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“No one Believed in its Realisation at the Stage of the Architectural Project” (L. Shokhina)

“No one Believed in its Realisation at the Stage of the Architectural Project” (L. Shokhina)
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Construction of facility No. 1 in Belarus continued in 2005: we present an overview of events based on press coverage for May – August.

The library should become a symbol of Belarus...
This building will represent our country in the intellectual world, will become its glory...
Shokhina L.M. Diamond in the Intellectual World.
Belarus, 2005, No. 7, p. 16–17.

The opening of the new building of the National Library of Belarus (NLB), which was planned on September 1, 2005, was postponed to May 2006, and took place a little later – on June 16. The main reason for the delay in construction were changes to the original design: May 26, 2005 by Resolution No. 555 of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus, the concept of creating a national information and socio-cultural centre on the basis of a new building of the National Library was approved.

The granite cladding of the building was 85% complete, the glazing was 80% complete and the installation of the stone floor was in progress.

And again, new technologies!

"Preparations are underway for the poured floor: for the first time in Belarus, work will be carried out on this new technology using a modern material – polybetonox," the Vecherniy Minsk newspaper reported. [15].


Lifts and the Telelift system were being installed in the building; the following equipment was being placed:

  • plumbing;
  • electrotechnical;
  • dust removing;
  • fire fighting.

The work at the site was carried out in three shifts. The total number of employees in May 2005 was about 2,000 people.

From then on, the building under construction was guarded not only by the security service of the library itself, but also by officers of the Ministry of the Internal Affairs. The decision was taken at the government level, due to the use of expensive materials for the interior decoration of the library and the fact that expensive equipment will soon be imported.

The geography of the construction units was the following: Baranavichy, Babrujsk, Viciebsk, Homiel, Hrodna, Mahiliou, Maladziechna, Vorsha, Pinsk, Polack and other cities. In June, there were about a hundred organisations (construction participants).

"More than thirty construction companies from Minsk are involved in the finishing work. Construction workers from all over the republic are involved in the finishing work on the stylobate (the low-rise base of the "diamond"). It has been decided to assign individual sections of the stylobate to each region of the country, and teams of workers and specialists arriving from different cities and districts are starting work in their areas," Jury Klimovich, technical director, told Sovetskaya Belorussiya newspaper [2].

Three Belarusian companies have fulfilled the library's order to supply shelving equipment: Minsk Production Association of Computer Engineering, Viciebsk Metalware Plant and Navahrudak Metalware Plant.

The unique movable metal shelving units could support several tons of weight on their shelves.


Among the builders were about 200 servicemen from the railway troops, bridge battalion, air force, air defence, and the Military Academy of the Republic of Belarus. Students from universities and colleges in Belarus helped out: the boys were involved directly in the construction work and the girls were given lighter jobs. For example, – key keeper! It was their responsibility to open and close the rooms where work was due to take place and not to let outsiders in.

It is interesting!
"In total ... more than $200 million has been spent on the construction of the unique building," with "the Belarusian people ranking second on the list of "voluntary" investors. The republican budget takes the honourable first place," wrote Belorusskaya Delovaya Gazeta [22] (i.e. taxpayers' money).

The 6th National Festival of Architecture kicked off on 23 June as part of Architecture Week. The day before, a press conference was held, attended by M.K. Vinahradau and V.V. Kramarenka (chief architects of the National Library) on the occasion of being awarded the State Prize for the design of the new railway station building opened to passengers in 2000. The next award, the State Prize for the original architecture of the National Library building, went to M.K. Vinahradau, Vinahradau and Kramarenka and Chief Construction Engineer L.M. Shokhina in 2008.


By the way!
In 2018, The title of Distinguished Architect of the Republic of Belarus was awarded to Mr Vinahradau and Mr Kramarenka (only three architects in modern Belarus had been awarded this title before them).

On 27 July, the then President of the Republic of Belarus visited the construction site of the library. In a conversation with construction workers, he emphasised the importance of quality: "Everything has to be done conscientiously and beautifully." He approved of the concept of building a Presidential Centre inside the library, where summit meetings and other events were to be held.

In August, work was completed in the entrance area of the library. The left entrance wing was adorned with words from the Skaryna's Bible "May God's man be perfect..." in 19 languages, while on the right wing appeared sayings from the works of Kiryla Turauski, Symon Budny, Mikola Husouski, Janka Kupala and other cultural figures.


On 30 August 2005, a monument to Francysk Skaryna, a Renaissance humanist and scholar, founder of Belarusian and East Slavic printing, was erected to the left of the main entrance. This work by sculptor A. Draniec won the competition to commemorate the first book printer back in 1989. The monument was cast in bronze in the late 1990s and was originally planned to be installed near the Academy of Sciences. However, the installation took place near the building of the National Library. You'll agree that this location near the country's main book repository is more than apt.

By the way!

  • The height of the monument is 5 meters 70 centimetres.
  • There are monuments to Skaryna in Polack, Prague, Vilnius and other cities.
  • А. Glebov (1908–1968), author of the monument in Polack that was erected in 1974, was awarded the State Prize of the BSSR.

Around the library, the improvement of pedestrian areas and paths and driveways continued.


The library staff prepared the collections for the move in a planned and orderly manner, and technology was used to minimise the risk of damage to and/or loss of the items being transported.

It was also necessary to ensure favourable conditions for library collections in the new building as well.

"Any book is afraid of a lot of things. A certain temperature and humidity regime is required, the lighting is important and how many pollutants are in the air. Each type of paper on which a book is printed has its own stringent requirements. Meanwhile, there is no "statute of limitations" in our work – national documents must be kept forever," Taciana Kuzminich, deputy director of the National Library [16].

The People's Republic of China has announced a 10 million yuan (equivalent to US$1.2 million) supply of equipment for the National Library. There were more than 200 units of the latest computers – workstations for library staff and readers. They can be used to create electronic resources and to search for and order literature.

It is interesting!
The cost of all the computer hardware at the time was around US$30 million.
By the end of the year, it was planned to significantly expand the library staff (up to 1,000 people) and recruit, in addition to specialist librarians, building maintenance engineers, programmers, etc.

In August, the National Library recruited 81 young specialists in 32 different fields from nine universities in our country.

There were plans to lower the age limit for readers in the new building: from now on, even university and university undergraduates and high-school students could register with their passports.

  1. Павловская, Д. В Национальной библиотеке будут сауна, солярий и салон красоты / Д. Павловская // Народная воля. – 2005. – 15 мая. – С. 1.
  2. Зенкевич, Е. Большая стройка движется к финалу / Е. Зенкевич // Вечерний Минск. – 2005. – 17 мая. – С. 3.
  3. Климович, Р. Алмаз под охраной / Р. Климович // Советская Белоруссия. – 2005. – 17 мая. – С. 4.
  4. Телешева, А. Встретимся в сентябре в библиотеке / А. Телешева // Рэспубліка. – 2005. – 19 мая. – С. 3.
  5. Об утверждении Концепции создания республиканского информационного и социокультурного центра на базе строящегося здания государственного учреждения "Национальная библиотека Беларуси" [Электронный ресурс] : Постановление Совета Министров Республики Беларусь от 26 мая 2005 г. № 555, дата публ. 01.06.2005 // – Режим доступа : – Дата доступа : 11.11.2021.
  6. Турмеля, В. Монументальная идеология / В. Турмеля // Згода. – 2005. – 28 траў. – 4 чэрв. – С. 1, 4.
  7. Бервольд, Е. Под знаком Архитектуры / Е. Бервольд // Знамя юности. – 2005. – 17 июня. – С. 19.
  8. Для Национальной библиотеки // Гродзенская праўда. – 2005. – 21 июня. – С. 1.
  9. Китай – Национальной библиотеке // Рэспубліка. – 2005. – 22 чэрв. – С. 1.
  10. Компьютеры для Национальной библиотеки // Народная газета. – 2005. – 23 чэрв. – С. 1.
  11. Белорусская библиотека с китайским оборудованием // Обозреватель. – 2005. – 24 июня. – С. 8.
  12. Береснева, Е. Стеллажи для Национальной библиотеки делают в Новогрудке / Е. Береснева / Рэспубліка. – 2005. – 24 чэрв. – С. 2.
  13. Хацкевич, Н. Библиотеку – всем миром / Н. Хацкевич // Минский курьер. – 2005. – 27 июня. – С. 2.
  14. Шохина, Л.М. Брыльянт у інтэлектуальным свеце / Л.М. Шохина ; [беседу вела] Г. Шадрына // Беларусь. – 2005. – № 7. – С. 16–17.
  15. Зенкевич, Е. И оправа будет под стать «бриллианту» / Е. Зенкевич // Вечерний Минск. – 2005. – 9 июня. – С. 2.
  16. Кузьминич, Т. Хранить – вечно! / Т. Кузьминич ; беседовал А. Анцелевич // Народная газета. – 2005. – 6 июля. – С. 1.
  17. Нікіценка, І. Ключніцы Нацыянальнай бібліятэкі / І. Нікіценка // Настаўніцкая газета. – 2005. – 18 июля. – С. 2.
  18. Президент Беларуси поручил продолжить работы по остеклению книгохранилища нового здания Национальной библиотеки [Электронный ресурс] // БелТА. – 2005. – 27 июля. – Режим доступа : – Дата доступа : 11.11.2021.
  19. Полтавская, Ю. И засияет гранями алмаз / Ю. Полтавская // Минский курьер. – 2005. – 28 июля. – С. 3.
  20. Президент дал конкретные поручения // Рэспубліка. – 2005. – 28 июля. – С. 2.
  21. Делать на совесть и красиво // Минский курьер. – 2005. – 29 июля. – С. 1, 3.
  22. Николайчук, А. Национальная пакует чемоданы / А. Николайчук // Белорусская деловая газета. – 2005. – 29 июля. – С. 11.
  23. Нацыянальная бібліятэка рыхтуецца да пераезду // Культура. – 2005. – 30 ліп. – 5 жн. (№ 31). – С. 1–2.
  24. Янович, Н. «Алмаз» проходит последнюю огранку / Н. Янович // Народная газета. – 2005. – 30 июля. – С. 1.

Information and Analytical Department.


The State Library of the BSSR named after Lenin is one of the largest cultural and educational institutions of the republic: based on the materials of the periodical press of the first half of the 1950s, the database "NBB in the press"

20 Jul 2023

In the 1950s of the last century, the State Library named after V.I. Lenin was tasked with organizing activities as a centre for interlibrary subscription, scientific, methodological and bibliographic work and the main base of library and bibliographic services for research work in the republic, as well as the central state book depository of the BSSR. Thus, the role of the library in ensuring the social and cultural development of the state and society was emphasized.

To the 100th anniversary of the National Library of Belarus