Slavic and East European Collections

Collection Description

The New York Public Library’s holdings of Slavic and East European materials extend from early 14th century illuminated manuscripts to the latest imprints. Materials in the vernacular Slavic and East European languages number well in excess of 500,000 bound volumes, and 24,000 microform titles. Upwards of 300,000 volumes of works about these lands and peoples in other world languages and formats are held by NYPL. Relevant materials in Hebrew and Yiddish, as well as the Turkic and other languages of the former Soviet Union, and in other formats (e.g., maps, prints, manuscripts), are also held by the Library. In addition, the World Languages Collection at the Mid-Manhattan Library holds circulating volumes of general and popular fiction and non-fiction books, periodicals, and videos in various Slavic and Baltic languages, as do a selection of the neighborhood branch libraries.

Requesting Materials

The Slavic and Baltic Division’s collections are available from the following service points:

  • All post-1972 imprints that do not fall into one of the categories listed below are available in the General Research Division’s Rose Main Reading Room, Room 315, whenever the Library is open. This includes material held at the NYPL’s offsite storage facility. At present, this represents approximately 75% of the overall Slavic and East European vernacular language collections of the Library. 
  • The historic Russian collections, consisting of Cyrillic imprints acquired and cataloged before 1972, are also available for use in the General Research Division’s Rose Main Reading Room, Room 315. 
  • Readers who need to consult rare and special format materials, such as rare photographica, early imprints, and oversize materials (+, ++, and +++), must first register in the General Research Division’s Rose Main Reading Room, Room 315. Materials may be requested by registered readers in the Rare Book Division’s Brooke Russell Astor Rare Books and Manuscripts Reading Room, Room 328, in the North Hall on the Third Floor. 
  • Current periodicals and microforms are available in Room 108 and Milstein Microform Reading Room 119.

Although the Library hopes eventually to create online records for all of its unique Cyrillic materials, at present, readers seeking Cyrillic research materials acquired and catalogued prior to 1972 must consult both the online catalog and the 44-volume printed Dictionary Catalogue of the Slavonic Division (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1974). A public access copy is available in the General Research Division. Presently, some 80,000 records are available only in the Dictionary Catalogue.