Rare Book Policy
The Library of Congress Asian Division Policy and Procedures for
Access and Use of Rare Materials
Asian Division rare materials are accessible by appointment only. All researchers requesting rare materials
are required to write, email, or telephone the Asian Division prior
to their visits as advance notice is needed to retrieve rare items
for research use.
Reference Desk Telephone: (202) 707-5426
Fax: (202) 707-1724
Mailing Address: Asian Division, The Library of Congress, 101 Independence
Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 20540-4810
- The prospective user of
rare materials should be engaged in scholarly research.
- The prospective user of
rare materials must obtain an LC reader registration
ID card in LM 140 before visiting the Asian reading room
(LJ 150). For more information on reader registration see:
- The researcher must check
personal belongings in a Library cloakroom and may bring only
materials essential to research into the reading room. There are two cloakrooms in the Jefferson
Building. They are both located on the ground level. One
is near the Visitor's Center at the First Street entrance
and the other is on the Second Street (South) side. No outerwear
(raincoats, overcoats) is allowed in the reading room. For
a list of materials that may not be brought into the Asian
reading room, see the Library's Personal Belongings Policy
- Once in the Asian reading room, the researcher must sign
in at the reference
desk and show a reader registration ID card.
- The researcher should write or email the Asian Division to set up an appointment with the reference librarian responsible for the subject area to access rare items for research use. Specific research interest and the rare material needed for this research should be indicated in the writing communication. If a surrogate copy is available (such as a photocopy, microfilm, microfiche, or digital image), it will be provided in lieu of the actual rare materials unless a librarian has determined that there is a compelling reason for the researcher to consult the originals. For top tier rare materials, an approval from the Chief of the Asian Division is required.
- The researcher must fill out the Asian Reading Room Rare Books Request form. The researcher must also read and sign the Asian Reading Room Registration
and Agreement form on a daily basis.
- The copying of rare materials
in the Asian Division is normally not allowed. As a general
rule, the Asian Division does not permit the copying of
any material whose age or physical condition is such that
photocopying, scanning, photographing, or microfilming might
cause damage to the material. Under special conditions,
however, a librarian may give permission for original rare
materials to be copied - photocopied, scanned, photographed
(digital or film-based), or microfilmed on a case-by-case
basis. In cases of uncertainty, the librarian will seek
the advice of the chief and/or conservation staff. If a rare
item has already been microfilmed or a facsimile exists,
a researcher may order a reproduction of the microfilm or
facsimile through the Library's Photoduplication Service
(PDS). PDS operates on a fee-for-service basis. For details
on ordering and pricing call (202) 707-5640 or see
//www.loc.gov/duplicationservices/. Each researcher is responsible for gaining permission from the relevant copyright holder prior to making any use of the materials.
- The researcher is required
to consult the rare material at the rare book table closest
to the reference desk in the Asian reading room, under the
supervision of a reference librarian or Area Specialist
at the reference desk. The researcher may be asked to use
book cradles and weights to hold up the rare material and should
comply with this request. Please consult the guide on Handling
- Rare materials are not to be left unattended anywhere
in the reading room for any length of time. When the researcher is temporarily away for short periods
of time such as lunch, restroom, break, or telephone call,
etc., the researcher should return the rare
material to the person on duty at the reference desk.
- When the researcher is finished with the rare material
for the day, it is again checked by the issuing, distributing,
or designated staff member and one other staff for its physical condition and
completeness and he or she then signs the original request
form while the researcher is still in the reading room.