Hours and Location
The Library and Archives Reading Room is open to the public from Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is closed on federal holidays and Yom Kippur.
No appointment is necessary to visit the Reading Room or to use library materials; however, patrons are advised to see the guidance below on searching our resources and on reserving materials in planning a visit, and are encouraged to contact us in advance if planning to use archival collections.
Circulation and Interlibrary Loan
The Library is set up primarily to support research on site. Consequently, we do not loan materials via interlibrary loan nor do library materials circulate to the general public. However, materials needed for ongoing research may be reserved over several days, and materials can be placed on hold prior to your visit. Please contact your local librarian to determine another source for the item you are seeking or a member of our reference staff for assistance with a particular item.
Copying, Scanning, and WiFi Options
All microform stations are enabled with scanners that create digital copies of materials rather than paper-based photocopies. Patrons are encouraged to bring a storage device, such as a USB thumb drive or portable hard drive, for use in the reading rooms. Personal laptop computers are welcome and the Museum provides a WiFi-enabled network to support your research needs. Additionally, a scanning station and a photocopy machine are available for your convenience and USB storage devices can be purchased in the Museum Shop.
Reserve materials in advance
Unless otherwise specified in the library and archives catalog, all library materials are available on site and do not require an appointment or advanced arrangements for use. On the other hand, archival materials are stored in various locations based on their preservation and housing needs and do require more time to prepare for a user. Therefore, whenever possible, you should request specific materials from the reference staff in advance of your arrival.
Because of copyright restrictions, it is not possible for staff to produce duplications of library materials in any format. Photocopiers and scanning stations are provided for “fair use” of materials by researchers. Depending on the restrictions placed on an archival collection by its donor or host institution, it may be possible to purchase a duplication of a reel of microfilm, set of microfiche, or oral history interviews. Those interested should contact staff to make arrangements, or learn about fees for reproductions.
Search before you arrive
Many steps of the research process can be completed prior to your arrival at the Museum. Advanced planning on your part will increase the amount of time you will have to work with the materials when you arrive on site. The following section includes pointers on things you can do from home:
The library and archives combined catalog can be searched online. We strongly recommend that you identify materials you would like to use before arriving. Please mark down the “Location” and “Call Number” as displayed in the catalog. No prior appointment is needed to access library materials, however if the location field reads “Archives” you are strongly encouraged to contact us in advance to have those materials prepared prior to your arrival.
The Museum has a collection of annotated bibliographies on many Holocaust-related topics. Each bibliography includes call numbers where the items can be found in the Museum’s collection, annotations to describe the materials, and bibliographic citation’s. Additionally links to WorldCat’s “Find in a library near you" feature can assist in locating items in your community.
Between 1994 and 2002, the USC Shoah Foundation Institute conducted and recorded nearly 52,000 interviews with Holocaust survivors and other witnesses from 56 countries. While the testimonies cannot be viewed online, the testimony catalogue can be searched by name online. You may also contact a reference staff to request that certain videos be loaded prior to your arrival.
Although there is no master list of Holocaust Victims and Survivors, many different types of lists have been preserved. Searching by geographic place name (not a person’s name), will allow you to identify materials of interest to your project, and identify either an archival collection or a library book that you are interested in consulting. As above, it is best to contact in advance to request archival materials be prepared for your visit.
If you know of a particular collection you are interested in accessing, it may be possible for you to view the finding aid directly from the catalog record, or locate finding aids in this database. After reviewing the finding aid, you can request particular reels or fiche from the collection to be prepared for your visit. While not all collections have English-language finding aids, it may be possible for reference staff to provide a working draft created by the host institution.
If you do not have a particular collection in mind, you can search within the library and archives catalog to identify a collection, or review collections acquired via the Archival Guide to the Collections.
There is no single list of Holocaust victims or survivors. Instead, tracing an individual through the Holocaust is a process of piecing together bits of information from a variety of sources. When available, the name of the town in which a particular individual resided prior to the war provides the most fruitful entry point to the available resources and can indicate to the proper sources or existing records. The Museum’s Holocaust Survivors and Victims Resource Center provides detailed information on researching individuals during the Holocaust.
Researchers that access the library and archives reading rooms represent one of the Museum’s key constituencies and your insight and feedback provide valuable guidance to the services we provide. Please take a few moments to complete the reading room survey and return it to a library staff member, or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We appreciate any suggestions.