Dear members of Estonian Librarians Association,

On behalf of the National Library of Latvia (NLL), I express my deepest gratitude to all the participants, including about 800 librarians, media from Latvia and foreign countries, companies and officials, who were responsive and took part in the campaign “The Chain of Book Lovers – The Path of Light” on 18 January. Peoples’ happiness and interest about the new library gave us momentum and commitment to do everything possible so that in the middle of 2014 the National Library of Latvia is open and ready to welcome anyone who is interested to know and learn.

In spite of the cold weather, the event was attended by over 14 thousand people from all over Latvia, including those from foreign countries – the Baltic States, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.S., Russia, etc. In five hours time about 2000 books from hand to hand were moved from the old NLL building in K. Barona Street 14 to the new building – The Castle of Light – in Mūkusalas Street 3. During the campaign, people were singing and shouting for joy, and the atmosphere was heartwarming and positive. The books were located in the Nation’s Bookshelf – a five-storey in height glass construction – which, however, is located in the atrium of the building and is one of the central elements of its interior.  Every book is a gift from a person to the NLL – personally important and special book, which includes a personal inscription in the title page from its giver. It should be noted that the donated books, which during the campaign were carried over to the new building and placed in the place of honor – The Nation’s Bookshelf – will be possible to get for reading.

The first book in the campaign “The Chain of Book Lovers – The Path of Light”, which began the road to the new home, was the Holy Bible in Latvian, published in 1825, in St. Petersburg.  This book was a gift to the NLL from Count Lambsdorff.  In turn, the last and longest by human hands traveled book in the chain was “Balandnieki” by Pēteris Upenieks – a book about life of Suits – Latvian folk or ethnographic movement.

In the coming months, the work on landscaping the Castle of Light and the territory around it will continue, as well as the library’s collection unit moving to the new building. It is planned that the first reading rooms and exhibitions will open doors to visitors in April.

There are 220 days left until the opening of the new National Library of Latvia! It will happen in 29 August, 2014 – on the library’s 95th anniversary.

Andris Vilks
The Director of the National Library of Latvia


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