According to the Decree of the President of the Republic of Belarus No. 1 of January 4, 2018, the staff of the National Library of Belarus is awarded the prize of the President of the Republic of Belarus “For Spiritual Revival”.
The prize has been awarded for facsimile reproduction and popularization of the book heritage of Francysk Skaryna, extensive efforts in the humanitarian field and contribution to the preservation and enhancement of the national cultural heritage, patriotic education of youth and strengthening of spiritual values and charity.
The National Library of Belarus, as the main library of the country and the largest custodian of the national documentary heritage, took an active part in the preparation and celebration of the 500th anniversary of Belarusian and East Slavic book-printing. On the occasion of the memorable anniversary, the library has prepared a particularly valuable gift – the multivolume facsimile Book Heritage of Francysk Skaryna.
The implementation of the international scientific and publishing project on the facsimile reproduction of Skaryna's book heritage is the highlights of the celebration of the 500th anniversary of Belarusian printing. Its most important goal is the return home of the cultural heritage of the Belarusian people – the publications of Skaryna, scattered around the world today and not widely available in the homeland.
The international scientific and publishing project lasted five years (2013–2017) within the framework of the state program "Culture of Belarus" for 2011–2015." At all stages of implementation, the project was supported by the Belarusian Orthodox Church; the main co-organizers were the Bank BelVEB and its main shareholder the Vnesheconombank State Corporation.
The facsimile Book Heritage of Francysk Skaryna represents a complete repertoire of books published by the Enlightener in Prague (1517–1519) and Vilna (1522–1525). The publication is based on digital copies of the best-preserved books, which are now kept in libraries and museums of Belarus, Great Britain, Germany, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, the USA, Ukraine and the Czech Republic.
The facsimile compiles all the books by the Belarusian first printer. It retains the structure, content, peculiarities of the fonts and prints of the originals, reproducing all the features acquired during the 500-year existence. The reissued masterpieces are accompanied by translations of prefaces and afterword of Francysk Skaryna into the modern Belarusian, Russian and English languages.
In total, the edition includes 20 volumes (21 books) of facsimile reproduction of Skaryna’s heritage, as well as a separate volume of scientific comments dedicated to the return of the Belarusian printer's heritage to the homeland. Each volume is published in 1000 copies.
The project is the most important scientific and cultural event of our time.
Celebratory events, presentations and book donation ceremonies took place in the largest libraries, museums, international public organizations of the world, such as the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, the Vatican Apostolic Library, the UN Library in Geneva, Library of the National Assembly of France, etc.
Today, the unique edition adorns the collections of the largest cultural institutions in 55 countries, representing Belarus on the international arena as a country with a unique culture and rich history.
On September 1, 2017, the National Library of Belarus hosted a celebration on the occasion of the large-scale project completion and presentation of the full set of the facsimile edition. The bulk of the circulation was transferred to more than 270 institutions of Belarus: republican and regional libraries, libraries of scientific centers and educational institutions, public libraries and other cultural, scientific and educational institutions.
The most significant jubilee event was the international congress "500 Years of Belarusian Book-Printing", which was held in Minsk on September 14–15, 2017 under the patronage of UNESCO. More than 600 delegates from 24 countries attended the forum.
The international exhibition "Francysk Skaryna and His Epoch" is a noteworthy event too, which presents books from Belarus, Russia, Germany, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, including 61 Skaryna’s books from four countries of the world.