Erin Sidwell, Reference Librarian, Serial & Government Publications Division
Note: This guide was adapted from several Information Circulars written by staff in the Constituent Services section of the Serial & Government Publications Division from 1955-1972.
Created: October 14, 2020
Last Updated: May 25, 2022
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Some of the most frequently asked questions received by reference staff in the Newspaper & Current Periodical Reading Room relate to old newspaper issues that people discover at home or at estate sales or auctions:
Is my newspaper issue historically significant?
Is my issue of the Ulster County Gazette real?
How much is my newspaper worth?
How can I preserve my newspaper collection?
Can I donate my newspaper to the Library of Congress collections?
In some cases, original print newspaper issues have high monetary and/or artifactual value, while reprints generally do not.
The Noteworthy Issues section contains the text from "Information Circulars" that were created by staff in the Serial & Government Publications Division in response to a high volume of inquiries received about several particular issues of historical significance (note: this is not a comprehensive list of every historically significant newspaper). The issues described in the Information Circulars are known to have been reprinted, sometimes several times throughout history. The circulars have detailed information about the identifying features of original issues and reprinted issues. Item availability at the Library of Congress is noted at the bottom of each page in the Noteworthy Issues section. The Glossary contains explanations for some of the "newspaper jargon" used in the Information Circulars, and other frequently asked questions are addressed in the Additional Resources section.
The Serial & Government Publications Division maintains one of the most extensive newspaper collections in the world. Beyond its newspaper holdings, the Division also has extensive collections of current periodicals, government publications, and comic books. These collections are accessed in the Newspaper & Current Periodical Reading Room which is located in Room LM-133 in the James Madison building in Washington, D.C.