Public patrons of the Library's research areas, including Computer Catalog Centers and Copyright Office public service areas, are required to have a Reader Identification Card opens in a new window issued by the Library. These cards are free-of-charge and are valid for two years from the date of issue. Researchers must be at least 16 years old at the time of registration.Sample Library of Congress Reader Identification Card
Library patrons must register in person at the Reader Registration and Researcher Guidance Office, located in the Madison Building, Room LM 140 opens in a new window (First Floor, near the Independence Avenue entrance < view campus map opens in a new window >). Please present a valid driver's license, state-issued identification card, or passport as proof of identification. Once your ID has been verified, Library staff will take an identification photo, have you provide a digitized signature, and give you your registration card.
Reader Registration Hours
Reader registration stations are open Monday through Saturday (stations are closed Sundays and Federal holidays opens in a new window):
- Reader Registration & Research Guidance Office (LM 140): 8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday through Saturday
- Main Reading Room (LJ 100): 4:30pm to 9pm, on evenings when the general reading rooms are open until 9:30pm
You may pre-register online by completing a simple Web registration form opens in a new window up to two weeks before visiting the Library. To complete the registration process, pre-registered patrons must still report to the Reader Registration Station to present valid identification and receive their card.
Special Instructions for Large Groups
If you plan to bring large groups of new researchers to the Library for registration, please contact the supervisor of the Reader Registration Station in advance at 202-707-5278 to ensure expeditious processing of the group.
Additional Access Requirements for Some Reading Rooms
A valid Reader Identification Card is the minimum requirement for access to the Library's public reading rooms. Some reading rooms have supplemental registration procedures and/or conditions of use. For more information about the requirements in a particular reading room, please contact the reading room(s) opens in a new window you plan to visit.
Requesting Materials from the LC Catalog
Library of Congress registered readers may use the LC Catalog to request materials from the Library's general collections, the Law Library, and the Music Division. The Catalog's automated call slip service (ACS) offers delivery of materials only to the Library's Main, Science and Business, European, Hispanic, Law, and Performing Arts reading rooms. You must have a valid Reader Identification Card and use your individual account number. See the Guide for Requesting Materials in the Library's Catalog opens in a new window for additional information.Item Not Available at the Library. Why Not?
Some records in the LC Catalog have notes indicating that the item is not available at the Library. This usually means:
- The Library has cataloged an item before publication and the item has not yet been published
- The item has not yet been received by the Library
- The item is currently in process
In addition, some items that are held by the Library may not be requested online for a variety of reasons. The item may be assigned to a reading room reference collection, it may be in use by another researcher, or access to the item may be restricted.
Please contact Ask a Librarian for additional information. Make sure to include the item's author/creator, title and/or LCCN of the catalog record in your inquiry.
Library Patron Account Information
Library Patron Account Requirements
To log into the Catalog's automated call slip service using your Library Patron Account, you need:
- Your last name (case insensitive)
- Your account number (which appears on your Reader Identification Card underneath the barcode)
- Your password
Passwords must be 5-12 characters long. They may include any combination of letters (upper and lower case) and numbers. Do not use punctuation, spacing, or special characters (such as asterisks, exclamation points, or dollar signs).
Initial Library Patron Account Activation
Once you have a Reader Identification Card, you can receive a temporary Patron Account password either:
- In person, by going to the Center Circulation Desk in the Main Reading Room opens in a new window (Thomas Jefferson Building) or the Science and Business Reading Room opens in a new window (John Adams Building)
- By email, if you provided the Library with your email address when you registered as a reader. Click Forgot your password? opens in a new window on the Account Info opens in a new window page, then fill in your last name and account number to receive a temporary password by email.
After logging into your Patron Account with this temporary password, you will be prompted to change your password to one of your own choosing.
Changing your Patron Account Password
To change or reset your Patron Account password for security reasons, sign into your account and click Change Password in the Patron Information area at the top of your screen. This link takes you to the Change Your Password form, where you can enter new password information.
Forgot your Patron Account Password?
If you don't remember your Patron Account password and your Patron Account includes your email address, click Forgot your password? opens in a new window on the Account Info opens in a new window page. Fill in your last name and account number, and the Library will email you a temporary password. Use this temporary password to reset your personal password.
If your Patron Account does not include an email address, if you need to add or update your email address, or if you experience other problems with your password or call slip account, please check with Library staff at the Center Circulation Desk in the Main or Science and Business reading rooms. Offsite patrons may contact the Accounts Unit of the Library's Collections Access, Loan and Management Division at 202-707-5441.
Congressional and Library Staff Login
Congressional and Library staff receive their initial temporary passwords through email. The email text contains the contact information you need if you encounter problems with your password or call slip account.
Additional Patron Account Benefits
Registered readers - as well as Congressional and Library staff with Library of Congress patron accounts - have additional privileges in the Library's Primo Central opens in a new window discovery system and the HathiTrust Digital Library opens in a new window:
- In Primo Central: you can create a personal account that enables you to refine and save search queries as well as save individual citations from your search results. You can also set up alerts for your saved queries that trigger email notifications when new citations are found.
- In the HathiTrust Digital Library: you can download full PDFs of public domain works that appear in HathiTrust (note that logging on to HathiTrust does not provide access to page images of "Limited (search only)" items). You can also access HathiTrust's Collection Builder opens in a new window, a tool that helps you create and share your personal collections of HathiTrust items for private or public use. Click here opens in a new window for more information on logging in to HathiTrust.