Skip Navigation Links  The Library of Congress >> Especially for Researchers >> Research Centers
Performing Arts Reading Room (Music Division)
  Home >> Rules for Readers

Rules for Readers

If you plan to visit the Performing Arts Reading Room in person, please read the following guidelines for readers.

I. General Information

1. All readers must present a valid Library of Congress Reader Identification Card to enter the Reading Room. These cards may be obtained in the Madison Building, Room LM 140, by presenting current identification such as a driver's license or a passport, containing a photo ID and current address.

2. The Reading Room may be used by any researcher 18 years of age or older. Students under the age of 18 are required to present a letter signed by the high school principal stating that efforts to locate the requested material elsewhere have been unsuccessful.

3. Reading Room hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday (closed Sundays and Federal holidays). Requests for material are accepted until 4:15 p.m.

4. Up to three call slips may be submitted at a time.

5. Requests by phone or email to retrieve and hold (reserve) materials in advance of a researcher's visit are not accepted. Researchers may place materials on reserve for two weeks upon request in person at the Circulation Desk.

6. The greatest possible care must be taken to prevent damage to items from the Library's collections. Use pencil only when taking written notes. Pencils are available at the Circulation Desk. No pens will be allowed. Make no marks on items from the Library's collections. Do not rest objects or take notes on top of Library materials. You must preserve the existing order and arrangement of unbound materials and report any disarrangement to the librarian on duty.

II. Use of Rare Materials

1. Rare materials, including, but not limited to, those designated "CASE," must be used at the designated rare book tables only. Observe any special handling conditions indicated by Reading Room Staff, including the use of gloves, cradles, etc.

2. Do not leave rare materials unattended. Return rare items to the staff at the Circulation Desk whenever leaving your seat for more than a few minutes (including use of the multi-purpose rooms or the photocopier).

3. Unprocessed special collections are not available to readers except by written permission from the Chief of the Music Division. Processed special collections may have restrictions as well. If you wish to use material in a special collection, and you are traveling to the Library from outside the Washington metropolitan area, please contact us as early as possible to check access and assure availability of this material upon your arrival.

4. When a microform of a requested item is available, readers are required to use the microform. Readers who need to examine the physical aspects of the original material should direct their requests to the librarian on duty. Any restrictions on the original material itself apply to the microform copy as well.

III. Photocopying

1. In all cases, adherence to the copyright law is the responsibility of the reader. This applies to both published and unpublished material. Music Division staff cannot provide legal advice. Researchers with copyright questions and concerns are encouraged to contact the U.S. Copyright Office (phone 202-707-3000 or email A brief written explanation of the copyright law as it applies to books and music is available at the Reference Desk.

2. No rare material may be photocopied without the permission of the librarian on duty. Fragile material may not be photocopied.

3. Readers are required to limit the number of items taken to the photocopier at one time. This ensures that both the physical condition and the filing integrity of the materials will be preserved for future visitors. Use of a photocopier or microform reader-printer is limited to fifteen minutes when others are waiting.

4. All photocopying machines, and two microform reader-printers, take only Library of Congress Copy Cards (no coins). These cards may be purchased in the Newspapers and Current Periodicals Reading Room (LM 133) or in the Law Library Reading Room (LM 201).

5. If no donor or other restrictions apply, copies of Library of Congress material on microform may be made from the reader-printers in the Performing Arts Reading Room (most expedient) or by the Library's Photoduplication Service. Readers are not permitted to make copies from microform without permission from the owner when the originals are not owned by the Library of Congress.

IV. Multi-Purpose Rooms

Several multi-purpose rooms (some equipped with pianos) are available, and may be used in conjunction with studying material in the Music Division's collections. These pianos are not intended for practice. Readers needing to use these rooms must first check with the librarian on duty. Only one folder of unbound material at a time may be taken into a multi-purpose room. Rare materials may not be taken into a multi-purpose room without permission of the librarian on duty. Please limit the number of individual pieces of sheet music taken into a room in order to preserve both the physical condition and filing integrity of the material.

Top of Page Top of Page
  Home >> Rules for Readers
  The Library of Congress >> Especially for Researchers >> Research Centers
   February 28, 2006
Contact Us:  
Ask a Librarian