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Current Periodical Collections at the Library of Congress

Print Collections

Lee, R., photographer, Magazine stand, Washington, D.C., 1938. 1938. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

The Serial & Government Publications print current periodical collection contains approximately 60,000 titles with issues spanning the most recent two years. In general, currently received print issues are reformatted to microfilm or bound together in hardcover library binding according to a set schedule.

Custody of print periodicals is shared between the General Collections and the Serial and Government Publications Division. The Main Reading Room and the Science and Business Reading Room are the principal points for gaining access to the Library's General Collections of bound periodicals. Serials can also be found in most reading rooms. For example,

  • Law journals are kept in the Law Library;
  • Music journals are found in the Performing Arts Reading Room;
  • Non-roman alphabet materials (the Slavic-, Asian-, and Near Eastern-language publications) are located in the Asian, African and Middle Eastern, and European Divisions.

Although the Serial and Government Publications Division retains only the unbound, current issues of periodicals received by the Library, division staff members are specialists in serial publications in general, and reference staff can help you identify titles of interest and verify Library holdings in all formats.

Note: unbound print issues (usually the most current issues received) cannot be requested through the catalog. All requests must be done in person in the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room (NCPRR). For access, fill out a paper request form at the circulation desk and list the individual issues you need by title and date or issue number. Collections staff will locate the material on your behalf and delivery time is generally within 30 minutes. A small number of titles are immediately available in our Display Periodical area of the NCPRR (see below).

Bound volumes of non-current periodicals (generally, issues older than 24 months) are housed in the General Collections and shelved by call number. Bound periodicals can be requested with the Automated Call System in the online catalog by clicking the "Request This Item" button. You can specify the issue you want, giving as much information as possible, including the day, month, year, volume, and issue or series number if available. For more information on requesting material, see Requesting Materials in the LC Online Catalog ( (PDF).

While the vast majority of current issues of periodicals are available by request in the NCPRR, there are some exceptions based on the subject or language. Other reading rooms also retain smaller-scale periodical collections, and we encourage you to ask reading room staff what is available.

Display Periodical Collection

A selection of the latest print editions of popular magazines and journals is available for browsing in the Newspaper & Current Periodical Reading Room. These issues do not need to be requested via the paper request form. At present, the latest issue of the following titles is on display:

Atlantic Monthly Artforum International
Barron's Bookforum
Bloomberg BusinessWeek Bon Appétit
Chronicle of Higher Education Consumer Reports
Current History Daedalus
Discover Economist
Forbes Foreign Affairs
Foreign Policy Fortune
GQ Harper's
Harvard Business Review The Hill
Ms. The Nation
National Geographic National Interest
National Review New Republic
New Yorker Newsweek
NYT Review of Books Poets & Writers 
Politico Popular Mechanics
Psychology Today Roll Call
Rolling Stone Science
Scientific American Smithsonian
Time TLS, the Times Literary Supplement 
Travel & Leisure  Vanity Fair
Washingtonian Wired