site.btaUPDATED National Library Celebrates 145th Anniversary
Vice President Iliana Iotova, Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov, scholars, diplomats and politicians were some of the people that attended a celebration dedicated to the Saints Cyril and Methodius National Library's 145th anniversary here on Thursday.
In her speech, Iotova said: "Tonight we mark and celebrate an incredible birthday - 145 years since the establishment our spiritual temple, the temple of knowledge. This is not just a date on the national calendar, nor is it an event that we can casually flip, as we flip the page of a calendar. Because our national library is not just a library, it is a spiritually significant cultural institution. The national library is the heir of all written, spiritual, cultural and literary history".
Iotova called for increasing the space available to the Library for storing books. "We cannot be happy with having 700 books per square metre. This is not normal in the 21st century," she said.
The Director of the Library, Krasimira Aleksandrova, was presented with a plaque on behalf of the President of Bulgaria, Rumen Radev, for the Library's contribution to forming the foundations of knowledge, culture, literature of modern Bulgaria, as well as for its active role in the preservation of Renaissance ideals and the achievement of educational and cultural progress.
Prime Minister Denkov said in his address that it is no coincidence that the National Assembly building is located between Sofia University, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and the Library. "This was the feeling then, I am sure, that the National Assembly should be part of this spiritual complex that can lift us up, make us not only equal but, in some ways, even better than other European nations," he said.
In an address read on behalf of Minister of Culture Krastyu Krastev, by the Deputy Minister of Culture Viktor Stoyanov said: "With its age-old history and work, with the brilliant personalities who have walked through it as part of its destiny, our national library today is our nation's memory, our example of how modern awakeners uphold our national spirit and values - with perseverance. And with the ability to change and enrich itself continuously in tune with its readers, with the communication network established with other great libraries around the world, the National Library of Bulgaria [...] today still occupies a leading place in spiritual spaces."
The Library was established on November 28, 1878, old style, or December 10, 1878, new style. The library committee included representatives of the clergy, civil service, military, teachers and public figures. At the start of the 20th century, as the collections grew, the need for a new building for the Library became more pressing. In 1933, a committee was appointed to determine a site.
Aleksandrova said that today the Library's collection comprises over 8.5 million registered items and grows 50 to 60,000 documents every year.