International Cooperation and Relations
The integration of the National Library of Belarus (NLB) into the international library system and information institutions is the goal of our international activity. The international activity is carried out in the framework of partnership and cooperation with foreign libraries, information and educational institutions, professional and public organizations based on the joint formation and use of information resources, and also professional, cultural, intellectual and document exchange. The NLB attaches particular importance to cooperation with international professional organizations. The National Library is a member of several organizations such as the Noncommercial Partnership “Library Assembly of Eurasia”, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), the Conference of Directors of National Libraries (CDNL), the Assosiation “Baltic Library”, and the EIFL Consortium.
We are actively interacting with the National Commission for UNESCO in the Republic of Belarus, the Polish Institute in Minsk, the Information Center of the US Embassy in the Republic of Belarus, the Goethe Institute in Minsk.
The cooperation of the National Library of Belarus with foreign partners is actively expanding. Bilateral activities within the framework of cooperation agreements with library organizations are aimed at the professional activities development, the establishment of corporate relations in the field of dissemination of information, science and culture, the exchange of scientific and practical achievements. The NLB has signed 46 cooperation documents in the framework of contracted activities. Our partners are national libraries of foreign countries and CIS countries: Armenia, Great Britain, Hungary, Germany, Georgia, Egypt, Italy, Iran, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Pakistan, Poland, Russia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Estonia.
One of the main directions of the international activity is the return of the Belarussian book rarities from the outside. This activity includes the search in foreign collections, recording and describing of the monuments, obtaining originals of the most valuable units or their digital copies, providing access to them by including them in the country's largest electronic library and issuing facsimile publications. The largest project was the facsimile reproduction of the book heritage of Francysk Skaryna implemented by the NLB in cooperation with the Bank BelVEB OJSC in 2012–2017. The NLB experts conducted a study to identify the original editions of the Belarusian first printer, stored in collections of foreign libraries, and requested facsimile copies of the best preserved copies of each of the books in order to prepare the 21-volume edition of the “Francisk Skorina's Book Legacy”. Each volume is accompanied by forewords by Francis Skorina to Bible books and scientific commentaries in Belarusian, Russian and English. The sets of the “Francisk Skorina's Book Legacy” were donated to the largest Belarusian and foreign libraries and educational institutions at the end of the project. A similar project was implemented on the facsimile reproduction of the first book called “Primer”, published in Vievis (Lithuania) in 1618.
The promotion of the cultural heritage of Belarus through the free transfer of publications to the collections of foreign libraries, reflection of our rich cultural, literary and historical heritage are important aspects of cooperation with foreign countries for the NLB. Several projects were implemented in this direction, the most ambitious of which was the “Belarus Today” project. The project covers transfer of the Belarusian publications on modern Belarus, its history, outstanding personalities, familiarize foreign readers with the most famous works of Belarusian literature. This project started in 2010 and is still ongoing. Sets of books by Belarusian publishers have already replenished the collections of the largest libraries in the world: Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Serbia, USA, Poland, France, Finland, etc.
The National Library of Belarus hosts international scientific conferences twice a year. International Book Studies and the International Congress “Library as a Cultural Phenomenon” are among them. Over the years, experts from the British Library, the Library of Congress of the USA, the Royal Library of the Netherlands, the National Library of the Czech Republic, and others participated in the above conferences. Specialists from libraries and educational institutions of Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Ukraine regularly attend the events of the NLB. The Noncommercial partnership “Library Assembly of Eurasia”, the International Round Table “Documentary Heritage in the Central European Region: ways to preserve, study and popularize”, UNESCO regional consultations on open access to scientific information and research and other international meetings become a part of the international congress on occasion.
The NLB employees take part in international scientific conferences, round tables, congresses, seminars and present national book treasures and the most valuable Belarusian information resources to the foreign public.
Specialists of the National Library are actively working on organizing international exhibition projects introducing the Belarusians to the world book heritage. One of such examples is the exhibition of 2017. The Gutenberg Bible from the Leipzig branch of the German National Library was presented at the international exhibition “Francis Skorin and His Era” in the National Library of Belarus. One more example is the NLB's international exhibition "Primers of the World" (2018), the exposition of the exhibition consisted of more than a thousand primers in almost 600 languages of the world, provided for temporary exhibit by Latvian collector Juris Tsybuls. "Belarus and the Bible" is the common intiative the Manuscript Research Institute (USA) and the NLB realized in the same year. The exposition collected over 80 valuable exhibits from public and private collections in the USA, Great Britain and Israel.
The NLB is actively involved in organizing state international events. Overall, the NLB is the space for the annual international summit meeting, forums and major economic events. Every year, the library is visited by numerous foreign guests: politicians, diplomats, scientists, writers, representatives of cultural and spiritual missions of foreign countries.
The National Library of Belarus successfully cooperates with the diplomatic corps in our country and international organizations. Over the years, a number of events have taken place here: seminars, round tables, presentations, concerts, book transfer ceremonies, other events with the participation of the embassies of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Latvia, the People's Republic of China, the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation, the French Republic and others.