What does Not on Shelf mean?

If an item you requested is not delivered or you receive a message that an item is "not on the shelf," it means that the book retrieval team was unable to locate the item. If the information you submitted with your retrieval request was accurate, you can submit a Special Search Request that prompt us to do a thorough review of the stacks in order to track down the materials. Staff will then conduct a comprehensive, long-term search for the missing item over a 30-day period. We can also help gain access to materials that might be internally checked out to offices within the Library or are assigned to a reference collection or other location. Reference staff may also be able to help you identify other area libraries which have copies of an item in their collections.


Last Updated: Dec 14, 2023
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Please Note

All items lent from the Library of Congress collections must be used on borrowing library premises.

Additional Ways to Contact Us

Send written correspondence to:

Researcher Engagement and General Collections Division
Library of Congress 
Washington, D.C. 20540-4660

Return books via FedEx or UPS to:

Library of Congress, CALM Division 4670
101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20540-4670