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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Library Services

The Ralph J. Bunche Library of the U.S. Department of State is the oldest Federal Government library. It was founded by the first Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson in 1789. It was dedicated to and renamed the Ralph J. Bunche Library on May 5, 1997. The Library has a large and important collection of unclassified and published information sources on foreign relations.

Foreign Relations is defined broadly to include books about foreign countries; world history, especially since the American Revolution; international organizations, such as the United States and the Organization of American States; wars and international conflicts, particularly those involving the United States; espionage: treaties, treaty-making, and legal agreements between nations; American history especially as it relates to the Department of State and the conduct of diplomacy; trade relationships around the world; foreign assistance and development; information on the American government and foreign governments.

The Ralph J. Bunche Library is a Federal Depository Library. The mission of the Library is to support the research needs of personnel of the Department of State. The Library is not open to the public and does not lend books directly to members of the public. The Library will lend books, at its discretion, to other libraries. Members of the public must contact a library through which they may borrow books from the Ralph J. Bunche Library. Magazines, newspapers, and microfilm may not be borrowed from the Ralph J. Bunche Library.  Libraries may request books through interlibrary loan at:

phone: 202-647-1099
fax: 202-647-2971
Ralph J. Bunche Library
U.S. Department of State
A/GIS/IPS/LIBR, Room 3239
2201 C St. NW
Washington, DC 20520-2442


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