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Books and Languages of the World

Ever wonder how many books are written in a given language? Although the numbers are not precise, OCLC provides us with some idea. OCLC is the world’s largest library cooperative holding records to over 1,600,000,000 items and used by 72,000 libraries worldwide. OCLC supports WorldCat many of you are familiar with. Overall facts and statistics about this catalog can be found at http://www.oclc.org/worldcat/statistics/default.htm. A recent study by members of the Western European Studies Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries involved estimating the number of foreign language items held by U.S. libraries. The results for titles copyrighted after 1923 were as follows:

Book titles published in the US - 26,710,400

Book titles published outside the US ("Foreign") - 78,017,300

Foreign book titles, held by US libraries - 22,801,900

Copies of foreign book titles ("holdings") worldwide - 461,596,000

US libraries' holdings of foreign book titles - 203,953,200

If you are trying to find titles in other languages, contact your local librarian! If you are looking for help with Slavic, East European, Eurasian, Turkish or Persian titles, contact GIVES for assistance.

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