As part of my daily duties as a member of the Global Legal Research Center (GLRC) at the Law Library of Congress, I often rely on the collections and expertise of the Africa and Middle Eastern Division (AMED) of the Library of Congress. Created in 1978, AMED has three sections (African, Hebraic, and Near East) and holds over 650,000 materials in non-Roman-alphabet languages. In a recent interview with In Custodia Legis, Dr. Mary-Jane Deeb, Chief of the Division, described AMED and its staff as
an exciting division at the Library of Congress that deals with 78 different countries in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. I have a superb staff that speaks numerous languages including Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Armenian, Hebrew, Swahili, French, Italian, and Portuguese, and that can read 35 additional languages. I would add that every day is different with: frequent visits from foreign dignitaries; speaker programs on a variety of subjects including, art, music, culture; staff from various U.S. government agencies coming over for briefings, with patrons bringing gifts of books and photographs to add to our collections…
Need I say more?
As you can see from the photo below, the AMED Reading Room, located on the second floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, Room LJ220, is also a nice place to visit and conduct research. On March 21, 2012 at 12:00 p.m., the Law Library and the Hebraic Section will jointly host a presentation by Gratz College Professor Katherine Aron-Beller regarding her new book, Jews on Trial: The Papal Inquisition in Modena, 1598-1638, in the AMED reading room. It is the perfect excuse for a visit!