About this Reading Room
The Hispanic Reading Room is an important access point at the Library of Congress for researchers working on the Caribbean, Latin America, Spain and Portugal; the indigenous cultures of those areas; and peoples throughout the world historically influenced by Luso-Hispanic heritage, including the Latina/o/e/x community in the United States. Staff in the Hispanic Reading Room recommend collection items in all formats from and about these regions in collaboration with colleagues throughout the General and Special Collections. This work has resulted in millions of physical and digital items cared for and served in nearly every reading room at the Library of Congress. While some items are accessible to the public digitally, many require research at the Library of Congress. Staff in the Hispanic Reading Room work with professors, students, writers, educators, librarians, researchers and creatives worldwide to facilitate access to collection items and research services through instructive reference, bibliographic outreach, curated recordings, podcasts and collaborative projects.
The Hispanic Reading Room was the first of the Area Studies reading rooms at the Library, founded in 1939 as a center for the pursuit of studies in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American culture. The space is a creative tribute to Hispanic and Lusophone culture – with four tempera murals by Brazilian modernist Cândido Portinari, high vaulted ceilings, Talavera tiles from Puebla, Mexico, wood paneled alcoves, wrought iron accents, and nameplates celebrating select Luso-Hispanic literary greats. A steel canvas with a painted interpretation of Columbus’ coat of arms sits above the foundational stone dedicating this space as the Hispanic Foundation in the Library of Congress thanks in part to the vision of Archer M. Huntington, whose endowment continues to support the Hispanic Reading Room. This space welcomes the collaborative genius of researchers and creatives to engage with and share the Library’s collections in projects like the Handbook of Latin American Studies and the PALABRA Archive. Become a friend of the Hispanic Reading Room. (https://www.loc.gov/philanthropy/online-donation/fund select the Hispanic – Archer M. Huntington Society)