They’re always searching. Maps, magazines, music, posters, books, and videos—a never-ending hunt for history. It takes them across the globe, through war zones and political unrest, the types of places where it’s best to blend in—or occasionally travel in an armoured car. And they race to do it, hoping to snap up artifacts before they’re lost, or intentionally destroyed.
These are not just any librarians.
But the employees of the Library of Congress’s Overseas Offices don’t have just any job. They’re tasked with tracking down critical-yet-obscure materials from around the globe and bringing them stateside, all with the goal of making sure Congress—and anyone else who wants to use its library—has access to the world’s most current and comprehensive collection of information.
It’s not an esoteric pursuit. The material that the overseas offices send home are used by lawmakers and their staffs to help shape policy, and daily updates from the overseas offices are sent right into the inbox of some congressional staffers and the Congressional Research Service to quicken the flow of international information to Capitol Hill.