Onsite Research

The Reading Room is open Monday through Friday, except University Holidays. During the summer (May–August), the Reading Room is only open Monday through Thursday. Access to the Reading Room must be scheduled in advance. Access is limited to 2–3 patrons at a time.

Facial coverings must be worn while onsite. In accordance with Catholic University and DC guidelines, all visitors to the reading room must wear a facial covering at all times while indoors.

Please visit the Catholic University’s COVID-19 page for the latest information: https://communications.catholic.edu/coronavirus/index.html

If traveling from outside the Maryland, Virginia, and DC region, please be aware of the DC Mayor's Orders on Travel: https://coronavirus.dc.gov/phasetwo

If unable to visit the Reading Room, please refer to our virtual reference policies to see how we may assist your research remotely.

Virtual Reference Policy

We welcome all reference requests and inquiries about Catholic University and our collections. Either due to distance or ongoing travel restrictions, we are extending our long-distance and virtual services to better provide remote reference, photoduplication, and access. You may send an inquiry by e-mail (lib-archives@cua.edu) or phone: 202-319-5065.

Virtual Reference Service

For patrons unable to visit the Reading Room, the reference staff can provide virtual reference services via email, phone, Zoom, or Google Meet. Virtual appointments may be arranged with staff to discuss our collections via Zoom or Google Meet. Staff will provide the link invitation for these appointments and may offer up to 20 minutes per meeting. Staff cannot conduct general research on behalf of patrons during these appointments, but may address questions, discuss a patron's research topic and our collections, and show pre-selected documents.

Virtual Class Visits and Tours

The staff of the Catholic University Special Collections value the educational function of our archives, museum, and rare books collections. When classes or patrons are unable to visit, we make a variety of virtual services available to educators:


Staff are available to give presentations to classes and educators on a range of topics related to our collections and online educational resources.

We are available to give both general and themed presentations for educators, university staff, and researchers. Examples of past themes include: early printing culture; American labor history; history of catechisms; and Catholic University history.


Staff are available to lead both general and themed tours for educators, university staff, and researchers.

Tours can be held live via Zoom or Google Meet, or pre-recorded. Tours can be fully virtual or hybrid (i.e., with some members of the tour in-person and others remote). Live tours will not be recorded or shared without the permission of the educator.

Please contact Maria Mazzenga at 202-319-5065 or Mazzenga@cua.edu to discuss presentation possibilities or to schedule a tour.


We are happy to provide photoduplication services for remote researchers. However, we limit such services to 5 folder requests per 3-month period per researcher. These requests will be completed in the order received, and may take up to two (2) weeks to complete.

Materials may be photocopied in accordance with the limits of the Copyright Act and archives policies. The archives may set restrictions to protect fragile, damaged, or oversize materials. The archives staff will make all copies. Charges for photocopies are as follows:

  • 10 cents per copy for the first 100 letter size (8x11) copies;
  • 20 cents per copy for letter size copies 101 and thereafter;
  • 25 cents per copy for all legal size (11x14) copies; and
  • 50 cents per copy for all oversize (11x17) copies.