Library of Congress Hispanic and Portuguese Collections: An 
Illustrated Guide
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A Brief Researcher's Guide


The primary function of the Library of Congress is to serve the Congress. In addition, the Library provides service to government agencies, other libraries, scholars, and the general public. All researchers preparing to come to the Library are strongly encouraged to pursue preliminary exploration in public, academic, or special libraries, so that they can make efficient use of their time in the collections of the Library of Congress.

The Library of Congress is a research library whose collections are kept in restricted, closed stacks. The Library's lending is restricted to official borrowers. Under certain conditions, the Library lends materials from its collections to other li braries for the use of their readers.


The Library of Congress does not have separate Hispanic and Portuguese collections. Upon arrival at the Library of Congress, a researcher interested in the Luso-Hispanic world should consult with the reference specialists in the reading room of the Hispa nic Division, located in the Hispanic Room on the second floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building (LJ 240). That room contains a specialized reference collections on Hispanic and Portuguese themes.

For materials other than periodicals or books from the general books collection, the researcher must visit one of the Library's specialized reading rooms. Generally these research areas have custody of material based on format rather than their geograph ic origin. So, graphic prints usually are found in the Prints and Photographs Division and maps are found in the Geography and Map Division. Occasionally, such items may appear elsewhere in the Library's collections. Maps and graphic prints in bound vo lumes can be found in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division. One of the essential tasks of the reference specialists in the Hispanic Division is to provide specialized assistance to a researcher seeking materials in this large and complex librar y of over one hundred million objects.

Each reading room offers finding aids, bibliographies, and pertinent reference materials as well as access to the Library's main computerized catalog.

The following is a list of the reading rooms and special collections, in addition to what is offered in the Hispanic Division, that could be of value for the researcher with an interest in the study of the Luso-Hispanic world:

African and Middle Eastern Reading Room (Serving Hebraic and Near East Sections). Thomas Jefferson Building, LJ 220
American Folklife Reading Room, Jefferson Building, LJ G53
Business Reference Services. Adams Building, LA 508
Geography and Map Reading Room. Madison Building, LM B01
Law Library Reading Room. Madison Building, LM 201
Main Reading Room. Jefferson Building, (Serving Genealogy and Microforms) LJ 100
Manuscript Reading Room. Madison Building, LM 101
Motion Picture and Television Reading Room. Madison Building, LM 336
Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room. Madison Building, LM 133
Performing Arts Reading Room. Madison Building, LM 113
Prints and Photographs Reading Room. Madison Building, LM 337
Rare Book and Special Collections Reading Room. Jefferson Building, LJ 239
Recorded Sound Reference Center. Madison Building, LM 113
Science & Technology Reading Room. Adams Building, LA 500

Thumbnail image of Fiestas de Verano y
Carnaval Fiestas de Verano y Carnaval 1938-39. Half tone and lithographed poster. 1938.Montevideo. Carnival remains the annual high point of Uruguayan festivity. Occurring before Lent, the carnival season includes parades with flowered floats, and buildings are festooned with streamers and colored lights. Parades with marchers wearing garishly colore d masks and costumes clog the streets. A major feature is the tablado, a lavishly decorated temporary stage, on which musicians, clowns, dancers, and mummers perform. From the poster it is evident that carnival falls at the end of the summer season in t he southern hemisphere. (Poster Collection, Prints and Photographs Division)

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