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Reading Room Events

This guide provides helpful information related to hosting events in the Reading Room.

Reserve the Historic Reading Room

library ceilingIf you're looking for a beautiful space to host an event for the Commerce Department, the Reading Room is an excellent choice. You can use it for high-level diplomatic signings, advisory board meetings, or internal training sessions.

The Reading Room is available for reservation on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and you can book it up to 90 days in advance. However, due to high demand, we can only hold one potential date for you. If your preferred date is unavailable, you can check out other spaces in Commerce HQ.

Please review this guide to determine if the Reading Room suits your event; you can check availability at the link below. Once you submit the reservation form, please allow 1-2 business days for a decision to be made. You will receive an email from about whether your request has been approved or denied.

Please contact the library, if you have any questions or would like to visit the Reading Room and learn more.


Is the Reading Room Right for Your Event?

Please read the following information to understand the expectations to ensure everyone can enjoy the historic Reading Room.

The Reading Room can only be reserved by Commerce staff with a duty station in the Herbert C. Hoover Building (HCHB) in Washington, DC. This is to make sure the hosting program can access the space and request related services.  

The Reading Room is part of a working library and is not suitable for events requiring confidentiality. Privacy cannot be guaranteed.

If you're planning an event in the Reading Room, it should have a minimum of 20 guests and a maximum of 110 guests. However, it's recommended that you don't exceed 75 guests, depending on the setup. For events with less than 20 guests or more than 110 guests, please use the  Conference Room Reservation System to find spaces in HCHB that have more suitable capacities.

While library staff are generally onsite, they cannot guarantee availability or assistance during your event. It's the responsibility of program offices to ensure that an appropriate number of support staff are available to assist with all aspects of the event, including setup, execution (including AV support), takedown, and cleanup.

To Ensure a Smooth and Successful Event:

If you are unfamiliar with the room, an in-person walkthrough is strongly recommended to ensure all parties understand the opportunities, challenges, and technical aspects of using the room. Please invite all relevant program staff, especially anyone who will be running the AV, when you schedule the walkthrough.

Like other conference rooms in HCHB, the sponsoring program office is responsible for the entire process, including set up, execution, takedown, and cleanup. Sponsors are responsible for coordinating with other HCHB offices as appropriate, to include Moving Services, Security, OCIO, and CHIMES.

If the event includes non-DOC attendees, program offices are responsible for coordinating internally and conforming to all procedures related to members of the public or Foreign Nationals being onsite.

After the event, program offices are expected to leave the room in an orderly fashion. This includes tidying the space and having the trash emptied if food debris is present, ensuring the carpet is largely clean (a vacuum is available or by paying CHIMES), wiping down tables/table cloths, putting away any other library event supplies that were used (power strips, microphones, easels), and resetting the furniture (unless it is being used by the next event).

History & Architecture of the Reading Room

Curious about the features of this one-of-a-kind space?  Explore our Digital Exhibits to learn more.


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