The Library of Congress Office in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, collects a variety of materials from the South American countries of Brazil, Uruguay, Suriname, Guyana, and the French Overseas Department of Guiana. The office's mission is to enrich the research collections of the Library of Congress and other research libraries with the wealth of bibliographic production from these countries. The Rio Office exists to overcome the challenges to collecting research materials from these countries--including poor distribution, lack of advertising, inaccessibility, and unusually high costs.
The office in Rio de Janeiro, like the Nairobi Office, opened its doors in fiscal year 1966 as a National Program for Acquisitions and Cataloging (NPAC) office serving the Library of Congress for Brazilian publications. Responsibility for Uruguay was added in 1986, a cooperative program for serials was initiated in 1990, and Suriname, Guyana, and French Guiana were added in 1997.
The variety of publications acquired include books, newspapers, journals, pamphlets, cordel literature, compact discs, maps, posters, musical scores, and more. Many publications are purchased by the office, but slightly more than one-half are acquired by the Rio Office via exchange from approximately 600 exchange partners.
Regular acquisitions trips to major cities are vital to maintaining the flow of incoming documents. The office's exchange and gift publisher file is an invaluable resource not only for the office staff, but also for librarians and others interested in the Brazilian publishing sector.
Mission of the Rio de Janeiro Office
The mission of the Rio de Janeiro Office is to acquire and catalog the finest intellectual works from Brazil, Uruguay, Suriname, Guyana, and French Guiana for the benefit of Congress and the international scholarly community.
To accomplish this mission, the office maintains a multifaceted program of acquisitions including commercial purchases from local book vendors, attendance at book fairs and compact disc expositions, maintenance of exchange agreements, solicitation of donations, and buying trips to selected cities and countries.
A secondary mission is to maintain a Cooperative Acquisitions Program (CAP) for major research institutions, including the National Library of Medicine and the National Agricultural Library. The Rio Office Cooperative Acquisitions Program acquires serials, and currently has forty-three participants who collectively subscribe to more than 1,200 periodicals selected from a list of 265 journal and newspaper titles.
Fundamental to the office's mission is the preservation of delicate materials. To this end the office has participated in a number of special microfilming projects.
Since 1986 the office has collected grassroots literature and "gray" publications that would otherwise be lost to scholarship. The office organizes the publications into fourteen categories, prepares indexes, and sends the material to Washington for microfilming. This collection, known as Brazil's Popular Groups, has been a resounding success among scholars researching Brazil's marginalized people and social movements.
For more than twenty years the office has also cooperated with the Brazilian National Library in the microfilming of selected newspapers from several Brazilian cities. And, in 1996, in concert with the Brazilian National Library, the office participated in a project to microfilm the personal papers of the renowned favela-dweller-turned-author, Carolina de Jesus. These papers will be available to the public in October 1999.
Last Updated: May 7, 2012