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500 years of Belarusian book-printing

The year 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Belarusian book-printing. This universally important date is listed in the UNESCO calendar.

The Belarusian republican committee in charge of preparing for the celebration of the 500th anniversary of Belarusian book-printing adopts the plan of action.

A meeting of the organizing committee and press-conference dedicated to the preparation of the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Belarusian book-printing are held at the National Library of Belarus and BelTA press centre.

As part of the jubilee celebrations, the National Library of Belarus takes part in various events and offers a number of cultural, education and research programs.

As part of the international research and publishing project “The Book Heritage of Francysk Skaryna”, the multi-volume facsimile edition of Skaryna’s books was donated to the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in the Russian Federation, libraries of Kaliningrad Oblast, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, representatives of diplomatic missions in the Republic of Belarus, delegation of vice-rectors for science and innovation and heads of scientific institutions of the Republic of Uzbekistan, cultural centers of Ukraine,the main libraries of Minsk, Vitebsk, Grodno, Brest, Mogilev and Gomel Regions, and also the institutions of culture and education of Mogilev, Brest, Vitebsk and Grodno Regions, Novogrudok Centralized Library System and Local Lore Museum, Orsha Regional Museum of History and Culture, D. Novikov Library of the Belarusian State Agricultural Academy in Gorki, the Belarusian State University of Culture and Arts, as well as the biggest world’s libraries: the Library of CongressNew York Public Library, the British Library, the National Central Library of Rome and  Vatican Apostolic Library, Alexandrian Library in Egypt, the National Library of France and  French National Assembly Library, the United Nations Library in Geneva and the University Library of Bern, Berlin State Library; the national libraries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, the Czech Republic, Serbia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria and Slovakia, Romania, Finland, FranceLatvia, Lithuania, Estonia, the Netherlands, Georgia, Denmark, Belgium, Spain, China, Poland, Ukraine, Indonesia, Brazil, Mongolia, India, the Library of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – the Nation Leader, libraries of the Wroclaw and Jagiellonian universities, the Academic Library of the University of Latvia, The Istanbul UniversityThe Presidential Library of Turkey.

The summing-up of the project, presentation and ceremony of donation of the multi-volume facsimile edition The Book Heritage of Francysk Skaryna to representatives of business circles and educational institutions was held on September 1st.

At the 16th International Slavic Congress, held on August 20–27, 2018 in Belgrade, Serbia, the Belarusian facsimile reproduction of the book heritage of Francysk Skaryna was recognized as one of the best editions of the last time in the Slavic world.

During the jubilee year, the presentations of new publications are conducted: the three-volume encyclopedia Francysk Skaryna. The Encyclopedia Man, Francysk Skaryna. The Man of the World, Francysk Skaryna. The Man of Legend (series “The Belarusian Children’s Encyclopedia"); the books Francysk Skaryna. From the Glorious City of Polotsk (series “Biographies of the Outstanding People of Belarus”), On a Visit to Francysk Skaryna (series "A Magic Book"), The World Heritage of Francysk Skaryna (series “The Encyclopedia of Rarities"), the miniature edition The Book of Judith, the albums Vilna in the Epoch of Francysk Skaryna, The Educator from Polotsk: Honoring Francysk Skaryna, the publishing projects Art Skaryniana and The Roads of Francysk Skaryna.

In honor of the 500th anniversary of the Belarusian book-printing the National Library of Belarus organized a charity campaign "The Book Is the Source of Wisdom, Knowledge and Science..." Within the framework of the campaign the book collections are donated to the following institutions:  the residential home for elderly and disabled people and the Ponyamunski orphanage in Grodno, the library of the boarding house for veterans of war and labor Svitanak in Minsk Region, the care homes for disabled children with special psychophysical development, the republican care home for veterans of war and labor, the residential care home for the elderly and disabled people in Minsk, prison libraries, the Republican Clinical Hospital for Veterans named after Piotr Masherov, the children’s home in Vitebsk and  the residential care home in Vitebsk, the children’s home in Gomel, the Ulukovie boarding school for children with special needs, the Ostroshitsky psychoneurological hospital and care home for the elderly and disabled, penal colony number 2 in Bobruisk, the Children’s Town of Lenin District in Minsk, the residential care home for elderly people and the disabled at the Regional Social Service Center of Dribin, the social and pedagogical center-orphanage of Pervomaisky district of Minsk and orphanage No. 3 of the Moskovsky district of Minsk, Minsk City Educational and Health Center "Leader", boarding school for orphans and children deprived of parental care in the Radoshkovichy village.

An event dedicated to the completion of the charitable campaign "The Book Is  the Source of Wisdom, Knowledge and Science ..." was held in the National Library of Belarus on January 23, 2018. More than 14 500 print editions were donated to different Belarusian social institutions: children’s homes, boarding schools, care home for war and labor veterans etc.

Kids and their parents appreciate the program “On a Visit to Books”, which includes the series of classes “The Book Professors’ Club”, “Museum Readings”, “The Secrets of the Orthodox Book”, “Lessons in the Museum”. The Book Museum conducts successfully the first and second days of the workshop marathon on the promotion of book culture and visited different regions of Belarus with the program "The Positive from Skaryna".

As part of the series “Outstanding People of the Motherland”, the National Library offers a  teaching tour about Francysk Skaryna’s life and work.

The library also initiates a drama play competition entitled "Francysk Skaryna and Present Day”.

In the 500th year of the Belarusian book-printing, the National Library of Belarus is a co-organizer of the international exhibition projects “Francysk Skaryna and His Epoch” and “The Roads of Skaryna with Belgazprombank.” The library also prepares a number of thematic book and art exhibitions:

The National Library of Belarus takes part in the XXIV Belarusian Written Language Day, which combines three remarkable and meaningful dates: the 500th anniversary of the Belarusian and East Slavic book-printing, the 1155th anniversary of the city of Polotsk and the Written Language Day.

The library hosts the celebrations of the Orthodox Book Day and award winners of literary and scientific competitions among students, timed to the 500th anniversary of the Bible published by Francysk Skaryna.

The National Library takes part in Vilnius International Book Fair and is a co-organizer of the holiday of Francysk Skaryna, conducted in the Belarusian gymnasium in Vilnius. In 2015, Vilnius hosted the Belarusian-Lithuanian events timed to the 525th anniversary of the Belarusian printing pioneer.

In 2016, at Moscow International Book Fair the 500th anniversary of the Belarusian book-printing was the topic of the national stand of Belarus, where a series of books dedicated to Francysk Skaryna was presented: The Encyclopedia Man, The Man of the World, The Man of Legend.

On 14 and 15 September, the National Library hosted the International Congress “500 years of the Belarusian book-printing”. The event was organized by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Belarus and the National Library of Belarus with the support of the Central European Initiative (CEI), the Interstate Fund for Humanitarian Cooperation of the CIS Member States (MFGS), the Programme Mobility Scheme for Targeted People-to-People-Contacts (MOST). The International Congress was held under the patronage of UNESCO.

The National Library is a co-organizer of the science conferences and roundtables as follow:

Specialists of the National Library of Belarus take part in the international conferences abroad in honor of the 500th anniversary of the Belarusian and East Slavonic book-printing:

  • the session “The 500th anniversary of the Belarusian book-printing” within the framework of the World Library and Information Congress: the 83rd General Conference and the Assembly of IFLA (Wroclaw, Poland).
  • the international symposium “Francysk Skaryna and Prague” (Prague, the Czech Republic).
  • the international symposium “The reading nation in the reading world”, within the framework of the specialized exhibition EXPO-2017 (Astana, the Republic of Kazakhstan).
  • XXV International Scientific Conference "St. Petersburg and Belarusian Culture" (St. Petersburg, the Russian Federation).
  • V St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum (the Russian Federation).

On December 21, the final event Skaryna’s Universe took place. The anniversary year was summed up, and heads and staff of institutions, organizations and enterprises were awarded for their part in the preparation and work of this significant event.

On June 12–13, the Zurich Library of Slavic Studies and the Gutenberg Museum in Fribourg (Switzerland) received as a gift the facsimile editions The Book Heritage of Francysk Skaryna and The First Primer (1618).

On July 18, in St. Petersburg, during the Sixth Forum of Belarusian and Russian Regions, Chairman of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of Belarus Mikhail Myasnikovich met the heads of state authorities of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation and the regions of Belarus. At the meeting, he presented to Chairwoman of the Council of the Federation Valentina Matviyenko the facsimile edition Book Heritage of Francysk Skaryna.