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Chairman of the State Duma of the Russian Federation S.E. Naryshkin: "Russia Can and Should Preserve the Status of the Most Reading Country in the World"

The meeting on the issues of improvement of social and cultural indicators and support of the reading infrastructure in the region was dedicated to the results of the Year of Literature, the issues of reading infrastructure development in the regions of Russia, including in Karelia, principles of formation of contemporary readers among the growing-up generation. The meeting took place in the Petrozavodsk State University, with the Speaker of the State Duma of the Russian Federation Sergey Naryshkin as the chairman. The Head of the Republic of Karelia Alexander Khudilaynen, the First Deputy Minister of Education and Science Natalya Tretyak, Director of the Russian State Children's Library Maria Vedenyapina, Vice-President of the Russian Book Union Oleg Novikov, representatives of educational establishments, libraries of the Republic, teachers of the Russian language and literature took part in the meeting.

Sergey Naryshkin was the head of the organizing committee holding the Year of Literature in Russia. When he opened the meeting, he said that Karelia was active in the Year of Literature and occupies a fairly high place among the regions of Russia in the number of readers (14th place). At the same time it was mentioned that it is necessary for Karelia to develop the book selling network, increase the number and availability of libraries in order to stop the trend for decrease of the number of library users. Libraries should be provided with Internet access for that.

Natalya Tretyak mentioned the importance of reading not only as a necessary skill for children but also as the key aspect in formation of contemporary child's personality. "The Year of Literature in Russia launched new events and initiatives which will be preserved in the systemic operation of educational establishments in future," the First Deputy Minister said. "Thus, last year after the first convention of school library employees a decision was taken on the necessity to support this institution in regions, work out educational standards. Karelia actively participated in that. The Government allotted financing of the project in the amount of RUB 2 billion. It will be done after approval of standards."

Alexander Khudilaynen told those assembled about events and initiatives realized in Karelia in the Year of Literature and especially emphasized the following: "Karelia is an educated and reading Republic. These are the traditions of our region where many outstanding writers and poets were brought up. And we are trying to preserve these positions." The Head of the region mentioned that the main task of the Year of Literature was attraction of the attention of all residents of Karelia and not only children to literature and reading. More than 30 thousand people took part in the events. Last year they managed to stop the trend for reduction of visits to republican libraries. The increase amounted to 12.6% in comparison with 2014. Now the plan for implementation of the Library Network Development Concept up to 2020 is worked out, it should become a tool for restructuring libraries in the area satisfying modern requirements. Karelia became an inter-national venue to discussion of literary issues. Last year the Republic of Karelia became the venue for the Russian-Finnish Cultural Forum for the first time. The issues of literature were included in the main agenda. Karelian writers took part in the International Congress of Finno-Ugric Writers which took place in Hungary. Significant contribution into development of inter-regional cooperation was made by events in which creative unions of writers of Karelia took part - jubilee events of the Sever (The North) magazine, representative office of the Union of Russian Writers in Karelia, gala events connected with unveiling the monument to Robert Rozhdestvensky on the initiative of Karelian Union of Writers, International Literary Festival "Petroglif."

A lot of attention in the Republic is paid to preservation of the languages of the natives. "Our children learn the Karelian, Vepsian and Finnish languages as separate subjects in 47 schools, which makes 21 percent of the total number of schools. Most of these schools are located in rural areas, in places where Karelians and Vepses live compactly," Alexander Khudilaynen said. "Appearance of new books of Karelian authors on the market became an important result of events as a part of the Year of Literature, first of all for writers and publishers. Last year 795 various books (if we take book titles) were published in the Republic of Karelia, which is 5.8% more than during the previous year. 18 books in Russian and national languages with the total number of copies amounting to 9550 were published at the expense of budgetary funds of the Republic of Karelia. Creation of the e-resource "Literary Map of Karelia" was launched, it will contain information about writers who made a significant contribution to the literature of Karelia, memorable places connected with the literary life of our Republic. The first book stall in the Republic has been operating in the National Library since August, 2015, it was offered by Karelian writers. It is possible to buy books by Karelian authors in it. At present there are 152 titles."

The results of work are reflected on the state final attestation of school graduates in Karelia. In 2016 the number of works in the Russian language getting 100 points increased in the Republic (from 6 works in 2015 up to 23 in 2016).

In the end of his speech the Head of the region said that the launched projects would be definitely continued. The Council for the Russian Language under the Head of the Republic of Karelia was set up to bring new initiatives and ideas into life in the Republic.

Vice-President of the Russian Book Union Oleg Novikov said that according to the rating research, Karelia is included in the number of leading regions in the infrastructure level for reading literature on the all-Russian scales. There are 10 bookshops operating in the Republic, including 5 being part of federal chains. The vast territory of Karelia is serviced by 571 libraries. At the same time Novikov mentioned that there are not enough bookshops in Karelia. "We should think about opening new bookshops not only in Petrozavodsk but also in Kondopoga, Kostomuksha, other settlements in Karelia." This issue can be solved with the support of the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia which examines a possibility of subsidizing bookshops.

Oleg Novikov informed the others that he had discussed a possibility of free installation of a platform with the access to the e-books database in each republican school with the Minister of Education of Karelia Alexander Morozov. The representative of the non-commercial organization said that use of advertising space including mass media is one of the mechanisms to instill the culture of reading.

The chief editor of the Pervoye Sentyabrya (The First of September) Publishing House Artem Soloveychik spoke about the educational infrastructure index of the regions of the Russian Federation and special features of educational process in Karelia. "Karelia's economic indicators are approximately average in clusters, there is a trend for increase of the share of urban schoolchildren," the speaker said. This sets the tasks for the authorities to increase the index taking into account the special features of the area, social requirements of the residents of the Republic.

Director of the Russian State Children's Library Maria Vedenyapina, head of the Karelian Regional Department of the Association of Teachers of the Russian Language and Literature Irina Roy, Director of Petrozavodsk school #2 S.F. Makarenko addressed the participants of the meeting with the ideas of necessity to form the image of contemporary reader not only among children and schoolchildren but also among their parents. As Irina Roy said, a modern reader who is actively using gadgets, who is brought up not only on classical literature requires respective attitude to himself/herself: "Fantasy books are becoming more and more popular with young people and grown-ups. It is possible to play in them, to become participants of the plots. The difference of status in the relations between reader and writer disappears. Today they are practically equal subjects of communications. We have to think how to instill the culture of reading in this environment." The speakers named restoration of family reading traditions; interaction via virtual sites for discussion of books on the Internet; public events instilling love for reading as tools to develop reading culture.

In the end of the meeting Sergey Naryshkin emphasized: "Russia can and should preserve the status of the most reading country in the world. We have everything for that."

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Created: August 21, 2015. Last updated: August 16, 2015.
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