Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Way of the Dodo?

Logo of the National Library of Russia / Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Today is National Library Day in Russia, and like everywhere else, the fate of libraries in Russia remains uncertain. The editors of Literaturnaya Gazeta offer their take on the situation in this week’s issue:
The library is a treasure.

Its death will be a tragedy. Because knowledge, memory, and the bond between eras will die with it. The universe itself will be destroyed, leaving humans defenseless before the fury of those who have lost their human form and the madness of the elements. Don’t be stingy with libraries! We understand: they aren’t nanotechnologies. But the future of the nation will depend on libraries nonetheless.

The library is a sanctuary. It is a salvation from the bustle of the world and the malice of others. Remember yourself in childhood. If, of course, your childhood was normal, and not filled with gunfire against computerized monsters. With whom could you seek consolation when your mama unjustly scolded you, when they teased you in school and nobody, nobody understood? Right, with them, with the heroes of books, amid the rustling pages. And books consoled you, taught you how to live, little by little showing by clear example how you should make peace with friends and with that very same mama, how to be brave and honest. And the trip to the local library was almost the first act that allowed you to feel like a grownup.
In any case, wherever you are today, do the simple thing: check out a book from the local library and read it.


  1. I do love libraries. I adore them. I agree that 'in angulo cum libro' is the perfect idea of heaven. But that passage (as most everything published in Literaturka's latest incarnation) makes me want to puke.

  2. It does seem a bit heavy-handed, doesn't it? I doubt, for example, that this revolution we're undergoing will lead to the destruction of the universe. The role of libraries will just have to shift slightly, that's all.

    Just out of curiosity, do you think that Literaturka is losing its position of influence in Russian culture? If so, what could replace it (or already has)?