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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

For PhD Students in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies: Services

Resources for scholars beginning their careers in the various disciplines and subjects that make up Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies.

Available Services at Various Libraries

As you've possibly surmised by now, many of the libraries mentioned in this guide and others around the world offer an array of services, most of them free, to all kinds of researchers, whether those researchers are grad students, faculty, or independent scholars. What you'll find here is merely a brief summary of some of the available services at libraries both in the US and in Europe that have extensive collections pertaining to our region.

Old fashioned librarian, black and white photo.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: The Slavic Reference Service here at UIUC is available to answer reference questions, locate items and verify bibliographic information for all scholars during their hours of operation. Consultations can be handled in person for those scholars who are on campus, or through email at, and by phone at (217)-333-1349. If an item is unavailable at the university library, the staff will try to locate it for you at another library. One of the most notable services that the SRS provides is the Summer Research Lab, which is hosted in tandem with the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center on campus. It usually runs from mid-June to early August. Participants coming from outside UIUC have full access to the library’s privileges. We've included more information on the SRL in the Research Trips section.

Library of Congress: The Library is open to the public, but in order to begin doing research one must obtain a Reader Identification Card, which requires presenting a photo ID. There are also classes available for first-time users of the library, for those who wish it. If you’re coming from outside of the DC metro area, it’s suggested that you request materials a week in advance. Scholars of our region who are interested in researching Russia, Eastern Europe, or the Russian-speaking areas of Asia can turn to the European Reading Room, where they’ll find many reference librarians who specialize in different countries and areas. Those interested in the Caucasus and the Turkic regions of Central Asia can turn to the African and Middle Eastern Reading Room, and the Near East section in particular.

Hoover Institution: When doing research at the Hoover Institution, you’re required to create an Aeon account, which necessitates a government-issued ID (like a driver's license). With this account, researchers can request library and archival material. While users may only have twenty active requests out at a time, they can save unlimited requests for later. The Institution suggests that researchers submit requests at least two days in advance, and items will be held for up to two days. It’s also possible to get in touch with librarians, through email or phone, to ask questions.

The National Library of Russia: There are many resources and services available through the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg. Obtaining a Reader Card for a non-Russian citizen requires a passport with a visa, registration documents, and proof of status level conferred by an institution of higher learning, such as a student ID card. A letter of introduction and recommendation is necessary in order to access the rare book and manuscripts sections. There’s an extensive reference service available to help researchers, as well as interlibrary loan and electronic delivery of documents.

The National Library of Finland: To use the resources at the National Library of Finland in Helsinki, one can get in touch through phone or (perhaps preferably) email. In order to partake of their services and check out books and other materials, one is required to obtain a free Helka library card, which requires a passport for non-citizens. Scholars are able to schedule in advance a presentation of the library’s collections specifically pertaining to their research, and they have access to personal workstations and rooms.

The National Library of the Czech Republic: The National Library of the Czech Republic in Prague offers many services that may be of use to scholars in our field through its Slavonic Library. It also offers access to Slavistika, an email forum. However, the content of this forum appears to be in Czech. Through the website, one will find a database of Czech Slavists, as well as a bibliography of all the papers presented at the International Congress of Slavists, dating back to the First Congress of Slavonic Philologists in Prague in 1929. Anyone is eligible for a library card, though there seems to be a fee.

Jagiellonian Library: The library at Jagiellonian University in Krakow offers many services for scholars. Obtaining a library card is simple, merely requiring an ID card for EU citizens, or a passport for non-EU citizens. There is a fee, but it’s very small. However, non-residents of Krakow are only allowed to view items in the reading rooms. In order to look through the manuscript or rare book collection, researchers will need a letter of recommendation from their supervisor or the institution where they work.

Interior of the Library of Congress.