1. Does the Library of Congress collect materials only from
the United States or from around the world?
The Library of Congress collects materials from all over the
globe. Its collections of foreign-language materials are stunning
in their scope and quality. For many areas of the world, such
as China, Russia, and Latin America, its collections are the finest
and most comprehensive research collections outside the country
of origin. For several regions in the world, where preserving
materials takes a back seat to more immediate human needs, the
collections are superior to what is available locally.
2. How many languages are represented in the Library's collections?
Over half of the book and serial collections are in languages
other than English. More than 460 languages and several scripts
3. How many countries are represented in the Library's collections?
The Library's goal is to collect materials from every country.
4. Why should I use the collections of the Library of Congress
when I can go directly to the country of my interest and use materials
Prior to travel, researchers planning international field study
can use the resources of the Library to obtain current information
about their destination that will help to establish a more focused
plan of action so that they get the most value from the time spent
abroad In addition, for many areas of the world, the Library's
collections are more accessible or better preserved than they
are in the country of origin.
5. How may the Library of Congress help me to prepare to use
international research institutions?
The Library of Congress has inventories and catalogs of foreign
archives and libraries to help you identify resources and their
locations. You may consult user guides written by these institutions
at the Library. Based on first hand knowledge, the reference specialist
may also advise you on foreign research such as research services
and facilities, requirements for use and professional colleagues
6. Where may I find information about other countries?
The Area Studies divisions are the primary gateways to begin
your research on other countries using the international collections.
Visiting the reference staff in these divisions is the logical
first step for researchers. When possible, users of area studies
materials are urged to contact the appropriate
staff prior to their arrival.
Portals to the World page is the place to begin your search
for information about other countries from electronic links. These
aggregations of links are arranged by country and selected by
Library of Congress specialists. They provide authoritative and
7. What are the entrance requirements for the Area Studies
The entrance requirement for each Area Studies reading room is
a valid reader
8. What are the hours of the Area Studies reading rooms?
The reading rooms are available Monday-Friday, 8:30 am-5:00 p.m.
The Library of Congress is closed on all Federal
Holidays. For more information--or to inquire about special
arrangements--contact each reading room
9. Does the Library offer research grants or fellowships to
encourage the use of its international material?
At the present time the Library offers a
variety of research opportunities administered by the Kluge
10. Does the Library offer internships and volunteer opportunities
to work with its international collections?
Occasionally. Interested persons may contact the specific Area
11. May I search the Library's catalog for international material
Yes. Several options are provided on the online
catalog search page including searching by language of publication.
However, not all Library of Congress international materials currently
appear in the online catalog. Check with the Area Studies reading
rooms for additional holdings.
12. May I borrow material from an international collection?
The Library lends material via its inter-library
loan service to libraries not to individuals. Check with your local
library for specifics.
13. How does the Library acquire foreign language materials
and material from foreign countries?
The Library acquires material primarily by purchase, gift and
exchange. For more details contact the Acquisition
14. Are international electronic resources available?
Check with each reading room for access
to significant electronic resources.
15. Is fee-for-service research on foreign and domestic topics
from the Library of Congress available?
Yes, but such service is limited to agencies of the United States Government
and the District of Columbia. Federal contractors, with proper authorization, also
can use this service under Federal Acquisition Regulation 51.1.
Others can obtain fee-based research and analysis from the Library
of Congress via the National Technical Information Service (NTIS). Contact the Federal
Research Division for details.
16. What is the Area Handbooks/Country Studies series?
Books within this series provide basic background information on each country's history, culture,
economics, government and politics, and national security. The
Department of the Army, which had been the sponsor since the 1950s,
terminated funding for the project in 1998. These publications
may be out of date as to current data but continue to provide
valuable, in-depth background on a country's history, culture,
geography, and society. The Library of Congress is working through
a variety of channels to revive the program and thus continue
to expand and update both the print versions and Country
studies online versions.
17. May I arrange to have a tailored international collection
briefing for my special group, or graduate class?
Yes. Contact each division directly to be connected to the unit
or specialist you need to make arrangements for this service.