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Lithuanian Collections at the Library of Congress

Lithuanian materials are held throughout the Library of Congress. The European Reading Room is the reference point for these holdings. This guide provides an overview of materials, in different formats, in the general and special collections.

Overview of the Lithuanian Collections

Pasveikinimas iš Vilniaus Pogulianka; Šv. Onos bažnyčia; Šv. Jurgio prospektas; Žaliasis tiltas; Šv. Rapolo Bažnyčia. [between 1895 and 1917]. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Reading Room.

The Lithuanian collections at the Library of Congress are the largest in the Americas and probably the largest outside of Lithuania. Because the Lithuanian materials are included in the Library's general collections and in the special collections of various divisions, it is difficult to determine how many titles or volumes the Library has. A rough estimate indicates that there are about 25,000 volumes from or about Lithuania. This estimate comprises nearly 15,000 monographic titles, including multi-volume works, and about 1,000 serial titles, which usually consist of multiple volumes.

The current growth rate (2014) for monographic titles is about 250 per year; about 200 of these come from Lithuania and 50 from other countries. Of the nearly 15,000 monographic titles in the collections, over 9,200 are published in Vilnius and about 1,250 are published in Kaunas. A few are published in other Lithuanian cities: about 130 in Klaipeda and about 60 in Siauliai, with much smaller numbers in other locations.

Slightly more than 60 percent of these monographs are in Lithuanian, almost 13 percent in Russian, 11 percent in English, and 9 percent in Polish, with smaller percentages in German, French, and other languages. Although the overall percentage of books in Lithuanian is slightly more than 60 percent, the average for book receipts in Lithuanian from the 1970s to the present is about 70 percent. During the Soviet period, the percentage of monographs in Russian was much higher than it is today, whereas the percentage of monographs in English is much higher now than during Soviet times.

In addition to items from or about Lithuania proper, there are many works subsumed under the "Baltic" subject heading, including, for example, the term "Baltic states" and "Baltic Sea region." About 3,000 pertinent monographs in this category do not even use the word Lithuania as a subject heading.

Additional resources

Jonas P. Balys. "Lithuanian Materials Available in the Library of Congress," in Lituanus, vol. 20, no. 4, 1974, pp. 32-41. Mr. Jonas ("John") P. Balys, an important Lithuanian folklorist, worked as a librarian at the Library of Congress from 1956 to 1981.

John P. Balys. "The Baltic States: A 10-Year Survey," in Quarterly Journal of Current Acquisitions, vol. 20, no. 1, December 1962, pp. 80-92. Describes publications from and about Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania published between 1952 and 1961.