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Group & Student Tours


  1. What is the LOC Box program, and what will the students do during a visit?

    Students complete the LOC Box activities to “unlock the secrets” of the historic Thomas Jefferson Building and learn about the Library of Congress and its resources. They must use four key skills: observe, analyze, communicate, and investigate. Working in small teams led by adult chaperones, students participate in hands-on activities such as drawing, solving puzzles and mosaic-making. The program provides take-home materials with additional activities to encourage the students to explore the Library’s online resources from home or school and to return for a visit with their families.


  2. Does the LOC Box program meet local state curriculum standards?

    Yes, the program activities have been developed to meet various curriculum standards for grades four to six in Language Arts, Social Studies and Fine Arts.


  3. How long does the LOC Box visit last?

    Your group should plan to spend a total of two-and-a-half to three hours at the Thomas Jefferson Building at the Library of Congress for the LOC Box visit. The LOC Box activities take approximately two hours, but additional time is needed to clear through the Library’s entrance security and to check the LOC Box materials in and out.


  4. How many students can participate in the program?

    The LOC Box program can accommodate up to 48 students in a single visit. A minimum of one teacher or adult chaperone is required for every six students. Each LOC Box bag is designed for use by up to six students and one teacher/chaperone. There must be an adult present to lead every group of students using each LOC Box bag. If you wish to bring more than 48 students, you must make two separate reservations on different days.


  5. What is the role of the teacher/adult chaperone?

    The LOC Box program requires at least one teacher or adult chaperone for every six students. Each teacher/chaperone will act as a team leader to guide the students through the activities. All adults accompanying the students must remain with the students at all times and should expect to be actively engaged with students as they complete the program activities. As the activities require a significant amount of reading and discussion, team leaders should be proficient English speakers.


  6. How do I schedule a LOC Box visit?

    The LOC Box program is offered at 9:30 or 10 a.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The program can be requested using the request form. You will receive an email confirming your reservation. Pre-visit information is available to help you prepare for the program.

    During the school year, the program will be available from mid-September through the first week of March.


  7. How should students, teachers and chaperones prepare for the LOC Box program?

    Once your reservation is confirmed, you will receive the LOC Box program’s pre-visit materials. These materials help to prepare students for their field trip using the same skills they will be expected to demonstrate during the LOC Box program. The materials are easily adaptable to suit the time available for pre-visit preparation and to accommodate different grade and ability levels.


  8. What is the best way to get to the Library of Congress?

    The Library occupies three buildings on Capitol Hill. The LOC Box Program takes place in the Thomas Jefferson Building, located directly east of the U.S. Capitol Building on First Street, SE between Independence Avenue and East Capitol Street.

    The best way to reach the Jefferson Building is by public transportation. The closest Metro Stations are Capitol South (Blue/Orange lines—a two-block walk) or Union Station (Red line—a half-mile walk). For information, visit the Metro website at External.

    Tour Bus Access to Capitol Grounds

    Security measures have been implemented as part of continued efforts by the U.S. Capitol Police to enhance security within the Capitol complex. These measures restrict commercial bus access to U.S. Capitol grounds. Please read more from the Architect of the Capitol to prepare your tour bus for drop-off.


  9. What should we do when we arrive at the Library of Congress?

    As a scheduled group, your group will be on the police list for entry at the Jefferson Building street-level carriage entrance, which faces First Street SE. All students and teachers/chaperones will proceed through the security checkpoint.

    Once inside the building, your group will be met by the LOC Box Program Coordinator. After an introduction to the program, you will receive the LOC Box bags containing the activities and other materials. Chaperones and their student groups will then be escorted to the Great Hall to start the activities. The coordinator will be available during the program to provide guidance.


  10. Do the LOC Box activities need to be completed in a particular order?

    No. The activities have been designed to be completed in any order and each activity stands alone. This will make it easier for your students to work around any other visitors or tour groups that may be in the Library at the same time. Each group of students will start in a different spot. On rare occasions, a particular area of the Jefferson Building may be off limits due to an exhibition installation or a special event set up; in which case it may be impossible to do one of the four activities. 


  11. Should we schedule a building tour in addition to the LOC Box program?

    No, a building tour (available only to grades four and above) should not be scheduled in addition to the LOC Box program. Students and teachers/chaperones will have the opportunity to visit the Main Reading Room Overlook upon completing the LOC Box program activities. 

    If you would like to visit any of the Library’s exhibitions, plan for extra time for your visit in addition to the two-and-a-half to three hours for the LOC Box program. Information on current exhibitions can be found in Exhibitions.


  12. Are there lunch facilities at the Library of Congress?

    There are limited lunch facilities available for student groups at the Library of Congress. Student groups are welcome to use the picnic tables and benches in front of and beside the Jefferson Building. In inclement weather, Library staff recommends that students eat on the bus or before or after their visit.

    There are two cafeterias at the Library of Congress. Both are in the James Madison Memorial Building, located across Independence Avenue at First Street SE. The main cafeteria, on the sixth floor of the Madison Building (Room LM-625), is open to the public from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. On the tunnel level to the Madison Building, a snack bar (LM-G47) is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and vending machines are available (LM-G47 and G49) during all public hours. There are no cafeteria facilities or vending machines in the Jefferson Building.


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