Library World Events

IgevskV.I. Lenin Russian State Library shall be closed for capital repairs for 3 years. All funds shall be distributed for different city regions. There is a reading hall to be opened in the former state archive on Udmurtskaya street in February, here also departments of region national literature, foreign literature and a small department of rare and valuable documents.

Legal information center is now located in one of the auditoriums of the International East-Europe University (Kirova street). Some books will be moved to the library for blind people – it is not known yet what department it will be. It is planned to remove all the funds from the building until summer.

There is no exact date when the reconstruction starts but it will be finished in 2015.

OstrEvJanuary 26, Thursday, the ceremony of delivery of certificate of inclusion in the register of the objects of the world cultural heritage shall take place in St. Petersburg.

Ostromir Gospels is the oldest dated Old Russian manuscript book.

The book was created in 1056-1057 under the order of Ostromir, posadnik, the mayor of Novgorod, for Saint Sophia Cathedral in Velikiy (the Great) Novgorod. Precious manuscript was stored in Saint Sophia Cathedral for several hundred years, then it was moved to the Moscow Kremlin, and in 1720 Peter the Great ordered to bring it to St. Petersburg.

Since 1806 Ostromir Gospels is stored in the National Library of Russia (former Imperial Public Library).

educationIt is very hard to be included in the UNESCO’s “Memory of the world” Programme. The worldwide register includes the most valuable archives and libraries: 193 units of documentary heritage of 83 countries. Belarus is represented by the only collection – materials of princes of the Radziwiłł family from Nesvizh. But the largest part of them is stored abroad – in Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Finland and quite a number – in Russia. So it stands to reason that this project was supervised by the Moscow Bureau of UNESCO together with the National commission of Belarus for UNESCO. The next project is digitizing heritage of noble Sapieha family which is being stored in St. Petersburg.

Digitizing not only makes it possible to give access to rare editions for scientists from different countries and users of libraries. It makes it possible to keep safe delicate materials – manuscripts and tomes - on modern data storage items.

The first disk with title pages of 300 books of Sapieha family of funds of the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg was issued in 2011. Few tomes were entirely published on the CD. Lyudmila Kiryukhina, deputy director of the National Library of Belarus, highlights that many book-labels (ex libris) and handwritten notes of noblemen not known before are presented for the first time. Anybody who is interested can get access to all these items now – the disk is for sale.

There is almost nothing of heritage of the noble family left in Belarus except for several palaces, one of which – in Ruzhany, Brest province - is under reconstruction now.

Vladimir Schastny, the head of the National commission for UNESCO plans that if the collection would revive at least virtually, we can file an application to include it in the register of “Memory of the world” Programme.

The project started as a modern undertaking but then turned to become an international affair. Specialists of Belarus, Russia, Lithuania and Poland created an international council which will reconstruct the unique collection and blackletter books of the Sapieha family in e-version.

The National commission for UNESCO also plans to support another one project of Belarus, Poland and Ukraine in 2012-2013. Brest region library, City public library of Biała Podlaska and Ste region library of Rivne are going to recreate e-collection of writings of Józef Ignacy Kraszewski, the writer who described in Polish spiritual and high life of his great motherland - not of the modern borders – Lithuania, Polesia and Volyn.

deti_chitaiutAccording to the results of interrogation 18 thousands children of 8-16 years old, one in three British child doesn’t have books at home, which means that approximately 3.8 millions of children don’t know what a book is at all.

The results also showed that girls are more interested in reading than boys, and confirmed the accepted truth that if there are books at home the children will read and study better.

British writers and journalists called the results “the tragedy” and mentioned that children and teenagers leave themselves without the most interesting things of life.

The organizers of the interrogation plan to conduct Christmas campaign “Reading as a gift” and present book to children.

The same research showed that 19% of teenagers never received books as a gift, 12% never visited bookstores and 7% never visited libraries.


December 01, the book of the last decade was selected in Moscow. It was “idyll novel” “Mist spreads over the old stairs…” of remarkable philologist Aleksandr Chudakov who passed away in 2005. This novel was the only work of fiction through which he was discovered as a real writer. Many critics called this novel the best one written during the last decade. This year “Russian Booker” decided to do without scandals and chose quality and wise literature.

In 2011 “Booker” could be a mediocre award despite of the declared magnitude, at least at first it was considered to be so. The decision to award “Booker” following the results of the whole decade was a desperate measure undertaken with the purpose to save the traditional award. Five-years sponsorship contract of the organizing committee of “Russian Booker” and BP has expired and there wasn’t any new sponsor for a long time, so literature award should be abolished this year. But then a compromise was reached – not to miss a year it was decided to give award for a special nomination.

The sponsorship story broadly illustrates the place of “Russian Booker” on the map of all national literature prizes. Brand “Booker” is highly esteemed and famous all over the world, but its position Russian differs from the position of its blood relative – British “Booker”. It is not on the first place in Russia, it doesn’t also promote circulation and winners’ popularity and doesn’t form or reflect readers’ taste at all.

In Russia “Booker” has less prestige than “Big Book”, it is less popular and fashionable than “Natbest” (“National bestseller”) and it can not be all the more compared with award of Andrey Belyi – the most serious and intellectual one. Status of “Russian Booker” can be hardly described – it is special and obscure tat is connected firstly with diversity of winners’ names. Bulat Okudzhava stands near Anatoly Azolsky and Alexander Morozov who are scarcely known or remembered by readers. For example, “discovery” of the previous year also outstands in the list. It was “Flower cross” of Elena Koliadina. May be she is still remembered but what’s the good of that? The novel was a “bobbish ribble-rabble” and still is.

Perhaps the award was ownerless for some time because of such inconsistence and evident faults of jury. But still a sponsor appeared – financing was organized by private-public company “Russian corporation of communications tools” which has been sponsoring “Students Booker” – the prize stated in cooperation with the Russian State University for the Humanities and awarded by students - for several years. It has to be said that for obvious reasons students’ choice was not such “elite”, it was more folksy, simpler but sometimes even incomparably worthy. Last year when “big” jury were awarding Koliadina, “small” jury marked artistic features of the “House in which…” of Mariam Petrosian. The book of the decade was a short novel of Tatiana Tolstaya – “Kys’” which had never won the “adults’ Booker”.

Just after it was announced that “Russian Booker” should exist, the discussion of choice of the main book of the last years. The first issue that caused questions of the critics and readers was the decision to include all finalists of 2001-2010 years, not only the winners, in the long-list. The jury as well owned up that they discredit some results of last years and were going to correct the mistakes. Although the fact that the winner was chosen not from the “best” books of the decade seems to be very strange – it does make sense.

Igor Shaytanov, literature secretary of “Russian Booker”, told in his interview to “” that he supposed that it was correct and clever to make the “longer” long-list: annual award is a mark “on the fly” and the award of the decade lets to look at the writings from the point of view of the overpast years, through special perspective and in more global context. The short-list formed by 33 members of jury of previous years showed that the most representative writings reflecting achievements and specifics of Russian literature of the years of 2000 were the following ones: “Mist spreads over the old stairs…” of Aleksandr Chudakov, “Sankia” of Zkhar Prilepin, “Daniel Stein, interpreter” of Ludmila Ulitskaya, “Eltyshevy” of Roman Senchin and “Ninth Day Requiem in Karaganda: or the Story of the Recent Days” (Karagandinskiye deviatiny) of Oleg Pavlov. The last book received “Booker” in 2002, the others were just in the final.

Diorama “Battle in Krukovo” was made by convicts for Zelenograd library.

Convicts made a diorama “Battle in Krukovo” for Zelenograd library. This exhibit exhibit was made by two educates of penal colony ?2 FPS RF (Federal Penitentiary Service) – Vitaly Babenko and Maxim Indovsky. Diorama was made for Zelenograd Library ? 157 as a sign if gratitude for cooperation.  Work was carried out in two months, authors worked at night, said Head Librarian of the Library ?157 Irina Junjurova.

The composition is based on drawings by artists Kuznetsov, Garpenko and Agapov, depicting scenes of battle for Moscow near Kryukovo village. This large-scale diorama is made of paper (paper-mache and cardboard) to a 1:35 scale. Plastic models of soldiers and tanks were bought in a shop, but authors improved them- for example they made little ground sheets out of cloth. It was convicts’ initiative to create a diorama. It could be seen in the library. In December it will be present in separate hall as part of exhibition dedicated to deceased Krukovo residents who fought in Great Patriotic War and didn’t return from the frontlines.

Library started collaborating with colony in april of this year – when gratuitous cooperation agreement  was signed. Once in two weeks seminars are held, lectures on the various topics are read for convicts, mostly on regional study, travelling or technical subjects. Lectures are held in the library; convicts are not brought, they come on their own, accompanied by colony employees.

 A new library opened on Golden Beach in Odessa, Ukraine. Everyone coming to the beach can loan books from the library collection for free. The unusual library was founded on the initiative of “Forward!” social movement. At present, the library holds about 400 books, some of which are in foreign languages. You can take a book home and then return it, as in any library. You can also bring any other book from your personal collection as a substitute for a loaned book.
 An open letter to Yandex company, more exactly to its head Arkady Volozh, signed by Russian writers and cultural figures, appeared on the web site of ECSMO, one of the largest Russian publishers. Copyright promoters “worried by the bad influence of piracy on Russian literature and culture”, appeal to Yandex and ask it to delete links to pirate sites and stolen content from the search results of its Internet search engine. Deleting content from search results after the rightholder’s appeal is according to international legal practice, claim the writers, and “it is the mechanism used by Google today”. The letter was signed by 13 people: Yuliya Vysotskaya, Andrey Mikhalkov-Konchalovsky, Leonid Parfenov, Alexandra Marinina, Andrey Makarevich, Darya Dontsova, Anna Litvinova, Vadim Panov, Tatyana Polyakova, Anna Berseneva, Tatyana Ustinova, Alexander Seleznev, Tatyana Vvedenskaya.Press service of Yandex replied promptly that the company can only define content policy and make restrictions of the web-sites it hosts, namely Yandex.Narod, Yandex.Video, Yandex.Fotki, but it cannot intervene into the use of others’ copyright objects by third parties.Habrahabr web-site gives the following comments on the reference to international practice: “True, Google deletes links to pirate content on a user’s request. Moreover, since January 2011 they even censure automatical endings of search requests, deleting “pirate” terms like [torrent] or [rapidshare]. But Yandex doesn’t have to follow American copyright laws, because Yandex is a Russian company (Savings Bank has its golden share).”“Even though Yandex makes money using pirate content and makes contextual advertising on pirates’ requests, it does so under the law and cannot be blamed. It is awkward for a search engine to undertake the technical task of filtering pirate content or the administrative task of deleting web pages on a rightholder’s request”.Publishers consider that it is search engines that they should appeal to concerning fighting piracy, but in Russia it is not so. An article in “Kommersant” journal claims that in April 2011 Google Russia deleted 446 links to 106 pirate web sites from search results on request made by ACSMO and without legal action. As stated in search results, Google acted according to Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that is US legislation, when deleting the links.Lawyers explain that, according to Russian legislation, a search system doesn’t have to react to rightholders’ appeals. It can only do it as a gesture of goodwill or for PR reasons.Anton Nosik says the same thing in his blog “Yandex, turn into Google”: “In essence, everything is quite easy. Google is an American company, and in US there are certain rules in copyright sphere. In particular, there is DMCA law, which stipulates the exact measures that should be taken on copyright claims. So Google sticks to the US law in the way worked out by its corporate lawyers. The law stipulated not only the deletion of content on a rightholder’s request, but also the possibility for the resource whose content was complained about to dispute this measure, because the defendant is a legal entity, as well as the plaintiff. In a court it may turn out that the defendant is right, and the plaintiff is an impostor. So if the defendant has counter-arguments concerning claims received by Google, it is not Google that should solve the problem, but the court. And Google will gladly enforce the writ. By the way, the same procedure is stipulated in the user agreement of LiveJournal.”“In Russia, there are no such rules. We don’t have a step-by-step procedure of solving copyright disagreements. Our laws do not stipulate at all who is responsible for what and in what cases. Besides, we don’t have case law. Two courts in Russia may reach incompatible verdicts in two identical cases. And it isn’t just a possibility, it happens regularly. You may recall the legal actions against Masterhost and vKontakte concerning copyright infringements. In these cases, there were several arbitration bodies, and each of them didn’t agree with the decision reached by the previous one.In such an absurd and crazy situation it’s quite logical that “writers” should advocate the adoption of normal laws in Russia. Particularly, it would be good to stipulate a sensible procedure of dealing with copyright disagreements. To describe the areas of responsibility of the rightholder, the infringer, and of all possible third parties: hosters, domain registrators, social networks, search engines, people publishing links to other web sites – who should delete what, in what time limits, and what are the mechanisms of counteraction to deliberately false whistle-blows. For example, situations when a false accusation of copyright infringement is used for rivalry and hush-down.Instead we have “the writers’ letter to Yandex” containing a wonderful appeal: Dear Yandex, please, follow Google’s example. Follow American legislation in Leo Tolstoy street in Khamovniki, as it does an American company in the city of Mountain View, California.” 

Irina Balakhonova, Editor-in-Chief, “Samokat” Publishing House, spoke about the trends in modern children’s literature and the problems it touches upon. Among other things, the publisher noted that children’s literature now reveals “grown-up” matters. “Such new literature for children, if I may say so, appeared in the West in around 1970-s, and has developed since then. Writers started to speak to children, sometimes babies, on such previously tabooed topics as divorce, death, serious disease. To be fair, I have to say that Russian authors also started to mention many previously tabooed things already in the 1990-s.

It’s enough to name books by Ekaterina Murashova, already translated in German in the 1990-s, but we don’t have many writers like her. As for readers’ reaction to openly speaking to children about the problems of a modern family, we should say exactly what readers we imply. Children accept such books easily, but adults often protest against this trend. We may take, for instance, a wonderful book “Sowieso und uberhaupt” by the Austrian writer Christine Nöstlinger, translated form German by Vera Komarova. It tells about children who suffer because their parents separate. I’ve heard negative comments on the book: people say that we promote wrong stereotypes by speaking about divorce. And it is totally unacceptable to mention death in children’s books in our country. Heaven forbid, you may hurt the child!”The first book published by “Samokat” (translated by Nataliya Shakhovskaya) – the story “Cabot-Caboche” by the French teacher and writer Daniel Pennac – was a great success. “It is a story of a little girl, whose parents dress and feed her and do her every wish. But they don’t pay any attention to others and haven’t taught her to pay attention, either. It is something very characteristic of a modern family”, says Irina Balakhonova. “However, attitude to children starts to change gradually: grown-ups start to see them as separate independent personalities, try to communicate with them as with their equal. I’d like to believe that we have played a part in these changes, that if for seven years we have been publishing books touching on understanding between generations and between totally different people, who should learn to respect and hear each other, it is not for nothing.”“There are no perfect families”, persuades Irina Balakhonova, and children should be prepared for this. Thus, the abovementioned book by Christine Nöstlinger can help a child to get over its parents’ divorce. “Such authors as Nöstlinger and Ulf Stark, one of the best Swedish children’s authors and one of our favorite authors (we published three of his books translated by Olga Myaeots), give a new twist to the old theme of generation gap.”Several years ago “Samokat” Publishing House printed the book “Oh, boy!” by the French writer Marie Aude Murail. Nataliya Shakhovskaya, who had translated the book, got the award of the Guild of Professional Translators. The book was highly controversial, some critics claimed that it was authority-ordered and written as a popular tolerance textbook.Irina Balakhonova spoke about the time Murail came to Moscow to a Book Fair. She said: “The critic who had accused her of bias, witnessed the following scene. Marie-Aude took her chance when the French Minister of Economics came to the bookfair, caught him by the arm and didn’t let go until she had told him everything she and a group of children’s writers thought about the Government’s policy concerning children of the immigrants, who were deported from the country at that time. So the critic understood that Murail’s writing reflected her social position. “Oh, boy!” turned out to be the first and, perhaps, the only book in Russian, in which there is a homosexual personage. The book focuses on children who lost their parents, and their step-brother, that very laid-back gay, became their guardian, but he doesn’t need any children at all. His image is openly exaggerated, exactly in Murail’s style. She doesn’t aim at accepting or accusing his way of life, the message of the book is different. It is: can a person, a weak marginal, grow up and take responsibility for children?”According to Balakhonova, “new children’s literature” in Russia is not welcome. “Russian classics, including the books in school program, are not sugary. So when I lack arguments speaking to librarians, I turn to the last argument and say: “You give “The Captain’s Daughter” to an 11-year-old, don’t you? And you don’t worry about it!” But such are the peculiarities of post-Soviet psychology: signature under the text is more important than content. There are right authors, and there are wrong authors.” Source:
 Sociologists have published the results of a research concerning private libraries of Russian people. It turned out that 18% of Russians have no books at home. The majority of respondents have collections of less than 100 books. The number of people with such minimalist book collections increases early. In 1990 there were 28% of such people, in 2011 – 49%. The results were gained during a questionnaire undertaken by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center.Every fifth respondent has a collection of 100 to 300 books (there are 19% of such people, whereas in 1991 there were 24%), and only 6% of respondents managed to gather a collection of 300 to 500 books.4% of Russian citizens have private libraries containing 500 to 1000 books, and only 2% of respondents have more than 1000 books. As a rule, well-educated people (46%), as well as the inhabitants of Moscow and St. Petersburg (60%) have larger book collections.In spite of the decrease in the number of books kept at home, Russians read almost as much as before. In 1992 an average Russian read about 4 books a month (4.25), the number has not decreased dramatically – at present, it is 3.94 books. The inhabitants of Moscow and St. Petersburg (5.28 books), as well as people of pre-retirement age (4.45 books) read more than others.Russians generally buy books which they want to read (33%). A custom to borrow books from acquaintances lost its popularity (27% of respondents borrow books at present, while two years ago the number was 37%). Downloading books from the Internet became more popular: up to 11% of respondents use this means of getting books (earlier the number was 5%). At the same time, only 1% of Russians prefer to buy books in e-shops.Printed books remain the most popular among Russians (89%). 28% of respondents prefer digital books, while 33% of respondents do not even know what it is.The Russian Public Opinion Research Center carried out this research all over Russia on 28-29 May 2011. There were 1600 respondents in 138 settlements in 46 regions and republics of Russia. Statistical error is not more than 3.4%.Source:
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