Collections & Service

Our collections are made up of two main sections: The archives and the library. The library consists mainly of printed material, while the archives contain different types of documents, including audiovisual material and objects.

Archival collections

Our archival collection reflects the history of the Swedish labour movement from the mid-19th century until today. We have archival records from political parties, unions and other organisations as well as personal documents from people within the labour movement.

Among these are, for example, the Social Democratic Party, The Left Party of Sweden, the Swedish Trade Union Confederation, and the Central Organisation of the Workers of Sweden (syndicalists), as well as  the women’s and youth organisations of the above mentioned collections. Other areas of interest are those associated with workers’ culture, for example the Workers’ Educational Association, the People’s Houses, the People’s Parks and the Swedish Union of Tenants, as well as newspapers and publishing houses.

We concentrate on the archives of  national organisations and on Stockholm-based organisations.

We also have a large selection of documents of international or foreign character, for example documents from German-speaking refugees living in Sweden during the 1930’s and 1940’s. In the archives from former and present party leaders, as well as other members of the labour movement,  there are many non-Swedish correspondents.

Extensive collections of photographs and slides, posters, films, audio recordings, banners and pins, among other miscellaneous objects, provide additional historical information.

Library collections

The library contains roughly 120.000 titles, including serial publications, 30.000 booklets/pamphlets, 200 periodicals on active subscription and a large collection of the organisational prints of the labour and union organizations as well as from other social movements.

The majority of the collections are searchable through our online library catalogue. Some older prints are however only searchable through the older manual card and note catalogues which are only accessible at our premises.

The library acquires literature on the praxis, theory and history of the labour movement. Other themes of interest, provided they in some way are related to the labour movement are social sciences, social politics, social issues, peace and disarmament, history, biography, education, workers’ education, literature, workers’ literature (including fiction), political economy, technology, industry and communication, as well as art and music. The library also contains all the printed material of the Swedish labour movement.

Other languages than Swedish are also represented in the library holdings. Most common among these are German, English, French and Spanish.

Starting from 1989, all new acquisitions have also been recorded in the national on-line database of Swedish libraries, Libris.

Our library materials can, with some exceptions, be borrowed worldwide through interlibrary loans.


Inter- and transnational materials

The world in the basement (downloadable book)

International material in archives and collections. From its earliest beginnings the Swedish labour movement has had contacts, relations and collaboration with the labour movement in other countries and international organisations. Our 100th birthday was a natural occasion for presenting part of our material in more details, which was done with the publication The world in the basement.

Worlds of women (web-based overview of sources)

Worlds of Women is a project that aims to inspire researchers, both academics and those actively interested in researching working women’s history, to look beyond national borders. It is an overview of available sources at the Swedish Labour Movement’s Archives and Library (ARAB) in form of essays and inventories.