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LOC Strikes Deal With Iranian Library

Library of Congress officials announced last week that the agency has forged a new agreement with its Iranian counterpart to exchange research and cultural materials, re-establishing the institutions’ relationship after a nearly three-decade void.

The agreement, which provides for the trade of library materials and also suggests the two agencies may exchange materials for cultural programs, marks the first time since the Islamic Revolution of 1978-79 that the LOC will work with the National Library and Archives of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“The agreement we signed will help to fill a 25-year gap in the Library’s collection of materials published in Persian and other languages of Iran — a move that will benefit not only the Congress but also scholars of the Middle East,” Librarian of Congress James Billington said in a statement. “The agreement will also permit the two libraries to exchange mutually beneficial information in the areas of library science and preservation.”

Billington signed the agreement Nov. 4 while traveling in Iran at the invitation of Mohammad Kazem Mousavi Bojnourdi, director of the Iranian national library.

The Library of Congress currently collects and distributes materials from more than 60 countries through its overseas offices.

That program, established in 1962, includes six regional offices in New Delhi, India; Cairo, Egypt; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jakarta, Indonesia; Nairobi, Kenya; and Islamabad, Pakistan. It also provides materials to other research facilities throughout the United States.

In addition, the Library exchanges digital information with its foreign counterparts through its Global Gateway Web site (international.loc.gov), a project established in 1999 through a partnership with the Russian State Library and the National Library of Russia.

Other members of that project include the National Library of Brazil, the National Library of the Netherlands and the National Library of Spain.

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