Hard past the Capitol, Maryland’s Small Press Expo has accomplished a significant and always challenging feat: Brokering a deal in Washington.

SPX announces Tuesday that it is establishing its own ongoing collection at the Library of Congress — one that will “focus on the craft and diversity of the independent comics community.”

“The Library of Congress has been collecting comic books and original cartoon art before most collectors took it seriously as an art form,” the library’s graphic art curator, Sara Duke, said Tuesday in announcing the news. This move ”will enhance the Library’s existing holdings and allow future researchers to see the full spectrum of cartoon art that is available today.”

The library will work with Small Press Expo to select and solicit artworks and items to go into the collection. All previous print winners of SPX’s Ignatz Awards will be included, and prior online winners will see their work included in the library’s digital archives.

“We are looking forward to working with the Library of Congress to begin to populate the Small Press Expo Collection starting with this year’s show,” SPX executive director Warren Bernard tells Comic Riffs.

“One of the areas we agreed we will be focusing on is this new phenomena of the tabloid comic section,” Bernard continues. “Washington, D.C.’s own comics tabloid Magic Bullet, along [with] Secret Prison and others like it will be quickly gathered up at SPX by the Small Press Expo/Library of Congress team for inclusion.”

This year, SPX — one of nation’s top indie-publishing and comic-art conventions — will be Sept. 10-11 at the North Bethesda Marriott.

SPX 2011: Small Press Expo launches Graphic-Novel Program with book gift for libraries