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For Researchers

As the Library of Congress gradually begins to reopen its Reading Rooms for research, we are putting safety first with new procedures and practices that protect everyone’s health. Those interested in using one of the Reading Rooms for research must complete a reference interview and schedule an appointment by telephone using the phone numbers listed below. Confirmed appointments are required for entry into Library facilities, and everyone must follow the health and safety protocols established by the Library, in consultation with public health professionals, and outlined below. Most of these protocols are mandatory, regardless of vaccination status. Researchers must follow all Washington, D.C. health and travel guidance requirements. Out-of-area researchers should also review the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s travel guidance (quick reference infographic).

NEW! CURRENT STATUS: The Library is currently scheduling appointments for additional reading rooms that will be available starting on June 28, 2021. The Library will provide access by appointment only between the hours of 9:30 am – 12:30 pm and 1 pm - 4 pm, Monday - Friday to the following reading rooms and centers:

  • Main Reading Room: Call (202) 707-3399 for an appointment
  • Microform and Electronic Resources Center (MERC): Call (202) 707-3399 for an appointment
  • Rare Books and Special Collections: Call (202) 707-3448 for an appointment
  • American Folklife Center: Call (202) 707-5510 for an appointment

The Library continues to provide access by appointment only between the hours of 9:30 am – 12:30 pm and 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm, Monday - Friday to the following reading rooms:

  • Law Library: Call (202) 707-5079 for appointments
  • Geography & Map: Call (202) 707-6277 (MAPS) for appointments
  • Manuscript: Call (202) 707-5387 for appointments
  • Newspaper & Current Periodical: Call (202) 707-5690 for appointments
  • Performing Arts/Music: Call (202) 707-5507 for appointments
  • Recorded Sound: Call (202) 707-7833 for appointments
  • Prints and Photographs: Call (202) 707-6394 for appointments
  • Moving Image: Call (202) 707-8572 for appointments

As additional reading rooms resume access by appointment, this page will be updated to indicate availability. At this time, reading rooms are not open on Saturdays or for evening hours. Reader Registration services in the Madison Building are open by appointment only from 8:30 am-9:30 am and 12 pm-1 pm. Reader Registration services in the Jefferson Building will be open by appointment from 8:30 am – 9:30 am and 12 pm – 1 pm beginning June 28, 2021.

Library of Congress Welcomes the Return of Researchers to the Library of Congress with Scheduled Appointments

Due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, Library of Congress is gradually reopening its doors with enhanced procedures and requirements that prioritize the health and safety of Library employees and users.

Starting May 20, 2021, guests with current Library of Congress Reader Cards and those with appointments to renew or receive new Reader Cards will be able to call the phone numbers listed above or use Ask-a-Librarian to complete a reference interview and schedule an appointment to use the selected reading rooms listed above. In order to ensure that we can accommodate everyone, we ask that researchers wait to renew their Reader Cards until they are able to schedule an appointment in one of our Reading Rooms. As conditions allow, the Library will continue to open more reading rooms and Library spaces, as part of an incremental, phased reopening plan that follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance and best practices in the Library community. 

To ensure that adequate social distancing can be maintained with the appropriate capacity limits, the Library has implemented an appointment reservation system for the Library’s reading rooms. Additional information about the Library’s enhanced health and safety protocols and phased reopening plan can be found in the ‘Know Before You Go’ Checklist.

The Library’s enhanced health and safety protocols, including mask requirements and social distancing, apply to researchers accessing Library buildings, regardless of their vaccination status.

In order to access the Library’s available reading rooms at this time, you must:

  • Make an appointment: Call the reading room number listed above or use Ask-a-Librarian to initiate your request for an appointment. Appointments must be made at least 24 hours in advance, and Library staff will confirm the date and time of your scheduled appointment
  • Confirm your current Library of Congress Reader Card: Researchers who do not have a current Reader Card must complete the online pre-registration form for a Reader Card before coming to the Library.
  • Bring your Reader Card and appointment confirmation: For access to Library facilities, researchers must show their reader cards or proof of reader card pre-registration and proof of their appointment confirmation (paper copy or on a mobile device) when arriving at the Library. Without these, researchers will not be permitted to enter Library premises.
  • Wear a mask: Everyone must wear a barrier mask or cloth face covering that fully covers the nose and mouth and fits snugly against the sides of the face when arriving at Library buildings and while they are inside the Library, including in bathrooms.
  • Follow social distancing policies: Pay attention to posted signs throughout the building to ensure physical distancing and other health precautions.
  • Comply with all health procedures: At the time an appointment is made, health screening requirements will be provided, and temperature checks and screening questions must be completed before entering the building.

Researchers requiring an ADA accommodation for their visit must make a request at least five business days before their planned appointment by contacting ADA@loc.gov or (202) 707-6024.

Researchers can also continue to access many Library resources remotely through loc.govAsk a Librarian and Congress.gov.

This page will be updated when there is new information for researchers and additional access to reading rooms is available.

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