Visit Menu

Guidelines & Tips

Visitor Guidelines

  • All visitors must pass through airport-like security to enter the Library.
  • The Library prohibits certain items. Weapons are prohibited and include, but are not limited to, firearms, explosives, knives, razors, and box-cutters. Suitcases larger than 25"W x 15"H or bags that will not fit on the x-ray belts are prohibited. No provisions are made for checking or holding prohibited items.
  • Chaperones must remain with student groups at all times to ensure the group maintains orderly behavior. The Library asks that one adult accompany every eight students. Chaperones should review these guidelines and the Chaperone Guide (PDF, 580 KB) with their groups before touring the Library.
  • Open food and drink are not allowed in the public areas.
  • Silence cell phones and other electronic devices.
  • Do not block doorways, stairwells, or corridors or sit on stairs or floors. Please do not slide down handrails or climb in any areas of the building.
  • Watch your step. Always use handrails when ascending and descending stairs.
  • Please respect any areas that may be roped off.
  • Photography is allowed, however flash photography is prohibited in various areas as posted.
  • The use of photographic equipment, including tripods and selfie sticks, is prohibited. Please follow the Photography and Video Guidelines (PDF, 31KB).
  • For information about becoming a researcher, please inquire at the Ground Floor Information Desk. Only registered researchers may enter the Library's Reading Rooms.
  • In the event of an emergency, move towards the nearest exit and follow police and emergency staff directions.
  • Present all packages, purses, backpacks, etc., for inspection as you exit.

Useful Information

Visitor Hours

The Thomas Jefferson Building and exhibition galleries are open to visitors Monday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Jefferson Building is closed on Sundays. The Jefferson Building is open on most Federal Holidays, but closed on Thanksgiving Day as well as the Christmas and New Year's holidays. The Library typically follows Office of Personnel Management Guidelines related to government operations. Information related to a Library closure is posted on the homepage at loc.gov in the upper left-hand corner. The Library's Reading Rooms are open to researchers during hours which are different from visitor hours. Researchers should see Reading Room Hours for details.

Admissions and Ticketing

The Library of Congress is free and open to the public. Visitors do not need tickets or reservations to enter the Jefferson Building or to visit the Library's public spaces and exhibitions.

Public Transportation

The best way to arrive is by public transportation. The closest Metro stations are Capitol South (Blue/Orange/Silver Line—a two block walk) or Union Station (Red Line—a half-mile walk).

Parking

Limited metered and two-hour zoned parking is available in the surrounding neighborhoods. Public parking garages are also available, with the largest being at Union Station.

Upon Arrival

The Library occupies three buildings on Capitol Hill. The Thomas Jefferson Building is directly east of the U.S. Capitol Building and holds most of the general visitor activities, including tours and exhibitions. The main visitor entrance is through the doors at the top of the Grand Staircase facing First Street SE between Independence Avenue SE and East Capitol Street. Entrance for ADA or anyone with strollers or rolling bags is at the driveway level beneath the Grand Staircase.

Tours

The Library of Congress offers hour-long, fully accessible docent-led tours of the historic Thomas Jefferson Building. During your tour, you will learn about the building's symbolic art and architecture and view the grandeur of the Main Reading Room. The tours are available on a first-come, first-served basis to groups of fewer than 10 people. Please check in at the Ground Floor Information Desk at least 20 minutes prior to tour time. For those who wish to tour on their own, a brochure (translated into several languages) is available at the Information Desks. Guided tours are available to larger groups only with advance reservations.

Shop

The Library of Congress Shop offers unique items from the Library's wide collection, which includes exhibit related items, facsimiles, souvenirs, prints and photographs, and books for the whole family. Come share the gift of knowledge and support the Library's mission of preservation and education! Located on the Ground Floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, the shop is open Monday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on federal holidays. The Library is closed Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas and New Year's federal holidays. Phone: (202) 707-3895

Cloakroom

The visitors' cloakroom is available on the Ground Floor of the Jefferson Building and is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Researchers should review information on Researcher cloakrooms.

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