A number of creative and solemn events were timed to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the Brest Regional Library.
The first was the presentation of the monograph “Understanding a masterpiece. Brest Bible” published in the National Library of Belarus. The author of the research is the Deputy Director General of the National Library of Belarus, Chairman of the International Association of Belarusian Studies, Ales Susha. The monograph contains the results of a comprehensive scientific study of the Brest Bible - the most expensive and largest edition of Belarus of the 16th – 18th centuries. This Bible has become a real legend, which scientists deservedly call the masterpiece of the book culture of the Renaissance. The publication was published in Brest on September 4, 1563 at the expense of the Nesvizh prince, the Vilna voivode, the chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania Nikolai Radziwill and immediately attracted the attention of readers, researchers, theologians, translators not only in Belarus, Lithuania and Poland, but also far outside the region.
The researcher described the circumstances of the creation of the masterpiece, summarized the reasoning about its significance as a work of book art, linguistic culture, biblical studies, emphasized the unique features of the book monument. The author analyzed what has been done to bring the Brest Bible back to public consciousness, cultural and scientific use, and what else can be done for this.
The video of the presentation is available online at the link.
The second important event was the opening of the museum and exhibition exposition of the rare books department. The rare book department is the youngest structural unit of the library: it is formed from the sector of the same name. Now its collection numbers over 2.7 thousand copies of various documents in Belarusian, Russian, Polish, German, English and other European languages, as well as in Latin and Esperanto. These are books, brochures, leaflets, maps, periodicals and archival documents from the 16th century to the present day. Funds continue to grow. The old walls became crowded: it was decided to allocate a new room for the department, and from the most valuable, rare and unique publications to create a permanent museum and exhibition exposition.
The central place here is occupied by the pearl of the book fund - a fragment of the Brest Radziwill Bible, published on September 4, 1563 in the Brest printing house. It includes parts of books from the Old and New Testaments - 69 sheets in total. The fragment is believed to have been formed at the end of the 19th century, which dates back to its binding. Today it is known about three copies of the Brest Bible, stored in institutions of Belarus.
The exposition also presents other publications that any library in the world can be proud of. For example, two books by Christopher Plantin, the largest Dutch printing house, founded in 1555 in Antwerp. Also interesting are the Polish edition of 1611 "Chronicles of European Sarmatia", the 1st volume of selected works of Jean Baptiste Rousseau, published in Paris in 1799, the volume of the 18th century heraldic book "Karona Polska", acts of the Vilnius archaeological commission, a collection of decrees for the inhabitants of Brest -Litovsk. In the showcases one can see the “Commemorative Book of the Grodno Province for 1866”, the ethnographic collection “Pinchuks” of the late 19th century, lifetime editions of the collection of historical songs by Yulian Nemtsevich and the classics of Belarusian literature - Vaclav Lastovsky, Tishka Hartny and others.
Deputy Chairman of the Regional Executive Committee, Gennady Borisyuk, congratulated the library staff on the anniversary, noting that it is a cultural, educational and research center of the region. “This is the flagship of the library science in our region, a place where both in words and in deeds they preserve history and culture,” he said. The vice-governor promised that the authorities will continue to provide funds to replenish library funds. By the way, already during the presentation, several rare books and archival documents were presented to the institution by invited guests, among whom were honorary readers, patrons of art, local historians. Thus, the deputy general director - director for scientific and publishing activities of the National Library Alexander Susha donated to his colleagues the lifetime edition of the book by Maxim Gorky, whose name the Brest Regional Library bears.