The Library of International Relations was established in 1932 on the basis of documents provided by the League of Nations Association. The original LIR was hosted in a room provided by the John Crerar Library and staffed by Miss Eloise G. ReQua, founder and first director of the Library of International Relations.
Miss ReQua’s intent was to encourage the study of international affairs. By 1937, the Library of International Relations resided at 86 East Randolph Street, where it remained until circa 1949 when it was transferred to 351 East Ohio Street. The Library was incorporated in 1960, and moved to 660 North Wabash Avenue in 1962.
The collection was moved to Chicago-Kent College of Law campus at 77 S. Wacker Drive in 1983, when the Library became a part of IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Library. The items in the collection are now a part of the collection at the downtown campus location at 565 West Adams Street in Chicago.
During the 1934 and 1935 seasons of the World’s Fair, the Library maintained an exhibit known as the Story Cove on the Enchanted Island, a reading-room, library, and storytelling center. The Story Cove contained 1600 books in seventeen languages [see On the Shelves of The Story Cove (.pdf) for a list of the books]. The purpose of the collection was to give a wider international view of children’s literature than the average American child was likely to have.
Beginning in 1954 and ending in 2001, the Library of International Relations hosted the annual Consular Ball, both to honor the city’s consular corps and to raise funds for the Library. In 1991, the Library became the first to develop an electronic imaging system, ELOISE, which allowed for instant access to rare materials for scholars worldwide.
The LIR collection includes Chicago-Kent’s collection of TASS posters, Soviet WWII propaganda posters. For more information about this fascinating collection, please see Emily Barney’s article.
[For more information about the LIR, check the IIT Chicago-Kent Law Library Blog: “The Secret Library” (April 19, 2013), “Washington’s Papers Slept Here” (June 18, 2013), “Edicts from Apartheid” (October 29, 2014), “The Land of Books” (March 23, 2015)] – Eds.