By David J. Kent
Thursday, May 27, 2021
Researchers take note - the Library of Congress will begin reopening four reading rooms on June 1, 2021. The rooms are the Law Library, Geography and Map, Manuscript, and Newspaper and Current Periodical reading rooms. The LOC has been closed to the public for over a year due to COVID.
Initially the rooms will only be available to a limited number of registered readers (aka, researchers) by appointment only. Researchers will only be able to stay for up to three hours between 9:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Those interested in using one of the available reading rooms can contact the specific reading room by phone or use the Library’s Ask-a-Librarian service to make appointment requests. Users who do not have current reader cards must complete the online pre-registration form before coming to the Library for a reading room appointment. When arriving at the Library, all guests must show their appointment confirmation and a current reader card or proof of reader card pre-registration. According to the announcement:
"While in Library buildings, all researchers and visitors will be required to wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth and fits snuggly against the sides of the face, and to follow social distancing policies, regardless of vaccination status. The Library also requires compliance with health screening protocols, which may be modified as conditions change. These may include temperature checks and responses to questions related to COVID-19 symptoms and exposure. The Library's enhanced health and safety protocols apply to everyone in Library buildings, regardless of vaccination status. Researchers will receive more information about current required health and safety policies when they make their appointments."
The Library plans to resume additional services as conditions allow. They hope to begin a limited, ticketed public access to the Library buildings, including the exhibits, later this summer. The Library expects to get back to normal, fully functional services when or if COVID recedes and public health officials say it is safe to do so.
More information and links can be found here.
Photo: LOC, Jefferson Building inside the dome in the main reading room.