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Motion Picture and Television Reading Room (Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division)
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Service from a Distance

Catalogs and Electronic Access

  • There is no comprehensive catalog to the Motion Picture & Television Reading Room's holdings of more than 650,000 moving image items. In addition to the Library's Online Catalog, there are various manual catalogs and automated databases that can only be searched in our reading room.
  • Offsite researches should start with the Library's Online Catalog. Search strategies for identifying moving image material. Descriptions of some holdings not represented in the Online Catalog can be found through published catalogs and collection guides and finding aids.
  • Digital copies and descriptions of several hundred historical films from our collections can be accessed on the Library's American Memory site.

Limited service is available by mail, fax, email, and telephone

  • The Division's collections are archival in nature and are made available chiefly for serious research on our own premises. We may be able to provide copies of some items in our collections but only if copyright, preservation, or donor restrictions allow. See guidelines.
  • Most of our holdings have not been fully cataloged and are accessible primarily by title. The reference staff cannot conduct lengthy subject searches, produce long lists of films, select images, nor undertake extensive research projects. When these services are required, a list of freelance searchers in the Washington, DC area is supplied.
  • The Division participates in the Ask a Librarian service, which provides an online form for sending reference staff questions about our collections and services (URL:
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  August 31, 2010
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