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Library of US Congress boasts over 10 million documents in Catalan

Institution has begun to digitize recordings by score of major writers from Catalonia, reports Catalunya Ràdio



06 May 2019 03:11 PM


ACN | Barcelona

The Library of Congress (LOC) in Washington DC is the largest library in the world, and among its extensive collection are 10 million documents in Catalan.

Apart from books, maps and newspapers, the Catalan collection includes audio files, which are now being digitized, reports Catalonia's public radio station, Catalunya Ràdio.

The chief of the library's Hispanic Division, Suzanne Schadl, told this station that the institution's "catalogue has over 10 million documents in Catalan," including films, scores, engravings, photos, manuscripts and websites. 

Recordings of Catalan writers

The recordings feature a score of Catalan writers reading their work, and include an interview commissioned by the library that Pere Calders did with Catalunya Ràdio in 1984.

Other major Catalan writers featured in the audio collection are Clementina Arderiu, Carles Riba, Joan Brossa and Josep Maria de Sagarra.

"Our aim is to acquire the country's intellectual bibliography," the head of the library's Hispanic reading room Carlos Olave told the radio station.

Apart from depending on donations and exchanges with Catalan universities to acquire the material, it has an annual budget of 250,000 dollars to make acquisitions.

The documents in Catalan are distributed in 15 different reading and research rooms in the library, organized according to format and subject.

14th century books

The collection includes a copy of Ramon Muntaner's "Crònica", written between 1325 and  1328, and the first book of "Lo Crestià", written by Francesc d'Eiximenis, between 1379 and 1381.

The Library of Congress boasts some 1.3 kilometers of bookshelves containing almost 170 million documents written in 483 different languages.


  • Image of the library of the US Congress (by Carol M. Highsmith/Wikipedia)

  • Image of the library of the US Congress (by Carol M. Highsmith/Wikipedia)