The Library's reading rooms and special collections are described here, with
links to their Internet home pages.
African and Middle
Eastern Reading Room. Provides reference services pertaining to publications
of all areas of Africa south of the Sahara. Materials in the Middle Eastern
languages (e.g., Arabic) are also serviced here.
Asian Reading Room.
Provides reference services for and access to all materials, except law, in
the languages of China, Japan, Korea, and southern Asia.
Services. With a reference collection of over 20,000 volumes, provides
assistance in the fields of business and economics. Materials from the general
collections that are housed in the Adams Building may be requested at the
adjacent book service area.
Room. Provides reference services and programs pertaining to the cultural,
political, and socioeconomic life of all areas of Europe except the British
Isles, Spain, and Portugal.
Room. A section of the American Folklife Center, the reading room provides
access to the Library's extensive collection of non-book folklore materials.
Map Reading Room. Provides reference assistance for and access to special
collections on geography and cartography, including the largest map collection
in the world--over four million pieces.
Room. Offers reference and bibliographic services pertaining to Spain,
Portugal, Brazil, the Caribbean, and Spanish-speaking America.
La Follette Congressional Reading Room. Reserved
for use by Members of Congress, their families, and their staff members.
Law Library Reading
Room. Provides reference assistance and access to the Law Library collection,
one of the most comprehensive collections of legal materials ever developed,
in all languages and covering all legal systems, from ancient to modern. International
and foreign law service is provided through the reading room or in specialized
and Genealogy Reading Room. Provides reference assistance and access to
comprehensive collections in the fields of U.S. local history, genealogy,
Main Reading Room. Magnificently
renovated, this historic room is, through its catalogs, the primary entrance
into the Library's research collections, and the principal reading room for
work in the social sciences and humanities. It provides access to and assistance
in using approximately 70,000 volumes of print reference works, a wide variety
of CD-ROM and online databases, and a number of bibliographies
and guides to the Library's collections. Portable computers are permitted
in the reading room; electrical outlets are provided, but the Library does
not currently have facilities for portable computers to be connected to the
Room. Makes available for inspection and study over thirty-five million
manuscripts and documents, including the personal papers of twenty-three presidents
and the papers of such other great Americans as Clara Barton, Alexander Graham
Bell, Felix Frankfurter, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John J. Pershing,
Booker T. Washington, and Walt Whitman.
Room. Provides delivery of, and facilities for viewing, items from the
Library's general microform collection of over four-and-one-half-million pieces.
These holdings include preservation monographs and serials, as well as specialized
collections containing early imprints, manuscripts, early state records, pamphlets,
doctoral dissertations, dramas, statistical publications, press summaries,
transcripts and/or translations, trade catalogs, inventories of libraries
and archives, biographies, and oral histories. The materials available cover
all subject areas, but focus on the humanities and social sciences.
and Television Reading Room. Offers reference service for the Library's
collections of films and television materials. Access to items in the collections
is restricted to scholars doing research beyond the undergraduate level.
National Library Service for the Blind
and Physically Handicapped (1291 Taylor Street NW, Washington, D.C.).
Through a national network of regional and subregional libraries (including
libraries in Washington, D.C., and suburban Maryland and Virginia, for Washington
area users) this part of the Library serves those who cannot use ordinary
printed materials because of blindness or other disabilities (certified by
competent authority). The National Library Service also provides direct service
for music materials, and maintains a collection of print reference materials
on non-medical aspects of blindness and physical handicaps.
Newspaper and Current
Periodical Reading Room. Provides reference assistance and access to all
newspapers, current and retrospective, whether in print or microform, and
in languages using Roman script, excluding all issues in Asian and Middle
Eastern languages and all current issues of Slavic-alphabet materials. This
reading room also provides access to current unbound issues of serials and
periodicals except those in music and law, with the same language restrictions
indicated above. Current and retrospective federal documents in the U.S. Depository
Library Program are also available, along with United Nations depository materials,
both current and retrospective.
Reading Room. Provides reference assistance for and access to music materials
in the custody of the Music Division, including rare books and manuscripts,
special collections of personal and organization archives, printed scores,
literature about music, and microforms. Major holdings include manuscripts
by virtually all important composers from the eighteenth century to the present,
opera full scores, vocal scores, and librettos, and American popular sheet
music. Facilities for audio playback of sound recordings are available in
conjunction with the reference service offered in a contiguous reading room,
the Recorded Sound Reference Center.
Prints and Photographs
Reading Room. Provides reference assistance and delivery of materials
for pictorial items such as prints, drawings, posters, photographs, fine and
graphic arts, and pictorial documentation of American history and American
Rare Book and
Special Collections Reading Room. Offers reference assistance for and
access to rare books, rare Bibles, incunabula, Americana, broadsides and pamphlets,
and special collections in such areas as gastronomy, Lincolniana, and magic.
The division also houses the libraries of such persons as Susan B. Anthony,
Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt (his hunting library), and Woodrow Wilson.
Reference Center. Provides reference assistance pertaining to sound recordings,
including radio, and access to the Library's vast audio collections. Commercial
recording highlights include extensive opera, chamber music, and American
popular music collections. Significant radio collections include material
from NBC Radio, National Public Radio, and the British Broadcasting Corporation.
Room. Provides reference service in all fields of science and technology,
with a reference collection of over 10,000 volumes and access to all major
indexing and abstracting services in the fields of science and technology.
Current issues of selected science journals and a large technical reports
collection are also available. In addition, LC
Science Tracer Bullets, bibliographies on subjects of current interest,
are distributed here.