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Using the Library of Congress Online: A Guide for Middle and High School Students

The Library’s website ( provides open access to a wide variety of digital primary and secondary sources of interest to researchers of all ages. This guide provides links to these resources and search tools, as well as strategies for their use.


The Young Readers Center hosts a Constitution Day workshop for local students, with guests Cynthia and Sandy Levinson. September 17, 2018. Photo by Shawn Miller, Library of Congress Office of Communications.

The website of the Library of Congress offers many resources to support researchers of all ages. Although you do need to be at least 16 years old (*see note below) to access the Library's Main Reading Room, and other select reading rooms, in person, there is still plenty that you can access online.

This guide provides links to primary and secondary sources, as well as information on citing sources, formatting papers, strategies for searching, and types of sources. In short, it is designed to help you identify and use online resources from the Library of Congress for a range of research projects—inside or outside the classroom.

If you have specific questions, you can always contact a Library of Congress reference librarian, via the "Ask-a-Librarian" feature on the left side of the page. You can also find links to websites to help you with assignments that have been recommended by Library of Congress staff here. Let us know how we can help!

To get you started, if you’re looking for some examples of researchers who have used the Library’s collections in their projects, these might be of interest.

*Note:  Researchers age 16 and above may apply for a readers card to use the Main Reading Room. Researchers must be at least 18 years old to use the Manuscript Division; in the Prints and Photographs Division, researchers age 15 and up may use the reading room if they meet certain criteria outlined online. Children are not allowed to accompany adult researchers. Other restrictions may apply to teen researchers; teens should contact the relevant reading room for requirements.