“Italian American Periodicals at the Library of Congress” is a guide that describes the wealth and range of Italian American periodicals across the holdings of the Library of Congress. It highlights Italian American communities and the publications that refer to their history and experiences.
This guide fills an important knowledge gap in the segment of the Library of Congress’s online guides and helps to bring the Library in parity with the dissemination efforts about Italian American communities such as other critical libraries and cultural institutions like the Calandra Institute in New York, the Italian American Studies Association, and many other centers and niches that have blossomed in recent years.
In particular, I chose to start my LibGuide publications with a guide about Italian American periodicals because the holdings, while important for researchers are extremely dispersive and spread across the Library’s various divisions and collections. They are also very difficult to search in the Library’s OPAC since bibliographic records for these periodicals are often incomplete, sparse, and difficult to comprehend for the general public, new users, and even well-versed researchers.
In my years at the Library I worked and collaborated with many individuals and organizations dedicated to the promotion and protection of Italian American culture; these include current and former members of Congress, national associations, Italian American college programs, authors, librarians, and a diverse range of community representatives
This effort’s primary focus was to gather as much information as possible of these holdings and then share the information hopefully reaching out to the widest audience possible. Through the support of colleagues at the European Division and a few interns who have assisted me with the exploration of the Library’s stacks and reading rooms to verify and document the holdings, this guide is finally ready for its publication and promotion although it remains a “work in progress” to which I will add the necessary updates as my searches in the stacks continues. Additionally, this LibGuide directs users to some popular Library of Congress digital collections that are completely accessible online.
In many cases, it also documents periodicals in the general collections that have not yet been digitized with images derived from my own photos of each collection item. I am convinced that images are not just a feature to make guides more visually appealing but that they create a sense of tangibility needed for researchers as functioning, documentary evidence. They also are a form of literary and cultural iconography—a concept borrowed and made mine from a reference work that I often used for other projects (Dictionary of Literary Biography, vol. 177 Italian Novelists since World War II, 1945–1965).