Special Collections Reading Rooms

Special Collections Reading Rooms

For Washingtoniana at the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.

Washingtoniana at the Newseum
D.C. Community Archives & Periodicals at the Library of Congress

Washingtoniana at the Newseum

Washingtoniana reference and photos services will reopen in an interim co-location with the Historical Society of Washington, DC at the Newseum on Tuesday, September 19, 2017. Appointments will be required. Contact Washingtoniana for more details.

Reading Room Guidelines

  • Follow all DC Public Library customer behavior guidelines during visit.
  • Access to the library and in-person reference services are free. 
  • On their first visit, researchers must fill out a Patron Registration Form. On subsequent visits, researchers simply sign in upon arrival.
  • Bags, backpacks, briefcases, coats, umbrellas, purses, computer carrying cases and other personal items are not allowed in the reading room. Lockers for belongings are available in the coat room adjacent to the library. Small hand-held wallets or change purses are allowed.
  • It can be cold in the library; we suggest bringing a sweater or scarf with you.
  • Laptops are allowed. The reading room has wi-fi and electrical outlets are provided at designated tables.
  • Smoking, eating, and drinking are prohibited in the library.
  • Library computers may only be used to search the Library Catalog and other sites related to DCPL and HSW collections. Non-collection related computer use or internet browsing is prohibited.
  • Cameras, including smartphones with ringers on silent, are allowed if the researcher signs the “Personal Camera Use Form” concerning copyright restrictions; images are for personal research use only.
  • No items can be checked out.
  • Cutting tools are not permitted.
  • Please do not reshelve maps, books, or microfilm; place books on reshelving carts; and return current magazines and newspapers to shelving.


Joint Appointments 

Washingtoniana is currently sharing a reading room with the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. They also have D.C. history-related collections which complement our own. If you would like to access their materials during your appointment, we can accommodate that. 
Please use their online catalog to identify any relevant materials. Their library staff should be contacted at least one business day prior with any material requests. Should you have any questions regarding the Historical Society's holdings, you may contact them directly at Library@DCHistory.org

D.C. Community Archives & Periodicals at the Library of Congress

Processed archival collections with finding aids and periodicals are available for public access (by appointment) at the Library of Congress Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room. Reference archivists are available via email and phone to schedule archival research appointments. Contact us for more details.

Reading Room Guidelines

  • First-time Library of Congress users must register for a Reader Identification Card. Cards may be obtained in room LM-140 of the Madison Building. Click here for more details.
  • Follow all DC Public Library customer behavior guidelines during visit.
  • Please leave personal belongings at the coat check in LM-140 (the same room as Reader ID registration). No personal belongings, including briefcases, notebooks, books, folders, envelopes, purses, or hats are allowed in the reading room. Outer garments, including vests, sweaters with pockets, coats, suit coats, and sports jackets, are subject to search. Exceptions may be requested for notes or other material essential to research. These items must be approved and stamped by reference staff before being brought into the reading room. Please see the Library of Congress' personal belongings restrictions for more information. 
  • The use of electronic communications devices, such as cellular phones and pagers, is prohibited, and such devices must be silenced. Laptop computers are allowed, but the use of any other electronic devices is subject to staff approval. Digital cameras and tripods are allowed for making research copies, but scanners are prohibited.
  • Notes may be taken only on the paper or note cards provided in the reading room. Pens may not be used, and pencils are provided. 
  • Only one folder at a time may be withdrawn from a box. Cardboard dummies are provided to mark the place where folders should be refiled.
  • All manuscript materials shall be reviewed by reference staff before photocopying.
  • Copying:
    • No materials may be removed from the Reading Room.
    • From original material: Use copying machines in the Reading Room. (Note: Bound newspapers may not be photocopied).
    • From microfilm or microfiche: Microform copiers available in the Reading Room.
    • Copycard vending machine available in Reading Room.
    • See the Library of Congress’ Copying and Printing Services page for more details.
  • Do not make marks on manuscripts, do not write notes on top of manuscripts, do not rest books or other objects on top of manuscripts. Handle loose sheets or bound pages by their edges; avoid touching the surface as much as possible. Exercise the greatest possible care in handling fragile manuscripts. The staff will furnish gloves for handling photographs and other especially vulnerable items.
  • All material that a researcher wishes to remove from the reading room must be examined by the security officer.
  • Researchers must follow all directions of the reference staff regarding the handling of manuscript material.
For more information about using the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room, please click here.

The Library of Congress Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room

The Reading Room is located in LM-133 in the James Madison Memorial Building (entrance on Independence Avenue, between First and Second Streets, S.E., Washington, DC 20540-5590).

The nearest Metro access is the Capitol South Station (Blue and Orange Lines), on the corner of 1st & C St., SE (see map). Parking is available on-street only with a 2-hour limit.

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