The Soviet Nationalities Collection at Columbia University is one of the largest and most varied collections of its kind in the nation. Established in the 1960s, it now numbers more than 15,000 volumes in forty-seven different languages from the Altaic, Transcaucasian, Uralic, Paleo-Siberian, and Indo-European language groups. It grows at a rate of about 500 books a year.
The collection supports instruction and research in fields including language and literature, political science, economics, history, folklore, religion and philosophy, and the arts. Although not cataloged until recently, the collection has long been used by scholars from research centers at Columbia, such as the Harriman Institute for the Advanced Study of the Soviet Union, the Center for the Study of Central Asia, the Program on Soviet Nationality Problems, and the Department of Slavic Languages. Its reputation growing by word-of-mouth, the collection has also attracted visiting scholars and requests through interlibrary loan.