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For Researchers

Library of Congress Welcomes the Return of Researchers with Scheduled Appointments

The Library of Congress is gradually reopening its doors with enhanced procedures and requirements that prioritize the health and safety of Library employees and users. We’re excited to welcome you at one of our 16 reading rooms, and look forward to making your visit a success. We ask that researchers interested in using the Reading Rooms for research do the following:

  • Check the information below for the current public hours of the reading room you are interested in.
  • Schedule a research appointment by calling the phone number of the reading room you need to do research in, or by using our online Ask-a-Librarian service. Researchers are encouraged to make appointments at least 24 hours in advance. Library staff will confirm the date and time of your scheduled appointment.
  • Get a new reader card, if you don’t have one, or renew your reader card, if yours is expired. A Library of Congress Reader Card is required to use the reading rooms and pre-registration should be completed online.
  • Read the Library's ‘Know Before You Go’ Checklist before your scheduled visit.

During your time at the Library, you must:

  • Bring proof of your appointment for entry into the Library’s buildings
  • 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.

Appointments are available between the hours of 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and 1:00 pm - 4:00 p.m., Monday - Friday to all the reading rooms listed below. Select reading rooms are also open for Saturday appointments between the hours of 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and 1:00 pm - 4:00 p.m., and these rooms are indicated below. Please note, not all reading room provide Saturday hours.

  • African and Middle Eastern: Call (202) 707-4188 for appointments
  • American Folklife Center: Call (202) 707-5510 for appointments
  • Asian Division: Call (202) 707-5426 for appointments
  • European: Call (202) 707-4515 for appointments
  • Geography & Map: Call (202) 707-6277 (MAPS) for appointments
  • Hispanic: Call (202) 707-5397 for appointments
  • Law Library: Call (202) 707-5079 for appointments (includes Saturday appointments)
  • Main Reading Room: Call (202) 707-3399 for appointments (includes Saturday appointments)
  • Manuscript: Call (202) 707-5387 for appointments (includes Saturday appointments)
  • Microform and Electronic Resources Center (MERC): Call (202) 707-3399 for appointments (includes Saturday appointments)
  • Moving Image: Call (202) 707-8572 for appointments
  • Newspaper & Current Periodical: Call (202) 707-5690 for appointments (includes Saturday appointments)
  • Performing Arts/Music: Call (202) 707-5507 for appointments (includes Saturday appointments)
  • Prints and Photographs: Call (202) 707-6394 for appointments
  • Rare Books and Special Collections: Call (202) 707-3448 for appointments
  • Recorded Sound: Call (202) 707-7833 for appointments
  • Science and Business: Call (202) 707-5639 for appointments (includes Saturday appointments)

At this time, reading rooms will remain closed for evening hours.

NOTE: Due to construction in the Adams Building, the Science and Business Reading Room will provide reference service in the Jefferson Building - Main Reading Room until further notice.

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. These protocols are mandatory, regardless of vaccination status. 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. 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.

Researchers with a confirmed reading room appointment may renew or receive their reader card between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday-Saturday, on the same day as their confirmed appointment.

Pre-registration is recommended for those who need a new reader card. No reader cards will be issued without a confirmed reading room appointment.

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. As conditions allow, the Library will continue to provide access to 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.

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).

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.gov, Ask 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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