How do I schedule a viewing appointment?

Guidelines for viewing films, videos and digital files at the Library of Congress

Who Can View

Viewing facilities are provided without charge for individuals doing research that will lead to publicly available works, such as dissertations, publications, or film/television productions. University students, with projects endorsed by their professors also qualify. We are unable to accommodate groups.

Submitting Viewing Requests

When submitting viewing requests, please provide the following information:

  1. Title(s)
  2. Call Number (e.g. VBG 3214; FCA 4414-4416)
  3. Year of Production
  4. Desired date for the appointment

Viewing Film Prints and Videos

Appointments for viewing film prints and video copies should be made as far in advance as possible to guarantee that requests can be fulfilled, with a minimum of two weeks advance notice. A six-week lead time will guarantee that all but the most irreparably damaged items can be made accessible. Less advance notice allows our staff less time to inspect requested items and deliver them to the Research Center from storage at the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Virginia.

Access to Film Prints

In an effort to minimize potential damage to the material, we sometimes prohibit access to film prints, especially if the title is readily available on DVD or online. Exceptions, however, can be made for specific research needs. Film prints are inspected before delivery to the Reading Room. If a copy is in poor condition, it will not be made available for viewing. Every attempt will be made to transfer the item to a digital file, but this process may take up to six weeks.

To avoid damage to the material, film prints must be viewed at normal sound speed. Fast forwarding or rewinding is strictly prohibited. Viewers may, however, stop films and rewind scenes at normal speed for note taking. Patrons are not allowed to thread films on the viewing flatbeds; assistance will be provided.


Recording equipment of any type is not allowed in the viewing room. Photographing images from the screen for reference purposes will be permitted only when authorized in advance by our reference staff.

Last Updated: May 29, 2020
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Please Note

We cannot provide subject research for stock footage or copying of most of the films and videos in our collection.

Additional Ways to Contact Us

Please send written correspondence to:

Moving Image Research Center
101 Independence Ave. SE
James Madison Building, LM 336
Washington, D.C. 20540-4690