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Russian State
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BiblioNight–2014 in the Russian State Art Library

Date: 25.05.2014

BiblioNight–2014, the All-Russian annual event in support of reading, had successfully been held in our Library on April, 25th. On that day the Library was open until midnight.

We expanded the major theme of the event – “Setting the clocks forward” – and gave the name to our own action – “Forward to the past decades! Arts and everyday life”.              

We wanted to show the way elements of our everyday life (reading, fashion, cinema, theater and music) define the social development in the historical perspective. Our goal was to expand the basic vision of how art influences daily routine and vice versa.

The problems of everyday life as a socio-cultural concept are being discussed in mass media and in the scientific community more and more. The books – new and old ones – that cover aspects of everyday life in different countries and social strata through the years of various historical periods are constantly being published and reprinted and put out in mass circulation. Young Russians become more and more interested in the life of the past century.

We prepared special BiblioNight Map for those who came to the Library that day in order to make it easier for the visitors to get acquainted with the culture and daily routine of the past decades.

The program of BiblioNight–2014 covered a lot of interesting aspects and topics.

The event was started on Kuznetsky Most with musical performance “Centuries crossing on the crossroads” by an accordion player who played the French chanson of the 1930s and famous tunes from classic movies right in front of the entrance to the Library. There, on the street our librarians presented allcomers with art materials previously published by the Library – engravings, “fancy pictures”, sheets with the images of Moscow churches, so that everyone could get in the mood of festivity right from the beginning of the action.

At the entrance to the Library the visitors fell into the atmosphere of 1950s–1960s as they could hear the sounds of popular songs of that time.

Some of the visitors were our constant readers, whereas some visitors came to the Library for the first time. That is why we prepared special greeting compliment for our newcomers – “Become the reader of RSAL” – and presented them with our little gifts.

We held author’s excursions in the building of the Library, the 18th century heritage asset, where the readers could get to know the history of the place, could see the interiors and renovated antique furniture.

During the BiblioNight our guests visited the exposition “Brightness of everyday life - from the history of the 20th century fashion”. A lot of people were eager to know more about the fashion and the idea of beauty of 1920s–1950s.

The exposition was formed from the collections of the Library’s and private collections and in some respect became a visual story of the 20th century history shown through the fashion of that time.

The dresses and toiletware of the two famous actresses – Alisa Koonen and Angelina Stepanova – arose a lot of interest among the visitors, as those two women represented the standards of style and elegance. 

The exposition helped trace the origins of the artistic devices and views that are still dominant in the present times, however different the past and present fashion silhouettes seemed to us.

The major exposition of BiblioNight–2014 was accompanied by the retro-exhibition of fashion magazines of the 20th century that involved the best part of the Library’s collection. The magazines were in an open access to the readers so that they could see the basic tendencies of the European fashion development during the past century.

Apart from getting a chance to know more about the Library and its expositions the visitors could participate in various interesting and unusual events.

Experimental creative project based on the fairy-tale “Lovestory of a Striped Cat and a Swallow” (“O gato Malhado e a andorinha Sinhá”) composed by Brazilian writer  J. Amado for his little son in 1948 successfully combined two kinds of art – literature and theater – united by the use of word.

When the team of our Lending Department first saw among the new arrivals the publication of J. Amado’s “Lovestory…” illustrated by the famous Brazilian artist Caribe they immediately decided to turn the “fairy-tale for grown-up children” into a so called alive book.

The play was artistically composed, drawn and performed by actors, librarians and the readers of the Lending Department.

Special program was prepared for the children who visited the Library with their parents. We organized a master-class “Eating sweeties, drawing wraps”. Under the supervision of the Library’s team our small visitors together with their parents invented and drew many interesting, fantastically designed candy wraps. The children’s fantasy, of course, had no limits!  

Another interesting program “Meet the microfiche!” attracted a lot of visitors that night. The aim of the program was to promote new kinds of information sources.

So what is a microfiche? How can it help the reader, and especially an artist? Those questions and many more were answered by the Library specialists through the demonstration of wide possibilities of that yet little known resource.

The reference room of the Scientific Information Department was equipped with the microfiches reading machine which allowed seeing the unique collection of the Library. Images of engravings, sketches and layouts of European landmarks now can be not only seen but also copied as many times as needed.

We also had a book stall “Every book for 20 rubles!” where people could buy books at a very low price, which generated quite an excitement among the guests. Many of them purchased the books on humanities and the subjects on the history of arts.

During the whole action all cinema lovers were lucky to watch non-stop the following classical films:

Head in the Clouds, 2013, by John Duigan, starring Stuart Townsend and Charlize Theron. 16+

Sweet and Lowdown, 1999, by Woody Allen, starring Sean Penn. 12+

Malena, 2000, by Giuseppe Tornatore, starring Monica Belucci. 16+

The organizers of BiblioNight also invited to the Library the Fashion Model School of Anna Ice. The School’s visage master-class and a catwalk lesson arose a lot of interest among the young ladies who learned how to use cosmetics properly and how to create the desired look.

Late in the evening the exhibition sites of the Library turned into music venues. The Blue Hall of the Library and the Reader’s Museum hosted wonderful retro-music concerts – “Travel from the 20th to the 19th century” and “Italian Love Songs” – given by the students of Drama faculty of the Moscow State University of Culture and Arts under the musical supervision of the Honored Artist of the Russian Federation A.V. Hovanskaya.

Those who felt hungry could spend some time in a café for all-nighters with a cup of tea and sweeties and pastry.

BiblioNight-2014 gathered 320 guests; most of them were young people, however, we were glad to see senior visitors and physically challenged people and also whole families with kids at the event.

Here is some feedback of those who took part in BiblioNight:

- Thanks a lot for such a great festival! It was unforgettable! I wish I took my kids with me. -Fantastic night! – Ksenia Naka

- Thank you for the wonderful event – BiblioNight! Great program, friendly and welcoming team of the Library made that evening absolutely unforgettable. Many thanks! – Tatiana Morosnikova

The event was really great! BiblioNight action had proved once again that our Library is not only a reading place, first of all it is an open cultural and educational environment made for creativity and communication, a place where you can always have a good time.

Photo: BiblioNight in the Library. Part 1.

Photo: BiblioNight in the Library. Part 2.