April 23, 2008 Library of Congress Opens Main Reading Room to Researchers Age 16 and Older

Press Contact: Matt Raymond (202) 707-0020
Public Contact: Victoria C. Hill (202) 707-5530

The Library of Congress today announced that the minimum age for use of the Main Reading Room to access the Library’s physical collections for research purposes has been lowered to 16. The previous requirement was that researchers be above high school age. “The Library of Congress is always looking for ways to create new lifelong learners, to expand access to knowledge and to spark the creativity of future generations,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “We want people of all ages to be aware of the almost limitless resources that are available in libraries, including their de facto national library, especially at a time when the amount of information online still represents only a tiny fraction of the sum total of human knowledge.” According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 8 million 16- and 17-year-olds living in the United States. Public users of Library of Congress reading rooms are required to have a reader identification card issued by the Library. The cards are free and can be obtained by presenting a government-issued picture identification card, such as a driver’s license, passport or other valid ID. Researchers must register in person at the Reader Registration Station, located in room 140 of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. Hours are 8:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, and 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. The Library cannot accept registrations via mail, telephone or the Internet. For more information on the Library’s reading rooms, visit www.loc.gov/rr/. The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Founded in 1800, the Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibits. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its Web site at www.loc.gov.


PR 08-069
ISSN 0731-3527