August 12, 2014 Latvian Diaspora Archives, Libraries and Material Culture Conference Sept. 11

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Regina Frackowiak (202) 707-3928
Contact: Request ADA accommodations five business days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or

The Library of Congress will host “The Second Conference on Latvian Diaspora Archives, Libraries and Material Culture” on Sept. 11, the first day of the three-day symposium.

The conference—which looks at the Latvian diaspora collections and the preservation, cataloging and housing of the historical and cultural materials—will start at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 11, in the Montpelier Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Memorial Building. The event is free and open to the public. Registration is not needed.

The conference will continue on Sept. 12 at the Latvian Embassy and on Sept.13 at the American Latvian Association Center and Museum in Rockville, Maryland.

The American Latvian Association is sponsoring the 2014 conference, in conjunction with the Library of Congress and the Embassy of Latvia in the United States. The first conference was held in April 2012 at the University of Minnesota’s Immigration History Research Center and Archives at the Elmer L. Anderson Library.

The Latvian diaspora consists of Latvian nationals who lived outside Latvia during the Soviet occupation. As 200,000 Latvians died during World War II and the Nazi occupation, thousands of Latvians fled the country to become the diaspora.

Schedule for Sept. 11 at the Library of Congress

9:30 a.m.: Meet and Greet
10 a.m.: Opening Remarks

10:30 a.m.: Keynote Speech
“The Latvian Collections Throughout the Library of Congress”
Grant Harris, head of the Library’s European Reading Room

11 a.m.: Coffee Break

11:15 a.m.: “Special Library Collections for Latvian-American Scholarship: Scope and Accessibility”
Panel discussion moderated by Maira Bundza, Western Michigan University. Speakers will include Ginta Zalcmane, In Search of Lost Latvia portal, National Library of Latvia; Heather McLaughlin Garbes, Baltic Music Collection, University of Washington; Elga Zālīte, Latvian materials, including Rev. Zariņš Collection, Stanford University libraries; Cynthia A. Smith, reference specialist, Latvian Map Collection, Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress

12:30 p.m.: Lunch

1:30 p.m.: “Latvian Diaspora Archives and Museums: Core Collections, New Acquisitions and Wish Lists”
Panel discussion moderated by Sarma Muižnieks Liepiņš, cultural advisor for the American Latvian Association. Speakers will include Inese Kalniņa, International and Personal Archives, National Archive of Latvia; Ann Hoog, Folklife specialist, American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress; Latvian Archive Specialists. Speakers will introduce a comprehensive “wish list” compiled by the American Latvian Association in 2013 of more than 60 museums and institutions in the United States that are interested in securing items from the Latvian diaspora for their collections.

2:45 p.m.: Coffee Break

3 p.m.: Guided tours of the historic Thomas Jefferson Building and a special visit to view rare Latvian maps in the Library’s Geography and Map Division in the James Madison Memorial Building

The European Division is responsible for providing reference and for developing the Library’s collections relating to continental Europe except for Iberia. Its European Reading Room should be the starting point for readers whose interests concern European countries other than Spain, Portugal, Great Britain, and Ireland. For more information on the European Division’s resources and services, visit

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 158 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at


PR 14-143
ISSN 0731-3527