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On Occasion of the 125th Anniversary of the Famous Belarusian Bibliographer Adam Sakolchyk

On Occasion of the 125th Anniversary of the Famous Belarusian Bibliographer Adam Sakolchyk
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In the history of the formation and development of the National Library of Belarus (hereinafter – NLB) there are many personalities whose professional contribution can hardly be overestimated. Among them is Adam Sakolchyk, a big specialist, a talented teacher and a well-known Belarusian bibliographer, a person with a very difficult and interesting life.

Mr Sakolchyk was born in 1896 in the village of Vuhly, Samakhvalavichy volost, Minsk district, Minsk province (now Samakhvalavichy rural settlement, Minsk district, Minsk region) into a family of farm workers.

In 1911, the young man graduated from the Samakhvalavichy two-grade public school and entered the Niasvizh Teachers' Seminary to become primary school teacher. Immediately after graduation in August 1915, he was early drafted into the Russian Imperial Army, where he graduated from the 2nd Moscow Infantry School of Warrant Officers and from August 1916 to January 1918 he served in front-line units, taking an active part in the battles of the First World War.

After demobilization, Mr Sakolchyk combined the management of the Bielitskaushchyna primary school in the Minsk district and his studies at the Minsk Institute of Public Education for a short time. However, the turbulent times of that historical period dictated their own terms: Adam had to leave his studies and teaching activities, since from May 1919 he was drafted into the ranks of the Workers 'and Peasants' Red Army and served there until 1922.

In 1925, he graduated from the Socio-Historical Department of the Pedagogical Faculty of the Belarusian State University with the qualification “secondary school teacher of geography and history”. While studying at the university Mr Sakolchik was active in teaching: he worked as a teacher of mathematics, history, geography and physical education, became the first Director (Head) of Minsk Parish City School No. 7 .

Since 1924, for 6 years, Adam was the director of Minsk Soviet Incomplete Secondary School No. 32. Later he taught geography at the working faculties of the Belarusian State University and the Minsk Medical Institute.

During this period, together with M. Lojka and T. Ezavit, Adam Sakolchik worked on the preparation of textbooks and teaching aids on physical geography for the system of secondary specialized and higher education. As a result, the following textbooks were published: "Physical Geography" (together with M. Loika), "Geography" (in three issues, in cooperation with M. Lojka and T. Ezavit).


In the period from 1933 to 1941, he taught geography at the Higher Communist Agricultural School of Belarus named after Lenin, at the 9th Minsk Evening School.

In 1940, fate brought Mr Sakolchyk to the State Library of the BSSR named after I. Lenin (now the National Library of Belarus), where he worked part-time as a bibliographer.


The fact that in 1938 he again entered the Belarusian State University, but at the correspondence department of the Physics and Mathematics Faculty, testifies to Adam Sakolchyk's craving for new knowledge. However, the beginning of the Great Patriotic War did not allow him to finish his studies – in July 1941 he was again drafted into the Workers 'and Peasants' Red Army. He went through the entire war, fought on the Kalinin and 2nd Ukrainian fronts, took part in the liberation of Ukraine, Romania, Czechoslovakia. Mr Adam Sakolchyk met the Victory Day in Czechoslovakia and until November 1945 continued to serve in the Soviet Army.

For service in battle, conscientious and excellent record Mr Sakolchyk was awarded medals "For Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945" and "For Military Merit", jubilee medals "30 Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945" (April 1975) and "60 years of the Armed Forces of the USSR" (January 1978).

In November 1945, Adam Sakolchyk was transferred to the reserve with the rank of senior lieutenant, returned to Minsk and for a year worked as a methodologist for the Labour Reserves Department under the Council of Ministers of the BSSR.

In February 1946, he again became an employee of the State Library of the BSSR named after I. Lenin and until 1948 was in charge of the Book Chamber of the BSSR, which at that time was one of the structural divisions of the library.


In 1948 Mr Sakolchyk was appointed head of the cabinet of Belarusian literature and bibliography.

The same year, he married his colleague, Zoja Djakanava. This fact from his life is figuratively described in the memoirs of Ihar Zholudzeu: “... Once, they allotted a room for the library. The room was large, and the management decided to accommodate two people in it. They gave this room to Sakolchyk, Head of the Belarusian Department, and Djakanava. Sakolchyk kept applying for boards to divide the room. It was inconvenient to live in one room together without a partition. But there were no boards. Eventually, they called him to the Administration and said: "There are boards!" To which Sakolchyk replied: “They are not needed anymore,” and then the girl Natasha was born to Sakolchyk and Djakanava. Such was the library romance with a good ending... ”.

Since 1961, on his own initiative, Adam Sakolchyk was transferred from a managerial position to the position of Chief Bibliographer, and worked like that until his well-deserved retirement.

Adam Sakolchyk is the compiler of numerous bibliographic indexes: “Periodical Press of Belarus. 1817–1916 ”,“Mineral Resources of the Belarusian SSR and their Management”, “Russian Pre-Revolutionary Book about Belarus (1802–1916)”, “Bibliography on the History of Belarus: Feudalism and Capitalism”, "Pre-Revolution Book in Russian on Belarus (1768–1917)" and others.


The high professional skills of Adam Sakolchyk, his contribution to the development of domestic librarianship and the cultural industry as a whole were noted with awards of various levels: Certificate of Honour of the Ministry of Culture of the BSSR (1958), Certificate of Honour of the Ministry of Culture of the USSR and the Central Committee of the Trade Union of Cultural Workers (1962), Certificate of Honour of the Ministry of Culture of the BSSR and the Belarusian Republican Committee of the Trade Union of Cultural Workers (1964, 1972), Certificate of Honour of the Directorate, the Party Bureau and the local committee of the State Order of the Red Banner of Labour of the BSSR Library named after I. Lenin (1982).


In January 1965, having devoted 18 years of his professional life to the Library and having reached retirement age, Adam Sakolchyk retired.

Mr Zholudzeu recalled this moment: “… Sakolchyk was a wonderful person. When he was retiring, and then, you know, they called a presidium on the stage, there was Sakolchyk, the administration of the Library, and everyone who spoke came out and talked about what a good person and specialist he was. Everyone was in a gloomy mood. What was peculiar was everyone talking about Sakolchyk in the past tense. He listened, and then said: "I'm still alive, you know!" There was a roar of laughter! After this remark, everyone began to talk about him in the present tense. He was a man of the kindest soul ... ”.

On January 8, 1983, Adam Sakolchyk passed away.

You can learn more about his life and professional path by visiting the Internet resource “Outstanding Bibliographer of the 20th century A. Sakolchyk: on the 120th anniversary of his birth ", created in 2016 by the staff of the NLB. It contains biographical and bibliographic information, copies of various documents and materials: personal documents, awards, a large photo gallery, etc.

Bibliology Research Department