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Newspaper & Current Periodical Reading Room: A Guide for Researchers

What's in the Reading Room?

Digital microfilm scanner. Library of Congress Serial & Government Publications Division.

You are very welcome in the reading room. There are several tables available for quiet study and working with the collections. Ask questions at the reference desk, request materials at the circulation desk, browse the reading room stacks, and view rare items in a display that changes monthly.

Beverages in covered, spill-proof containers are allowed in a designated area near the latest month's issues of newspapers and display magazines.

There is an array of equipment meant to facilitate research and use of the collections, and reading room staff are on hand to provide demonstrations and help get you started.

Browse These Collections

While most of our collections are stored in closed stacks, there are many ready-to-read items available in the reading room.

The following newspapers are in the self-service microfilm stacks:

Newspaper Title Available Dates
Baltimore Sun May 17, 1837 - November 30, 2017
Chicago Tribune April 23, 1849 - December 31, 2017
Financial Times January 1924 - November 29, 2019
London Times January 1785 - November 30, 2019
London Sunday Times November 3, 1822 - November 24, 2019
New York Times September 1851 - February 28, 2019
Philadelphia Inquirer November 7, 1860 - February 28, 2018
San Francisco Chronicle January 16, 1865 - April 30, 2018
Wall Street Journal July 8, 1889 - October 31, 2018
Washington Star December 16, 1852 - August 7, 1981
Washington Star News Index 1850, 1870, 1880, 1894 - 1973
Washington Post December 6, 1877 - February 28, 2018

These titles do not circulate through interlibrary loan.

Recent issues may be found in the Stacks platform, in loose print, and/or in a subscription newspaper database. Ask staff if you don't see what you need.

Find the latest month's print issues of the following titles on the self-service newspaper shelves:

  • Baltimore Sun
  • Christian Science Monitor
  • Financial Times
  • The Hill
  • International Herald Tribune
  • Miami Herald
  • New York Daily News
  • New York Post
  • New York Times
  • Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Politico
  • Roll Call
  • USA Today
  • Wall Street Journal
  • Washington Post
  • Washington Times

We receive these print issues on the day of publication.  Find today's issues of additional titles in subscription databases such as PressReader.

Issues are removed from the shelves on the 1st and the 16th of each month. On the 1st, all issues from the 1st to the 15th of the previous month are removed. On the 16th, all issues from the 16th to the 31st from the previous month are removed. All issues from the current month remain on the shelf.

The current month's issues of following titles are on the self-service periodical shelves:

  • Artforum International
  • Atlantic Monthly
  • Barron's
  • Bon Appetit
  • Business Week
  • Chronicle of Higher Education
  • Consumer Reports
  • Current History
  • Daedalus
  • Discover
  • Economist
  • Forbes
  • Foreign Affairs
  • Foreign Policy
  • Fortune
  • GQ
  • Harper's
  • The Hill (on the Self-Service Newspapers shelf)
  • Journal of American History
  • Ms
  • Nation
  • National Geographic
  • National Interest
  • National Review
  • New Criterion
  • New Republic
  • New Yorker
  • Newsweek
  • Poets and Writers
  • Popular Mechanics
  • Politico (on the Self-Service Newspapers shelf)
  • Psychology Today
  • Roll Call (on the Self-Service Newspapers shelf)
  • Rolling Stone
  • Science
  • Scientific American
  • Smithsonian
  • Times Literary Supplement: TLS
  • Travel & Leisure
  • Vanity Fair
  • Washingtonian
  • Wired

The vast majority of the comic book collection is stored in the division’s vault and issues must be requested individually by title and issue number.  However, there is a small selection of comic books from various time periods and genres readily available in the reading room.  Look for them near the self-service periodical and newspaper shelves and in the rotating display carousel near the reference stacks.

The reading room book stacks hold a variety of general reference works, indexes, directories, bibliographies, encyclopedias, biographies, guides, and specialized sources that complement the collections held by the Serial & Government Publications Division.  See a few examples below, which link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are included when available.


Computers 19 public computers with internet access are available. Two machines are reserved for researching collection materials through the Stacks platform. One terminal is equipped with the JAWS screen-reading software program. Software, such as Microsoft Office Word, is not available.
Digital Microfilm Scanners 22 ViewScan microfilm readers allow for saving high-quality images in a variety of file types directly from microfilm. Bring a USB drive in order to save images.
Microfilm Readers Five microfilm readers allow for newspaper-sized image viewing; there are no image-saving capabilities, but these viewers are useful for research that requires browsing through a large amount of microfilm.
Overhead Scanners Two Book2Net scanners capture high-quality images from original print materials (condition permitting). Bring a USB drive, which is required for saving images.
Printer/Copier/Scanner Printing and copying is $0.20/page for black/white and $0.50/page for color. Scanning to email is free.