“Leninka”, the biggest Russian library
There is an impressively big grey building located very near to the Kremlin, the Russian State Library. As you pass by you get fascinated with the size of the building guessing how huge the collection of the books kept there could be. It has a noble history of being a museum since 1862 named the Library of the Moscow Public Museum and Rumiantsev Museum. The collection of Arts of the museum grew with new donations, the space of the museum was getting not enough for all of it, and after the revolution the collections of the museum got dissolved in other museums of Moscow. Finally it became only a library. The library was named after V.I.Lenin in 1925 , nicknamed Leninka by the people, and later in 1992 it was renamed as the Russian State Library.
Nowadays it is the largest library in Russia and the fifth largest in the world possessing a huge collection of 17.500 million books. The collection of books is in 247 languages starting from the age of early printed books and manuscripts. At the Soviet time every book published in the USSR had its copy in the main library, it was obligatory. As a student I spent a month in the library working with the rare books needed for my graduation diploma. The halls of the library are very familiar not only to the Muscovites but to a lot of people in Russia as it was always the biggest resource of books.
It became very quick and simple to become a member to the library, you just have to fill out a simple form for registration and give your passport, they will make your picture taken and in five minutes you will have a member ticket. For the first time you would be tempted to go there for just touring around enjoying the look of the classical interior design and beautiful view of the Kremlin from different windows.
The procedure of ordering books is fully electronic, but it takes from 20 minutes to 2 hours to get your order from the huge repository as the library has over 275 km of shelves with books. It’s quite understandable that you have to wait a bit to get the book you have ordered. Meanwhile you can visit the “Museum of the book.” The exposition presents the book as the most important means of information, knowledge, distribution, education and upbringing of young people. It contains 10 thematically parts: world’s greatest books, evolution of the book forms and materials, start of book printing in Moscow and Ivan Fyodorov, from a manuscript to a printing book and others. The exposition tells us a story of the book as a product of human civilization and as a distinctive work of graphical and decorative work. The entrance to the museum is free.
The book, probably, is the most complicated
and the greatest 0f all miracles, created by the humanity
on its way to future happiness and power.
Statue of Dostoyevsky, a famous Russian writer in front of the State Russian Library