloakroom (at the Southeast Entrance) is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 5 p.m. to 9:45 p.m.

Duffle bags, oversized luggage and large storage bags are not permitted in the cloakroom. Checked items must be removed when leaving the reading rooms. No overnight storage is allowed. The Library reserves the right to refuse items for storage.

Special Note for Researchers with checked items in the Jefferson Building: If you will be here during the day and into the evening you must retrieve your items from the Daytime Cloakroom before 5 and move them to the Evening Cloakroom at 5 p.m