Frequently Asked Questions
How do I...
know which materials I may request in the Reading Room?
You may request ALL materials from the Library's general collections, except
for certain materials that are restricted to their own specialized reading
rooms (Rare Books, Prints and Photographs, Music, etc.).
find reference materials for European countries I don't see on the shelves in the Reading Room?
Because there is not room for all of the materials in the Reading Room itself,
part of the reference collection is housed in an adjacent stack area, Deck
13. The reference librarian can show you where it is.
find reference materials on Spain or Portugal?
For reference materials on these countries, visit the Hispanic
Reading Room, in Room
240 of this building.
find reference materials on Turkey?
For reference materials on Turkey, visit the African
and Middle Eastern Reading Room, in Room
220 of this building.
find reference materials on the United Kingdom or Ireland?
For reference materials on these countries, visit the Main
Reading Room, in Room
100 of this building.
find reference materials on the former Soviet republics of Central Asia
or the Caucasus?
Responsibility for reference materials on these countries, based on language, is divided between
the European Reading Room and the African
and Middle Eastern Reading Room. Consult the reference librarian to determine the location of the item(s) for which you are looking.
find reference materials on European law or legal matters?
To use these reference materials, visit the Law
Library Reading Room, in Room
201 of the Madison Building.
find out what materials are in the Library's collections?
The Library's catalog allows you to search the Library's collections in several different ways (by title, author, subject, etc.). The reference librarian can show you how to use this system.
request materials from the Library's general collections?
To request materials from the Library's general collections, you first must have a Library of Congress Reader Identification Card. To make your request, use the Library's catalog and follow the instructions on the "Requesting Materials in the European Reading Room" card located at the Reading Room's public workstations. The reference librarian can assist you. If the materials you have requested are available for use, we will deliver them to the designated pick-up location in the Reading Room.
get a Reader Identification Card?
New researchers should register in person at the Reader Registration Station located in the Madison Building, Room LM 140 or the Jefferson Building, Room LJ 139 (in the Microform and Electronic Resources Center). There, upon completion of a simple self-registration process and presentation of a valid driver's license, state-issued identification card, or passport, the station attendant will check the information, take an identification photo, and issue the printed plastic card to the reader. The entire process normally takes less than ten minutes to complete. Reader Identification Cards are valid for two years from the date of issue and may be renewed.
find out which European newspapers and periodicals (magazines and journals) are available in the Reading Room?
The Reading Room holds the Library's collection of Slavic- and Baltic-language newspapers and periodicals for the current and past year, as well as older Slavic and Baltic newspapers on microfilm. Other current European periodicals are available in the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room, located in Room 133 of the Madison Building. Slavic and Baltic émigré newspapers are also found there.
request current issues of Baltic and Slavic newspapers or periodicals?
Fill out a yellow "Request for Current Newspapers & Serials and Newspapers on Microfilm" form located in holders on top of the shelves in the Reading Room. Submit this form to the reference librarian, and the materials will be brought to you.
request older issues of European journals or periodicals?
Issues of journals and periodicals more than two years old are usually either bound or on microfilm. To obtain bound issues, locate the record in the Library's catalog, then follow the procedures for requesting materials, making sure to indicate the year or volume number you seek and the European Reading Room as the place for delivery. Some older issues of periodical titles are on microfilm, which may be viewed in the Microform and Electronic Resources Center, in Room 139 of this building.
request older issues European newspapers on microfilm?
A card catalog at the reference desk identifies the European Reading Room's titles and holdings of Slavic- and Baltic-language newspapers. To request the microfilm, fill out a "Request for Current Newspapers & Serials and Newspapers on Microfilm" form and include the newspaper title(s), year(s) or issue(s), and microfilm number. You are limited to 12 reels at one time. For microfilm of newspapers from other European countries, visit the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room. That reading room also houses some older European newspapers in bound volumes, for 17th-18th centuries, and 19th-20th centuries.
access the Reading Room's other microfilm holdings?
Other microfilm held by the Reading Room may be found on the Microform Sets in the European Reading Room page.
reserve materials (including microfilm)?
To reserve materials for up to three working days, put a green "Reserve Slip" form in each item, bookmark style, so that it is easily visible, and place your materials on the reserve shelves in the Reading Room. To reserve materials for more than three days, you may apply for a study shelf if you plan to use the Reading Room regularly (at least once a week).
apply for a study shelf?
Ask the reference librarian for a copy of the study shelf rules and a form
to request a study shelf. Return the completed form to the reference desk.
Study shelves are located on Deck 13, an adjacent stack area.
make copies of materials?
See the page Copying and Printing Services for Collection Materials at the Library of Congress for details.
continue working with materials when the Reading Room is closed?
You may continue to work with materials, either from the Reading Room or from the Library's general collections, when the Reading Room is closed, but only on the evenings when the Main Reading Room (Room 100 of this building) is open until 9:30pm (Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday), or on Saturdays, when the Main Reading Room is open 8:30am-5:00pm. Ask the reference librarian in the European Reading Room to have your materials brought down to the Main Reading Room, to the European Division shelf in Alcove 7. When you have finished using your materials, return them to this same shelf. On the next working day, ask the European Reading Room librarian to have your materials brought up from the Main Reading Room.
know what I can bring into the Reading Room?
The Library's security policy imposes restrictions on what belongings may be brought into its reading rooms in order to maintain a scholarly atmosphere and to protect Library materials better. For a list of what is, and is not, allowed in the reading rooms, ask the reference librarian for a copy of the Library's Personal Belongings Policy. Items that are not permitted in the reading rooms must be checked in at one of the cloakrooms.
find the cloakrooms?
A cloakroom for researchers is provided on the ground floor of the Jefferson Building in Room LJ G39-G. This cloakroom is open from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursday. Another cloakroom, located near the 1st Street carriage entrance on the ground floor of the Jefferson Building, is open Mondays through Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. A cloakroom in the Madison Building adjacent to the Reader Registration Station in LM 140 is open from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays; and from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Some reading rooms also provide lockers for researchers to secure their belongings.
find the restrooms?
The restrooms nearest the Reading Room are located on the second floor of the Jefferson Building, off the elevator lobby outside the Hispanic Reading Room.
Several food service areas are available in the Library of Congress buildings.
find a map of the Library?
Map & Floor Plans
find information about the Library's other reading rooms?
Research and Reference Services