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Library of Congress to Welcome Visitors on Floor of Main Reading Room

Release Date: 06 Apr 2023

Library of Congress to Welcome Visitors on Floor of Main Reading Room
Visitors Can Experience Grand Space on Weekdays, During Live at the Library

The Library of Congress will soon welcome visitors to experience its grand Main Reading Room in the Thomas Jefferson Building. Beginning Tuesday, April 11, the floor of the Main Reading Room will be open for visitors to view from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 2 to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays through Fridays. Usually reserved for researchers, this access will offer visitors a chance to walk inside and see one of Washington’s most beautiful spaces.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to Experience the Main Reading Room on Thursday evenings starting April 13 as part of Live at the Library, when the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building and all exhibitions are open for extended hours from 5 to 8 p.m. Visitors are invited to enjoy happy hour drinks and snacks available for purchase in the Great Hall overlooking the Capitol and the building’s beautiful architecture while immersing themselves in the Library’s exhibits, collections and programs.

Visitors to the Thomas Jefferson Building during its regular visitor hours, including Live at the Library, must reserve free timed-entry passes. Due to strong interest and limited capacity, those with timed-entry passes are not guranteed access to the floor of the Main Reading Room. Guide-led tours of the Thomas Jefferson Building will also resume this spring. 

Researcher access to the Main Reading Room will not change, and the Library expects to maintain the respectful atmosphere of the Main Reading Room. Visitors to the Main Reading Room are encouraged to be mindful that it is a working research space and that the experience is one of quiet reflection. The number of visitors allowed in the space at one time will be restricted. Visitors may take photos of the space, but flash photography is not allowed. Visitors may not photograph or video researchers or staff. Bags and coats are not allowed in the Main Reading Room and must be checked. Food and drink are not permitted in the Main Reading Room. 

This pilot project for expanded visitor access to the Main Reading Room will continue through September 2023.

The Capitol Visitor Center Tunnel has reopened to visitors with timed-entry passes for the Thomas Jefferson Building. The tunnel is located on the ground floor and provides easy navigation between the Jefferson Building and the Capitol Visitor Center.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at; and register creative works of authorship at


PR 23-014
ISSN 0731-3527

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