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Motion Picture and Television Reading Room (Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division)
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Guidelines for Viewing Films & Videotapes

Before Visiting the Library: Please be advised, throughout this year portions of our collections will be briefly inaccessible as items are moved to our new vaults in Culpeper, VA. We will work to minimize any delays and disruptions. As always, qualified researchers can telephone the Motion Picture and Television Reading Room at (202) 707-8572, fax your request to (202) 707-2371, or submit an email request through Be sure to include the name and title of the items requested, the call numbers (if possible), and personal contact information so we can confirm your appointment, which should be made five to seven days in advance. Patrons will still be able to use the Reading Room without appointment to access the catalogs, reference books, archival collections, microfiche, microfilm and other reference sources.

Before coming to the Motion Picture and Television Reading Room for an appointment, researchers should obtain a Reader Identification card

Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday

1. Viewing facilities, which are available without charge, are provided for those doing research of a specific nature leading toward a publicly available work such as a dissertation, publication, or film/television production. We regret that the facilities may not be used for purely personal study or appreciation, nor in ways--such as preview--that conflict with commercial distribution.

2. Graduate students and undergraduates in advanced classes wishing to screen films should first obtain letters from their professors endorsing their projects. The facilities may not be used to make up missed classroom screenings, or to complete class assignments.

3. For preservation reasons, films may not be run in forward or reverse at fast speed. Viewers may stop films and rewind scenes at normal sound speed for note taking.

4. We are unable to accommodate groups. There is a limist of two persons per machine. Both views must be involved in the research project.

5. All viewing is by advanced appointment. Because most of our collections are stored in remote locations, an average wait of one week should be expected.

6. Viewers submitting lengthy title lists to be searched by our reference staff should expect a wait of two to three weeks. Lists should be arranged in alphabetical order.

7. A maximum of three features, or their equivalent, may be viewed in one day. For films of less than five minutes in length (e.g., Paper Prints), no more than fifty reels of material will be made available on a single viewing date. For video formats, no more than thirty items will be made available per day. Four consecutive weeks of viewing time may be reserved.

8. Video cameras and tape recorders are not allowed in the viewing room. Photographing images from the screen with still cameras for reference purposes will be permitted only when authorized by our reference staff.

9. Bear in mind that screening time is limited and must be scheduled. Cancellation without sufficient notice tends to prevent others from having access to the facilities. Please be considerate of others in this regard.

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  The Library of Congress >> Especially for Researchers >> Research Centers
  December 19, 2008
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