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European Reading Room: European Division, Area Studies
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Photo of the European Reading RoomAbout the European Division


The primary role of the European Division is to enhance the value of the Library's European collections through recommendation of research materials for addition to the collections, assistance to scholars, other libraries, federal agencies, and the public in the use of the collections, and interpretation of the collections through guides, bibliographies, and other studies. These services are provided by the Division's area (country) specialists and by the staff of the European Reading Room.

History and Background

In 1906 the Library purchased the 80,000 volume collection of Russian bibliophile Genadii Yudin, making the Library of Congress a leading center for Slavic research in the United States. Librarian of Congress Herbert Putnam created a Slavic Section in 1907 to cope with this acquisition. The Slavic Section evolved into a Slavic Division after World War I in 1919, providing cataloging and reference services.

As a result of the reorganization of the Library in 1944, in which the cataloging and reference functions were separated, the Slavic Division was abolished. It was reestablished in 1951.

During the 1950s, as new countries were added to its area of responsibility, the Slavic Division evolved into the Slavic and East European Division. The name was changed to the European Division in 1978, when it was expanded to include all of Europe except Iberia and Great Britain.

More on the Division and Its History

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  October 24, 2012
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