Library of Congress >> About the Library >> Especially for Researchers
Use of Materials
The primary function of the Library of Congress is to serve the Congress. In addition, the Library provides service to government agencies, other libraries, scholars, and the general public. The Library welcomes public use of its general reference facilities and endeavors to offer the widest possible use of its collections consistent with their preservation and with the Library's obligation to serve the Congress and other government agencies.
Members of the public may request materials for use within the reading rooms. However, members of the public may not borrow books from the Library and remove them from the premises. The Library is primarily a research library, so its lending is restricted to official borrowers or to interlibrary loans to government agency libraries. Under certain conditions, the Library lends material from its collections to other libraries, through established interlibrary loan procedures, for the use of their readers.
As a closed stack
library, researchers must request most materials they wish to consult.
Materials retrieved for the use of readers may be used only in assigned
reading rooms or research facilities. Readers may not remove collections
items from the reading room in which they were requested. Under certain
conditions, authorized Library staff may transfer materials between reading
rooms at the request of a researcher. Those desiring such a service should
inquire about the possibility with the reading room staff.