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Frequently Asked Questions


  1. What are the Library's visitor hours?

    The Thomas Jefferson Building and public exhibitions are open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The Jefferson Building is closed on Sundays and on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. The Library typically follows Office of Personnel Management Guidelines in the event of inclement weather. The Library has special hours for its reading rooms. For researcher information, please see Reading Room Hours.


  2. Do I need tickets or reservations?

    Visitors do not need tickets or reservations to enter the Jefferson Building or to visit the Library's exhibitions. For tour availability, please check at Orientation Desks at least 20 minutes prior to tour time.  For group tour availability, contact or (202) 707-0919 at least 2 weeks prior to your visit date.


  3. Will I have to wait in line?

    Visitors to the Library rarely have to wait in line on the First Street SE side of the Jefferson Building to enter through the main doors. When there is a line, the wait can vary from 15 minutes to 45 minutes.


  4. What is the security entry process?

    All visitors entering the Library’s buildings must go through airport-like security. Visitors should limit the amount of personal property they bring to the Library. Certain prohibited items cannot be brought into the buildings. Dangerous weapons are prohibited items and include, but are not limited to, firearms, explosives, knives, razors, and box-cutters. In addition, oversized (not exceeding 25"W x 15"H) suitcases or bags that will not fit on the x-ray conveyor belts are prohibited. No provisions are made for checking or holding prohibited items.

  5. Is there a cloakroom?

    The visitors' cloakroom is available on the Ground Floor of the Jefferson Buildingand is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. A separate cloakroom is available to researchers.


  6. May I reserve a tour for my group?

    Reserved tours may be requested in advance for groups, schools and organizations with 10 to 60 participants. Please send your request, no more than three months in advance, by visiting the Group & Student Tourspage. Once you make a request, the Visitor Services Office will contact you to confirm availability. The office will contact you again 1 week prior to your tour to reconfirm final details.


  7. What activities are there for children?

    The Library is a fun and interesting place for kids and families. Get activity sheets from the Information Desks. Take your children to visit the Young Readers Center. Whatever the age, the Library has many fun activities to offer. Please visit our Kids & Families page for more information.


  8. Where is the Library of Congress located, and what is the best way to get there?

    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 exhibitions and tours. The visitor entrance is through the main doors at the top of the Grand Staircase facing First Street SE between Independence Avenue SE and East Capitol Street. Entrance for ADA and strollers or rolling bags is at the driveway level beneath the Grand Staircase.

    The best way to come 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).

    Tour bus access on Capitol Hill is restricted. See the Commercial Bus Restrictions on Capitol Hill map for more information.


  9. Is parking available?

    The Library does not provide parking. Limited metered and two-hour zoned parking is available in the surrounding neighborhoods. Public parking lots are also available, with the largest being at Union Station.


  10. Is the building accessible?

    Yes, the Library is fully accessible. The Ground Level/Driveway entrance of the Jefferson Building is the designated ADA entrance for visitors. Wheelchairs are available for loan while you are in the building. Please ask at Ground Floor Information Desk.


  11. May I take pictures in the Jefferson Building?

    Photographs are allowed in the Great Hall areas of the Jefferson Building. Flash photograph is prohibited in three areas: the Bibles Corridor, the exhibitions where original collections are on display; and the Main Reading Room overlook. In addition, the use of photograph equipment, including tripods and selfie sticks, is prohibited.


  12. Is there food available at the Library?

    The Library of Congress offers several food options. In the James Madison Building—The main cafeteria, on the sixth floor (LM 625) is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. On the tunnel level are Dunkin Donuts and Subway (LM G47), open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Jefferson/Madison Coffee Shop (LJ-C25) is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 to 4 and Saturday 8:30 to 2. The Adams snack bar (LA 110)is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Vending machines are available in all three buildings (LM-G47, LM-216, LM-440, LJ-C25 & LA-115) during all public hours.