Exterior view. Doors, east entrance. Sculpted bronze figures by Lee Lawrie. Library of Congress John Adams Building, Washington, D.C. , Carol Highsmith, photographer

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General Information

Persons using the Library’s facilities and reading rooms must conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the purposes and functions of the Library of Congress and avoid detrimentally affecting the peace, tranquility, and good order of the Library.

Public reading rooms and research facilities are to be used only for quiet scholarly research or educational purposes requiring use of Library materials. In addition to the general standards of conduct required for anyone on the premises, those using the Library's facilities shall avoid disturbing others and shall refrain from various restricted behaviors, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • eating, drinking, or smoking where these activities are prohibited;
  • speaking loudly or making disruptive noises;
  • using any musical instrument or other device for the production or reproduction of sound;
  • interfering, by offensive personal hygiene, with the use of the area by another person;
  • spitting, defecating, urinating, or similar disruptive activities;
  • intentionally damaging any items from the Library's collections or any items of Library property (see below, Protection of Library Materials and Government Property); and
  • running, sliding down banisters, blocking crowd circulation, or otherwise causing disruption to operations and activities.

Protection of Library Materials and Government Property

Persons in violation of federal laws and Library regulations relating to the Library's property, including its collections, are subject to removal from the premises, to arrest, and to any additional penalties prescribed by law. Under federal statutes, any person who shall steal, wrongfully deface, injure, mutilate, tear, or destroy Library materials, or any portion thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $2,000 or imprisoned not more than 3 years, or both (18 USC 641; 18 USC 1361; 18 USC 2071; and 22 D.C. Code 3306). Federal statutes provide further that any person who embezzles, steals, purloins, or, without authority, disposes of anything of value of the United States, or willfully injures or commits any depredation against any government property, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both; but if the value of such property does not exceed the sum of $100, he shall be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than one year or both (18 USC 641 and 18 USC 1361).

Any instance of mutilation or theft of Library materials or other Library property may be prosecuted in accordance with the provisions of applicable statutes. In addition to arrest and prosecution by appropriate authorities pursuant to law, persons violating the rules and regulations prescribed by the Librarian of Congress which provide for the protection of Library property shall be subject to:

  • Suspension, revocation, or other curtailment of reader or borrower privileges; or
  • Restriction of further access to the Library buildings and use of its reader and reference services and other facilities.

In addition, any person who wrongfully defaces, injures, mutilates, tears, or destroys
Library materials, or any portion thereof, shall be required to replace such material either in kind or make restitution to the Library of Congress for the cost of replacement or necessary restoration.