Visit Menu

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 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. For group tour availability, contact or (202) 707-0919.


  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. Is there a cloakroom?

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


  5. May I reserve a tour for my group?

    The Visitor Services office offers many different tours. 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 Tours page. Once you make a request, you will receive an email to confirm that your group has secured a reservation.


  6. What activities are there for children?

    The Library is a fun and interesting place for kids and families. Go on a family tour, or 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.


  7. 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 visitors 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.

    The best way to come is by public transportation. The closest Metro stations are Capitol South (Blue/Orange Line—a two block walk) or Union Station (Red Line—a half-mile walk).


  8. Is parking available?

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


  9. 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.


  10. May I take pictures in the Jefferson Building?

    Photographs are allowed in the Great Hall areas of the Jefferson Building. You may not take photographs in three areas: the Bibles Corridor, the exhibitions where original collections are on display; and the Main Reading Room overlook, where flashes disturb researchers and photography may compromise their privacy.


  11. Is there food available at the Library?

    There are three year-round food service locations at the Library of Congress and one seasonal food service operation. Two year-round locations are in the James Madison Memorial Building and one is in the John Adams Building. The main cafeteria, on the sixth floor (LM 625) of the Madison Building, is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. On the tunnel level to the Madison Building, the Madison snack bar featuring Dunkin Donuts and Subway (LM G47) is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday from 8:30 a.m to 2 p.m. The Adams snack bar (LA 110) is open from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. A seasonal food service operation is located in the Thomas Jefferson Building Southwest Courtyard, open April through September from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. Food service is available 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., weather permitting. Vending machines are available (LM-G47, LM-216, LM-440, LJ-C25 & LA-115) during all public hours.