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Zsuzsa Daczó, Reference Librarian, Latin American, Caribbean and European Division
Note: An earlier version of the Moldovan collection overview by Grant Harris appeared on the European Reading Room's website.
Created: March 18, 2023
Last Updated: March 18, 2023
At this time the Library of Congress holds some 10,000 titles, comprising more than 12,000 volumes from or related to Moldova, and thousands of periodical issues. Most of these are stored with the rest of the Library's materials in the general collections, and can be requested from the catalog. Additional materials can be found in special collections such as maps, microfilm, rare books, music, law, and the American folk life collection. Subjects throughout the humanities, social sciences, and sciences have been collected by our library, while technical agriculture and clinical medicine are covered by the National Agricultural Library and the National Library of Medicine, respectively.
The majority of the materials in the Library's collections were published in Moldova or its immediate predecessor, the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic (MSSR) that existed between 1940-1991. Over 4,000 of the titles are in Russian, as that was the primary print language during the MSSR years. The secondary print language during those years was what the Soviets called Moldovan, which was essentially Romanian but written with Cyrillic letters rather than the customary Latin alphabet. The library has a few hundred such titles in the Moldovan that used Cyrillic letters. The Library of Congress uses this Romanization Table to convert the Russian Cyrillic that was used in Moldova into Latin letters. We also created a transliteration table that links Romanian spelling with the Romanized Cyrillic used in our catalog for these titles.
What is today the Republic of Moldova was in the past few hundreds of years at times part of the Russian Empire, Ottoman Empire, Greater Romania, and the Soviet Union. During these times the Library typically received books from the centers of power, such as Moscow or Bucharest, and unfortunately these purchases did not include as many materials from Moldova as were published. During Soviet times the Library of Congress was not able to purchase materials of its choosing, it had to rely on what was made available by the central authorities.
The Library has acquired mostly Romanian-language titles since 1991, when Moldova gained independence and that allowed it to publish more in the language of the majority population, Romanian. At this time it has more than 5,000 items related to Moldova in Romanian, published in either Moldova or Romania. There are also about 1,000 titles in English, a few hundred additional titles in German, French, Turkish, Gagauz, Ukrainian, Hungarian, and other languages.
The intent of the guide is to provide an overview of the collections from and about Moldova 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 including our digital collections, selected lists of books and periodicals, online databases, information about the European Reading Room, and tips for searching. This guide also provides examples of types of materials available to inspire your search, as there is of course much more to discover. Most of the titles that the Library has, are held in what is called the general collections, and therefore can be located using the Library of Congress Online Catalog, which you can access from anywhere. We recommend that you use the help of reference librarians through the Ask a Librarian service if you are searching for something specific for academic research, because finding materials in the world's largest library is not easy.
In addition to this overview-guide of the Moldovan collections, staff of the Library of Congress have also produced other more detailed guides on Moldovan resources.
Official Name: Republica Moldova (Republic of Moldova)
Head of State/ Government: President Maia Sandu, Prime Minister Dorin Recean
Population: 4 million citizens (of which currently 2,6 million are estimated to be living in the country)
Languages: Romanian is the official language of the republic; Gagauz, Russian, and Ukrainian languages have official regional status.
Administrative Regions: 3 municipalities: Chișinău, Bălți, and Tighina; 32 districts; 898 first level administrative territorial units. Găgăuzia and the Left Bank of the Dniester (also called Transnistria), are autonomous territorial units.