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Library Resources outside the U.S.

This guide offers information about services and resources you can utilize from the Brown University Library when studying abroad, as well as information for using foreign libraries and research institutes.

Library Landscape for Latin America and the Caribbean

Library access and the function of libraries and related institutions may be different from what you have come to know of both public libraries and university research libraries in the US. In some cases access may be very restricted, books might not be available for check-out, and call number systems might be completely different. As you get started think about what kind of library you might want to use. In any given country they might include: 

  • National Libraries or those of major cities or regions
  • University libraries
  • Cultural Center/Museum libraries
  • Manuscript or document libraries
  • Foreign Institute libraries
  • Film Archives
  • Private libraries available by appointment

In most cases you will need some form of local institutional affiliation in order to gain access and certainly to use valuable resources such as manuscripts or rare books. If your goal is simply a quiet place to study you may want to consider other options.

Many public institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean are chronicly underfunded; however, there are many dedicated professionals who staff these institutions who can be enourmously helpful for research when approached ahead of time in a formal and considerate manner. Often some knowledge of Spanish, Portuguese or French will be necessary to navigate both catalogs and the library itself.

Regional Research Institutes

Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) is an inter-governmental autonomous organization for Latin America and the Caribbean dedicated to research, teaching and spreading of social sciences. Current member countries include: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, Chile, Ecuador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Dominican Republic and Suriname.

Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales (CLACSO) is a non-governmental international institution created in 1967 on the initiative of UNESCO, institution with which it holds Associative status. At present, it brings together 370 research centers and over 650 post-graduate programs in Social Sciences and Humanities (master and doctorate studies) located in 25 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, United States and Europe. The Council aims at promoting and developing research and training in Social Sciences; as well as strengthening exchange and cooperation among organizations and researchers from in and outside the region.