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Thursday, 27 October 2016


What Georgia is going to read?

2012-07-30 17:15

What Georgia is going to read?. 27793.jpeg

Residents of the Georgian village of Gogolesubani are trying to save the local library, where unique books lay in dust and moisture. Local administration is not really concerned about the fate of rare editions: the library association has found only "trash" there. The villagers are ready to save the precious books by their own, but for some reason they can't get permission to enter the building. They say someone has decided to appropriate the old library.

Nikoloz (Niko) Berdzenishvili, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Academician, was born in 1849 in the village of Gogolesubani, Chokhatauri district. In Georgia, there is an institute named after him. More than one generation has grown on his works. But virtually nothing has left from the library that Berdzenishvili had built and dedicated to the villagers. The building is without windows and doors. The photographs of famous writers are in dust, unique books are suffering from terrible damp. But among them there are rare 100-year-old publications. One of the oldest copies of "The Knight in the Panther's Skin", an interesting cookbook, published in 1921 a small edition of 150 copies, and many unique ethnographic worksa are still here. Library contains about 1150 books.

Prior to 1992, in Georgia, there were about 8,000 libraries. Now there are only 560 of them. In 2005, Parliament passed the "law of self-government", and the control over the libraries passed to the local municipality. Many of them were closed, and some were attached to schools.

Local residents have repeatedly appealed to the government to help save the book. "I've sent letters to our village headman many times, at least 10 times. It's impossible to treat such a unique library this way. Zero attention! I asked to send pupils to arrange a work day for many times, but no one has paid attention. We even cannot enter the library building, apparently, someone intends to appropriate it", Esma Gogol, a local resident says.

And the head of the library association Maya Melua blames the residents of Gogolesubani in equanimity. "When the libraries were abolished, we had only 5 people. It was almost impossible to keep track of all and everyone. It would have been nice if the villagers would have helped us that time".

Kakhaber Gogol, a resident of Gogolesubani: "First, we are assisting in the rescue of libraries. Second, even if we would not have acted as we should, there are people who are responsible for the salvation of books! They could take these books to the school or to the office of the head of the village".

Gogolesubani villagers say they are ready to restore the library building, and if possible take care of the books: "We, the Gurians, are book lovers, but we can't manage to restore the library. We've repeatedly appealed to the local administration with a request to allow us to rebuild it ourselves, but we have got no answer. If we start the work without permission, they would come and fine us, I know their laws", resident of Gogolesubani Niko Babilodze says. "There are valuable books, which are left unattended, they must be saved".

In turn, Maya Melua says: "We may have missed something during the inventory. It was dusty and wet here, the work was carried out very slowly. But the books are mostly spoiled, this is waste paper".

But people deny this is waste paper. They say that books just need a caring hand. And why would the villagers lie?

Apparently, the inventory of the library was really carried out superficially, otherwise the unique books would not have been so dusty, and the library building, located near the administrative center, would not have been in such poor condition.

Nino Svanidze

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