Collections

From its opening on January 22, 1900, the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room has provided researchers with access to the library’s vast collections held by the Serials and Government Publications Division. The division holds one of the most comprehensive collections of newspapers in the world, the largest publicly available comic book collection in the world, scholarly journals, and popular magazines from the most recent two years, a U.S. Federal Depository Library collection, and a comprehensive United Nations documents collection.

The Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room houses an extensive reference collection comprised of over 16,000 volumes meant to support general reference and research of serial collections. The Division is also home to several Special Collections including the Historic Events Newspaper Collection, Pulp Fiction Magazine Collection, and Small Press Expo Collection, among others. Find more detailed collection overviews in our guide to conducting research: Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room: A Guide for Researchers.

Most collections are held in closed stacks and are available to request through paper call slip in the reading room or by contacting reference staff in advance through Ask-a-Librarian or by calling the reference desk: 202-707-5690.

  • Newspapers The Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room has one of the largest, most comprehensive newspaper collections in the world, and it includes major titles published in all U.S. states and territories as well as titles from most independent countries and many dependent states around the world spanning the past five centuries. Newspapers are generally held in three formats: microfilm, print, and digital. A title...
  • Current Periodicals The current periodical collection consists of more than 55,000 scholarly journal and magazine titles covering all subjects. In general, "current" refers to print issues published within the last two years. Print periodical issues older than this undergo hardcover binding or microfilming, are sent to the General Collections, and are accessible by request in the Jefferson or Adams reading rooms. The Library also subscribes to...
  • Comic Books and Pulp Magazines The largest publicly available comic book collection in the world is comprised of over 165,000 original print issues and 12,000 different titles that span 1934-present. Selected issues are held on color comic book fiche which is served in place of the original print comic book issues when available out of concern for preservation of the print collection. Reference staff can assist with identifying titles...
  • Government Documents The government documents collection includes current serial publications of U.S. federal, state, and local governments, foreign governments, and international organizations. The Serial and Government Publications Division is a selective Federal Depository Library and holds depository materials for the most recent ten years. The collections also include the Federal Advisory Committee Collection, 1972-present, and the complete United Nations documents collection, 1945-present. Government documents are held...
  • Digital Collections There are ongoing efforts to digitize and provide free online access to Library of Congress collections. In addition to these freely available online digital collections, the Library of Congress provides on-site access to a wide range of subscription databases. A list of Newspaper & Current Periodical Reading Room favorites is available through the E-Resources Catalog.
  • Web Archives The Serial and Government Publications Division collects materials through web archiving to ensure preservation and access to ephemeral, born-digital web content. Many Library of Congress web archive collections are freely available following a one-year embargo.