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Microform Reading Room (Humanities and Social Sciences Division)
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Reading Room Policies and Services

Link to: About the Reading Room | Reproduction of Materials from the Collection | Interlibrary Loan

About the Reading Room

The Microform Reading Room has custody of and provides access to the general microform collection of the Library of Congress. Other specialized reading rooms, such as the Law Library, the Manuscript Reading Room, or the Asian Reading Room, also contain large microform collections.

The Microform Reading Room is open to all researchers over high school age. Readers must have a Library of Congress-issued Reader Identification Card in order to request materials. The reference librarians of the Main Reading Room, down the hall from the Microform Reading Room on the first floor of the Jefferson Building, provide assistance in accessing the collection through online and/or card catalogs, printed guides, and specially prepared finding aids. Technicians in the Microform Reading Room help readers interpret microform call numbers, retrieve materials from the stacks, and provide instructions on the operation of the microform readers and the coin/card-operated reader-printers. Retrieval is limited to nine items per reader per hour. Delivery time for most microforms is approximately thirty minutes. Readers who wish to retain microforms for later use may keep them on reserve shelves.

The Humanities and Social Sciences Division periodically offers a 90-minute research orientation for first-time users. This course is a general introduction to the Library of Congress collections and resources, and includes some information on the Library's microform collections. More information and a schedule of research orientations is available in the Library of Congress publication Information for Researchers.

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Reproduction of Materials from the Collection

Coin/Card operated reader-printers are located adjacent to the Microform Reading Room. Readers are urged to purchase copy cards to use in the reader-printers. Normally, readers should scan the materials on the reading machines before using the reader-printers.

Readers who wish to purchase quality reproductions or who desire more extensive copying than is convenient on a reader-printer are referred, as appropriate, either to the original micropublisher or to the Library's Photoduplication Service. The Photoduplication Service will make various kinds of reproductions of items filmed under the Library's preservation microfilming program or from certain collections deposited with the Library, subject to copyright or other restrictions. The Photoduplication Service will not reproduce entire works from commercially produced microforms, but in some instances will accept orders for enlargement prints of specific pages. Information on rates and policies can be obtained from the Library of Congress Photoduplication Service website.

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Interlibrary Loan

The Library of Congress is primarily a research library, so its lending is restricted to official borrowers or to government agency libraries through interlibrary loan. Under certain conditions the Library lends materials from its collections--including microforms-- to other libraries for the use of their readers. In most instances microforms of materials from the general collection for which the Library's Photoduplication Service holds the master negative, including family histories and periodicals, may be lent. Requests should be initiated by the reader's local library to the Library of Congress, Loan Division, Washington, D.C. 20540-4670. For more information, consult the Loan Division website.

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  The Library of Congress >> Especially for Researchers >> Research Centers
  August 20, 2003
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