Annual Report of the Slavic Room for 1952
[This report appears as part of the annual report of the General Reference and Bibliography Division for 1952, on pages 23–26. Ed.]
The Slavic Section, with a stable professional staff throughout most of the year, and only minor turnover in the staff concerned with its custodial services, stabilized its services to readers at a highly increased level, and undertook new custodial responsibilities — representing a marked step forward in the work and accomplishments of that section.
Service to Readers
Increased emphasis on the responsibility for the Slavic materials on Deck 8 of the Annex as an immediate tool for effective reference service resulted in less time for bibliographic compilation and greater emphasis on serving the readers in the Slavic Room and others requiring Slavic materials. The number of readers assisted rose from 6,900 in 1951 to 10,400 in 1952, representing an increase of just a little over 50 percent. An even larger increase, of about 66 percent, is noted for the actual services rendered to readers, which mounted from 11,500 in 1951 to 19,100 in 1952. This does not include the nearly 6,000 reference inquiries received and answered by telephone.
Another increase to be noted is represented by the 16,000 Slavic books and other materials issued by the Slavic Section to the Loan Division for interlibrary loan, or to research workers or units within the Library, compared to some 13,300 items issued in the preceding year — an increase of 20 percent.
Custody of Collection
Approximately 56,700 pieces of current serials, periodicals, and newspapers, comprising over 1,500 titles, were received, sorted, and collated. In addition, a considerable number of non-Russian Slavic serials, 6,000 pieces comprising some 467 titles, from the Serials Division and a large number of microfilm reels from the Microfilm Reading Room were transferred to the custody of the Slavic Section in order to achieve a concentration of these related materials under one jurisdiction.
A valuable addition to the Slavic Room collection was a card index to the Communist Party newspaper Pravda. The index is arranged by subject and covers the period 1939 to 1947.
The work of preparing Slavic serials, including both Russian and non-Russian titles, for binding was previously accomplished in cooperation with the staff of the Serials Division. Subsequent to the transfer of non-Russian Slavic periodicals from the Serials Division, the responsibility for collating these newspapers, official and other serial publications fell completely upon the staff of this section. The present task is to prepare for binding all materials which have accumulated as an arrearage on Deck 8, and provide for this work on a continuing and current basis.
Other Services and Accomplishments
The professional staff of the Slavic Section has prepared about 37 pages of translations into English from various Slavic languages for members of Congress and government agencies. On 72 occasions, brief oral translations were provided to readers and research workers who experienced difficulty with the language at hand, and in 35 other instances translations were given over the telephone to government agencies.
The responsibility of the Curator of the Slavic Room to select from among duplicate materials those deemed valuable for addition to the collection resulted in selection of 400 volumes for accessioning by the Library.
Mr. Dorosh is continuing to compile material for a supplement to the Guide to Soviet Bibliographies.
One of the major accomplishments of the year is represented by a thorough overhauling of the reference collection in the Slavic Room. Outdated reference books were replaced with more recent imprints. With additional space allotted to the Slavic Room it was possible to add over 200 new titles. This additional space also made it possible to rearrange the entire collection in a more logical manner, facilitating the efficient use of the reference collection and enhancing the appearance of the Slavic Room.
As part of this general overhauling, but with more particular reference to the annual "housecleaning," the materials on Deck 8 were rearranged, reshelved, and generally placed in a more accessible and controllable order.
The attempt to maintain a dictionary card catalog of Slavic publications was recognized to be futile. The pressure of reference and custodial activities on the available staff resulted in a constant increase of cards waiting to be filed and space in the room did not permit the addition of the required cabinets. Instead, a catalog which will include one card for each Slavic title in the Library, to be arranged by call number, thus providing subject access is being prepared.
At the end of August, Mr. Boris Gorokhoff was transferred to the Slavic Room from the Descriptive Cataloging Division to serve as Slavic Reference Librarian. Mr. Andrew Fessenko was appointed to the Section as Deck Attendant in September to replace Mr. George Bogounoff, upon the latter's transfer to the Air Research Division. Mr. Norman Henley is the most recent addition, also in the capacity of Deck Attendant.