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Research Center Law Library of Congress

Services

Reference Services

The Law Library provides research assistance and reference services on U.S. federal and state legal issues to researchers. A staff of law librarians are available to help you during your visit to the Law Library Reading Room. Our law librarians can:

  • Advise researchers on efficient and effective research techniques;
  • Provide guidance on finding and using the Law Library’s print and electronic resources;
  • Demonstrate how to request materials for delivery to the Reading Room for onsite use; and
  • Refer you to other Library of Congress reading rooms, or to other relevant institutions.

The Law Library reference staff cannot:

  • Provide legal advice, interpretation, or analysis;
  • Assist in preparing legal documents or in choosing specific legal forms; or
  • Perform school or work assignments, or compile bibliographies or legislative histories.

The Law Library also offers online and in-person classes on using its collections, performing legal research, and navigating Congress.gov. To learn more, visit our Legal Research Institute.

Copying, Printing, and Scanning Services

Researchers may use the photocopiers in the Reading Room to make photocopies, scan to email, or to print materials. Researchers may also scan images of material to a personal USB/flash drive, using a book scanner available in the Reading Room.

Researchers can download content from the Library’s databases to their personal USB drive through the public access computer terminals available in the Reading Room.

Library researchers are responsible for following copyright restrictions when reproducing material. Additional information on copyright law is available from the U.S. Copyright Office website.

The Library of Congress Duplication Services provides copies from the Law Library collection for a fee. Patrons must supply specific citations (title, author, number of pages) in order for material to be copied. For more information, visit the Duplication Services page.

Interlibrary Loan

The Law Library of Congress will lend certain materials to participating libraries, but not directly to individuals. Researchers should consult with their library to arrange for loans. For more information on the Library’s interlibrary loan practices please refer to the Interlibrary Loan page.

Book Retrieval Services

Items from the closed stacks, rare books, and materials in microform format can be retrieved for researchers in the Reading Room. Please consult with reference staff for assistance with retrieving these materials.

Public Computers

The Law Library Reading Room has public computers, which researchers can use to download materials to a flash drive or print to a printer in the room. These public computers provide access to the Library of Congress Online Catalog, various legal subscription databases, and the Internet. These computers do not have word processing capabilities.

Microform Collection Access

The Law Library Reading Room contains a variety of legal materials in microfiche, microfilm, and ultrafiche. The collection includes:

  • Federal bills and resolutions dating back to the 1st Congress;
  • U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs;
  • A complete set of session laws from the fifty states; and
  • A variety of foreign official gazettes and international documents.

The Law Library Reading Room provides microform readers, as well as options for reproducing the items, such as downloading to a USB flash drive.

The hours of service for accessing microform materials are 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Monday to Saturday. Requests for retrieving microform items must be submitted by 4:00 p.m.

Tours

The Law Library of Congress provides tours and briefings to visitors from around the world, including foreign government officials, government agency personnel, librarians and information specialists from other national libraries, library science students, and professionals from the legal community.

Tours of the Law Library of Congress include an orientation to the services and products of the Law Library, information about the print and electronic collections, and a tour of the Law Library Reading Room. Tours can be customized to accommodate specific legal subjects or professional research needs.

For additional information on tours and briefings, please email lawoutreach@loc.gov.

Location

Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave, SE
James Madison Building, LM 242
Washington, DC 20540-3219
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Hours

Public Hours
Monday through Saturday
8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Retrieval service ends at 4:00 p.m.
Closed Sundays & Federal Holidays