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Online Catalog

Library of Congress > LC Online Catalog > Account Help
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Reader Registration

Public patrons of the Library's research areas, including Computer Catalog Centers and Copyright Office public service areas, are required to have a Reader Identification Card issued by the Library. These cards are free-of-charge and are valid for two years from the date of issue. Researchers must be at least 16 years old at the time of registration.

Sample Library of Congress Reader Identification Card

Sample Library of Congress Reader Identification Card

Library patrons must register in person at the Reader Registration and Researcher Guidance Office, located in the Madison Building, Room LM 140 (First Floor, near the Independence Avenue entrance <view campus map>). Please present a valid driver's license, state-issued identification card, or passport as proof of identification. Once your ID has been verified, Library staff will take an identification photo, have you provide a digitized signature, and give you your registration card.

Reader Registration Hours

Reader registration stations are open Monday through Saturday (stations are closed Sundays and Federal holidays):

  • Reader Registration & Research Guidance Office (LM 140): 8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday through Saturday
  • Main Reading Room (LJ 100): 4:30pm to 9pm, on evenings when the general reading rooms are open until 9:30pm

Online Pre-Registration

You may pre-register online by completing a simple Web registration form up to two weeks before visiting the Library. To complete the registration process, pre-registered patrons must still report to the Reader Registration Station to present valid identification and receive their card.

Special Instructions for Large Groups

If you plan to bring large groups of new researchers to the Library for registration, please contact the supervisor of the Reader Registration Station in advance at 202-707-5278 to ensure expeditious processing of the group.

Additional Access Requirements for Some Reading Rooms

A valid Reader Identification Card is the minimum requirement for access to the Library's public reading rooms. Some reading rooms have supplemental registration procedures and/or conditions of use. For more information about the requirements in a particular reading room, please contact the reading room(s) you plan to visit.

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Requesting Materials from the LC Online Catalog

Library of Congress registered readers may use the LC Online Catalog to request materials from the Library's general collections. The Catalog's automated call slip service (ACS) offers delivery of materials only to the Library's Main, Science and Business, European, Hispanic, Law, and Performing Arts reading rooms. You must have a valid Reader Identification Card and use your individual "account number." See the Guide for Requesting Materials in the Library's Online Catalog for additional information.

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Need a Password?

Using the Catalog's automated call slip service requires three login elements: your last name, your account number (which appears on your Reader Identification Card), and a password.

Temporary Password

You will be issued a temporary password to first log into your LC Online Catalog automated call slip account. After successfully logging in with the temporary password, you will immediately be prompted to change your password to one of your own choosing.

Password Rules

Passwords must be 5-12 characters in length and may contain any combination of letters and numbers. Special characters (such as punctuation and spacing) may not be used.

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Library Patron Login

After obtaining your Reader Identification Card, please go to the Center Circulation Desk in either the Main Reading Room (Thomas Jefferson Building) or the Science and Business Reading Room (John Adams Building) to get a temporary password for use during initial login.

If you experience problems with your password or call slip account, please check with Library staff at the Center Circulation Desk in the Main or Science and Business reading rooms.

Congressional and Library Staff Login

Congressional and Library staff receive their initial temporary passwords through email. The email text contains the contact information you need if you encounter problems with your password or call slip account.

Additional Patron Account Benefits

Registered readers -- as well as Congressional and Library staff with Library of Congress patron accounts -- have additional privileges in the Library's Primo Central discovery system and the HathiTrust Digital Library:

  • In Primo Central: you can create a personal account that enables you to refine and save search queries as well as save individual citations from your search results. You can also set up alerts for your saved queries that trigger email notifications when new citations are found.
  • In the HathiTrust Digital Library: you can download full PDFs of public domain works that appear in HathiTrust (note that logging on to HathiTrust does not provide access to page images of "Limited (search only)" items). You can also access HathiTrust's Collection Builder, a tool that helps you create and share your personal collections of HathiTrust items for private or public use. Click here for more information on logging in to HathiTrust.

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