Press Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940
Public Contact: Joe Puccio (202) 707-7400

April 17, 1996

New Reader Registration System Goes Into Effect May 28 at the Library of Congress

Beginning May 28, all patrons of the public reading rooms of the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress will be required to have user cards issued by the Library. Effective December 16, 1996 user cards are also required for reading rooms in the Adams Building.

The cards are free, and they can be obtained by presenting a valid driver's license, state-issued identification card, or passport at the reader registration station in Room G22 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E. Once the user has completed a simple self-registration process, the station attendant will check the information, take an identification photo, and issue the printed plastic card to the reader.

"The reader registration system is considered a critical component in the Library's collections security program," said Steven J. Herman, chief of the Collections Management Division. It is part of a larger plan to protect the Library's collections that was initiated by the Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, in March 1992. Other components of that plan include closed stacks, installation of surveillance cameras, electronic control of stack doors, and installation of theft detection targets and detection gates.

Since June 1991, when the Main Reading Room reopened following its renovation, readers have been required to submit some kind of photo identification in order to use the Library's collections, and temporary user cards were issued to patrons who requested them. Now with more sophisticated equipment in place, the Library will provide photo ID cards to users that will be good for two years and must be renewed when they expire. The cards will be valid in all of the Library's public reading rooms and will enable readers to request materials from the Library's collections more easily, because they will have to enter only their user card number on each call slip rather than their complete name and address as is now required.

Readers have been able to obtain the new user cards since February 12, when the Library began to phase in the new reader registration system.

Patrons who wish to do research at the Library should enter the Jefferson Building using the northeast entrance on 2nd Street S.E. and proceed to the reader registration station in Room G22 on the entrance level.

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PR 96-57
4/17/96
ISSN 0731-3527

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