Annual Report of the Slavic Room for 1948
[This report is extracted from the 1948 Annual Report of the General Reference and Bibliography Division, the division with administrative control over the Slavic Room. The section on the Slavic Room appears on pages 9-10. Ed.]
The Slavic Room's 3,255 readers created problems for the lone Curator which were solved by the transfer from the Public Reference Section of one assistant with a fair working knowledge of Russian. The success of this move and the continued need for service and supervision in the Room at night resulted in extending the hours of opening to those of the general reading rooms. The anticipated acquisition of microfilm copies of current Russian publications from other government agencies led to the installation of a microfilm reading machine and pointed to the need for further reinforcements to the staff. Inasmuch as the Reference Department was lightly staffed with experts in the Russian language the most logical solution appeared to be the assignment of Mr. George Novossiltzeff from the Government Publications Reading Room, together with the transfer of the current government serial publications in the Slavic languages to the Slavic collections in the Annex. The move was made in the Spring of 1948 and the services of Slavic materials were integrated under the direction of the Curator of the Slavic Room. The disadvantages formerly experienced because of the separation of current Russian newspapers and periodicals from other Slavic materials were quickly eliminated. The accelerating demand for materials and service emphasize the urgent need for development of the catalog of Slavic materials and for full processing of important Russian materials in the Library's collections. At the present much of the staff's time must be spent in searches which would be greatly simplified if the materials were given subject cataloging. The Curator is besieged with assignments in translating letters and documents from the Polish and Russian for Members of Congress and much of such work must be done out of hours.