Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2000


My wife and I visited Brazil in December and January this past year, spending the Christmas and New Year’s holidays there. Since my wife is Brazilian, I have taken an interest in exploring Brazilian culture and history. This interest, and the fact that we were in Brazil for a month, prompted me to take a couple of days to visit various libraries and see how things are done there. I visited three basic types of libraries in the capital district of Brasilia. The Universidade de Brasilia, Biblioteca Central (the University of Brasilia Central Library), two different types of public libraries, and the government libraries of the Senado Federal (Senate) and the Camara dos Deputados (House of Deputies). I could not visit the National Library of Brazil, because it remained in Rio de Janeiro when the new capital was built in the 1960s. There has been some discussion of moving it to Brasilia, but to this day, that has not happened. I would still like to visit there anyway, but Rio was covered on our previous trip, and I don’t know when I will get there again. My main objective was to visit each of these places, talk with the librarians, and discover what things are the same and what things are different from what we do here in the States. What I discovered is that, although there are many differences, there are also many things that seem very familiar or are just virtually the same as here. While talking with the librarians, through my wife who graciously translated, I asked several questions both out of general interest and in the areas I am most familiar. Of the three types of libraries, those in the government and academic libraries were the most willing to talk with me; whereas, those in the public libraries seemed more interested in getting rid of me. More on that later.


Originally published in Southeastern Law Librarian vol. 25, no. 3, p. 19-22.