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Slovenian Collections in the Library of Congress

Slovenian 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, electronic resources, journals, visual materials, and other special formats.


Detroit Publishing Company. Bled [Veldes]. [between ca. 1890 and ca. 1900]. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Reading Room.

The Library of Congress has been collecting publications from Slovenia for almost 150 years and has amassed a collection particularly strong in the areas of history, literature, law, and the political and cultural life of the Slovenian people. The intent of this guide is to provide an overview of the collections from and about Slovenia 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 on the development of the collections, the guide covers collection materials across most reading rooms and internal divisions of the Library, including our digital collections.

The first publications from Slovenia collected by the Library were received in 1866 as part of the initial Smithsonian Deposit. All titles were in German and published in Laibach (Ljubljana) or Marburg (Maribor). Examples of these first receipts are Die absorption des lichtes in isotropen mitteln [The absorption of light in isotropic media] from Marburg and Mittheilungen des Historischen Vereines für Krain [Announcements from the Historical Association for Carniola] from Laibach. Scholarly and government works from Slovenia continued to arrive over the next century via the International Exchange Service managed by the Smithsonian Institution, with the earliest receipts in German, but later mostly in Slovenian. During the Austro-Hungarian era, German, Croatian and a few Italian language titles from the territory of modern day Slovenia were acquired, but the collecting of Slovenian-language titles predominated during the two Yugoslav periods(the prewar Kingdom of 1918 through 1943, and the socialist era of 1945 through 1991). These early receipts were mostly periodicals or books in an expanding range of subjects, but very few newspapers.

Before World War II, publications exchanges and transfers of materials from other federal libraries were the most important methods of acquisition of Slovenian materials, with few purchases or gifts. Large-scale exchanges and purchases began only in the late 1940s and provided not only a majority of the Slovenian publishing output of titles of research value, but also enabled large retrospective acquisitions of materials dating back even into the nineteenth century. Gaps in journal runs were filled and newspapers began to be collected systematically, including titles from some regional cities. 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 to purchase systematically 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 issued in smaller print runs or became scarce. Strong, comprehensive collecting of scholarly and current events materials begun during the communist era continues to this day with the Library maintaining both exchanges and an approval plan for Slovenian publications and acquiring approximately 1,200 pieces (both books and periodical issues) per annum. The collection has grown to over 20,000 titles, one of the largest in the United States.

Library of Congress Guides to Slovenian Resources

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