In February 2008, the Centre for Estonian Literature Abroad was established in place of the former Section for Estonian Literature Abroad in Tallinn University’s Academic Library.
Over the last twenty years, the library has been systematically adding to the collection of Estonian literature abroad those works, which have been published abroad by Estonians abroad and Estonian publishers abroad. There are currently 31 500 volumes in the collection, including 5200 book titles and over 500 periodical titles, and as such it is the most complete collection in Estonia, and also in the world, of Estonian literature abroad.
This unique collection has created opportunities for reference works and for the creation of databases, and is actively used both at home and abroad. The VEART database holds articles from Estonian periodicals abroad and contains over 8000 items, making available the content of Estonian newspapers that are published abroad. The VEPER database currently contains the names and bibliographic data of over 1000 prominent Estonians abroad. The VEILU database contains 470 items on literary works in foreign languages by Estonians abroad.
Four Estonian newspapers from abroad (“Välis-Eesti” (Sweden), “Eesti Post” (Germany), “Teataja/Eesti Teataja” (Sweden) and “Stockholms-Tidningen Eestlastele” are also available on the Internet in digital form (http://dea.nlib.ee). “Võitleja” (Canada), “Meie Kodu” (Australia), “Eesti Päevaleht” (Sweden) and “Vaba Eestlane” (Canada) are in the process of being digitized.
The collections and databases are sources for research work, and are used to compile articles, bibliographies, and for presentations that are made at both national and international conferences and seminars.
Activities have been assisted by a grant made in 2007 by the Ministry of Education and Research’s compatriot program, due to which it was possible to use additional contract staff in setting up the databases and digitizing the newspapers, as well as to acquire new computers.
The staff at the Centre for Estonian Literature Abroad are: Anne Valmas (Director-Researcher), Aita Kraut (Chief Bibliographer), Eve Siirman (Senior Bibliographer), Kristina Räni (Senior Bibliographer), Juta Laasma (Senior Librarian).