INSIGHT INTO THE PAST
"...The reading room forms the right wing of the Oval Reception. It has the similar size and shape to the Manuscript Storage Room that makes up the left wing. In contrast to the latter, it does not have bookcases surrounding the columns...
The room is furnished with two long reading tables, placed parallel to each other in the lateral sections, separated by the columns. It is equipped also with eight small lifting tables that abut against the same columns. Each table has a double-sided sofa in front of it....»
Guidebook to the Imperial Public Library. 1872
This space was originally occupied by the first reading room of the Library, with 48 seats for readers. The Reader Service Desk was located in the left corner of the room. Its staff were responsible for the delivery of the Library’s books to its users.
At first, the Library's holdings were replenished with individual manuscripts. A year after the purchase of the Dubrovsky Collection, Alexander I donated the famous Ostromir Gospel, the oldest dated Russian manuscript book (1056–1057), to the Library. In 1810 A. I. Ermolaev, the assistant to the curator of manuscripts, presented the Library with a copy of the Ipatiev Chronicle. In 1811, Count A. I. Musin-Pushkin gave the Laurentian Chronicle of 1377, containing the oldest copy of the Tale of Bygone Years, as a gift, and thereby saved the unique manuscript from destruction in the Moscow fire of 1812, which consumed away his great collection together with the only extent copy of the Tale of Igor's Campaign.
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The film shows some precious items from collections of the National Library of Russia. You will see:
The video film The Tale of the Battle of Neva of 1240 shows a fragment from the Illuminated Compiled Chronicle created in the 16th century on the orders of Ivan the Terrible. Every page features colourful miniatures. The Tale tells of defending the northwestern lands of Russia against Swedish armies by Prince Alexander Nevsky's troops.