Readers in the Main Reading Room at the Library of Congress, Photo by Carol Highsmith

Back to Researchers Home

General Guidelines

Personal Belongings in Library Buildings

Individuals should limit the amount of personal property they bring into the Library.  Certain prohibited items cannot be brought into Library buildings.  Dangerous weapons are prohibited items and include, but are not limited to, firearms, explosives, knives, razors, and box-cutters.  In addition, oversized (not exceeding 25"W x 15"H) suitcases or bags that will not fit on the x-ray conveyor belts are prohibited.  No provisions are made for checking or holding prohibited items.

Personal Belongings in Research Areas

The Library’s reading rooms restrict the type of personal belongings that researchers may bring with them.  Items that may NOT be brought into these research areas include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Briefcases and cases for other equipment (laptop computers)
  • Computers larger than laptop size
  • Containers larger than 9.5" x 6.25" (includes paper bags, boxes, backpacks, shopping bags, sleeping bags, etc.)
  • Food and/or Drinks (includes bottled water); Food or drink containers
  • Handbags or purses larger than 9.5" x 6.25"
  • Luggage
  • Musical instruments and their cases
  • Newspapers
  • Outerwear (such as raincoats and overcoats)
  • Pets [Note: exception for service animals, i.e., any guide dog or signal dog that is trained to provide a service to a person with a disability]
  • Photocopiers larger than hand-held
  • Scissors or other cutting implements
  • Televisions
  • Umbrellas

Cloakrooms

The Library operates 3 cloakrooms for researchers and visitors to its Capitol Hill campus. <View map>

  • Madison Building: The Madison Cloakroom (LM140)
    • Monday - Thursday: 8:30 AM - 9:00 PM
    • Friday and Saturday: 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
  • Jefferson Building: The Jefferson West Cloakroom (located at the West Entrance)
    • Monday - Thursday: 8:30 AM - 9:00 PM
    • Friday and Saturday: 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
  • Jefferson Building: The Jefferson East Cloakroom (located at the Southeast Entrance) is currently closed.

Duffle bags, oversized luggage and large storage bags are not permitted in the cloakroom. Checked items must be removed when leaving the reading rooms. No overnight storage is allowed. The Library reserves the right to refuse items for storage.

Special Note for Researchers using the Jefferson Cloakrooms: If you plan to stay into the evening (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday), please use the Jefferson East Cloakroom. The West Cloakroom closes at 5 p.m.; therefore, you must retrieve your items before 5 p.m. and move them to the East Cloakroom.

Adams Building: Science and Business Reading Room

Researchers using the Science and Business Reading Room must enter through LA-500 and show a valid Reader Identification Card. Science and Business Reading Room Researchers must use a free, self-service locker to store the following personal items:

  • Briefcases, laptop bags, and cases for other equipment
  • Computers or monitors larger than laptop size
  • Containers larger than 9.5" x 6.25" (includes paper bags, boxes, backpacks, shopping bags, sleeping bags, etc.)
  • Food and/or drinks, which must be in an air tight and sealed container
  • Handbags or purses larger than 9.5" x 6.25"
  • Musical instruments and their cases
  • Newspapers
  • Outerwear (such as raincoats and jackets)
  • Scissors or other cutting implements
  • Umbrellas

Prohibited items that cannot be brought into the Library’s Building:

  • Oversized (not exceeding 25″W x 15″H) suitcases or bags that will not fit on the x-ray conveyor belts
  • Dangerous weapons that include, but are not limited to, firearms, explosives, knives, razors, and box-cutters.

The guard post or LOC staff can refuse items to be stored in lockers based on unsanitary or uncleanliness of items.

No overnight storage is allowed. The Library reserves the right to refuse items for storage. Items left overnight will be turned over to the Lost and Found.

Personal scanners must be approved by Science, Technology & Business Division management for use in the Reading Room.

Items that are larger than lockers must be taken to one of the Library’s two cloakrooms located in the Madison or Jefferson Buildings. Note: Duffle bags, oversized luggage and large storage bags are NOT permitted in the cloakroom.

Safeguarding Your Personal Property

As in any other public situation, researchers in the Library must exercise care to safeguard their personal property.  Valuable property, particularly handbags and computers, should never be left unattended in the reading rooms or elsewhere in the Library.

The Library is not responsible for the loss of personal property brought into the buildings.  All instances of loss should be reported immediately to the U.S. Capitol Police, located in Room LM-G12 in the Madison Building (view maps and floor plans).  Alternatively, a researcher may inform a reading room staff member, who can contact the U.S. Capitol Police for on-site response.