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North Macedonia and the Macedonian Collections in the Library of Congress

Macedonian materials are located throughout the Library of Congress with the European Reading Room as the main point of contact. This overview of the collections describes books, e-resources, journals, visual materials, and other special formats.


Image of book cover for Manifest na ASNOM
WWII partisan independence manifesto, Antifašističko sobranie na narodnoto osloboduvanje na Makedonija. Manifest na ASNOM [Manifest of ASNOM]. 1944. Library of Congress European Reading Room.

The Library of Congress has been collecting publications related to North Macedonia for over 70 years and has amassed a collection particularly strong in the areas of history, literature, economics, law, and the political and cultural life of the Macedonian people. The intent of the guide is to provide an overview of the collections from and about North Macedonia in the Library of Congress to enable a researcher to assess if a visit to the Library will be necessary to undertake research. With descriptions of various genres of publications, as well as a bit of history of the development of the collections, the guide covers collection materials across all reading rooms and internal divisions of the Library, including our digital collections.

The first publications collected by the Library were titles from Western Europe on the subject of Macedonia or the Balkans, rather than books published in the Macedonian language. The Library was not particularly active in its collecting of Balkan materials in the 19th and early 20th centuries, relying instead on international exchanges for materials from Serbia and the former Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Large-scale exchanges and purchases from Yugoslavia began only in the late 1940s, coinciding with both the establishment of communist Yugoslavia and the Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, along with the codification of the Macedonian language. The change from a policy of piecemeal acquisitions to massive systematic acquisitions occurred due to the U.S. government's Cold War interest in the region.

The new program provided a majority of the Macedonian publishing output of titles of research value. Journals and newspapers began to be collected systematically, but mostly titles from the capital city of Skopje. The Library's acquisition of materials from South Slavic countries was accelerated in 1967 with the introduction of the Public Law 480 Program, which enabled the Library to use Yugoslav domestic currency to set up an office in Belgrade and systematically to purchase all new titles from all parts of Yugoslavia and to subscribe to the most important journals and newspapers. The Library's Belgrade office operated for five years, and offered a unique opportunity for acquiring those titles that were published in lower print runs..

The Macedonian books in the Library of Congress collection are mostly from the post-communist era, plus 2,000 titles stemming from the Yugoslav era. Over 80% of the holdings were published since the disintegration of Yugoslavia in 1991 reflecting both the growth in the Macedonian publishing industry and the benefit of a country-specific acquisitions program versus acquisitions of materials from Macedonia as just one region in a larger, multi-ethnic country. Strong, comprehensive collecting of scholarly and current events materials begun during the communist era continues to this day with the Library maintaining an approval plan for Macedonian publications, but only a limited publications exchange. We acquire on average 2,600 pieces (both books and periodical issues) per annum. The collection has grown to almost 11,000 book titles and approximately 300 serial titles, one of the largest in the United States. Examples of special acquisitions made in recent years are current telephone and business directories, election ephemera, back issues of many periodicals such as Köprü, the journal for the Turkish minority in Macedonia, and high school history textbooks in Macedonian.

Library of Congress Guides to Macedonian Resources

In addition to this overview-guide of the Macedonian collections, staff of the Library of Congress have produced several other more detailed guides on Macedonian resources. They are linked below.