By Lilia Rybakova
Some time ago, I was sitting at a book store cafe in Vilnius and happened to see a copy of Petrus Brovka Encyclopaedia Publishing House’s Bulba (Potato) encyclopaedia. It sat on a shelf above the bar counter, amidst the most remarkable editions. I felt proud that the book was being seen in a foreign state but was also sad that Belarus lacks such cafes, situated within libraries, children’s toy shops and book shops. Europe abounds in such places, which inspire interest in reading.
Not long ago, a unique venue opened in Minsk, like those seen abroad. It serves as a coffee shop and a site to host presentations, while having computers, bookshelves and sculptures. It displays art works in such a refined interior that you can’t help but think of old, aristocratic libraries. The PResentation shop has been officially opened by the Director of the Petrus Brovka Encyclopaedia Publishing House, Tatiana Belova. She notes that the shop has another name: Encyclopaedia of Taste. “We’d like Belarusians to have good taste in all fields: in what they read and watch and in their lifestyle,” she stresses.
During the launch ceremony, a symbolic red ribbon was cut, and a cake in the shape of a book eaten. Really, knowledge should not always be associated with granite — especially in our modern times. Public access to information is growing, while interest in reading is falling.
The new shop creates an extremely comfortable environment for those wishing to spend time with books. You can sip coffee as you listen to classical music, log on to the Internet and choose any book you like from the shelves. Of course, you can buy the edition if you wish to. Moreover, authors will organise regular meetings with readers, to discuss their works. No doubt, it is sure to become a true cultural centre, uniting book gourmands.
The Publishing House is planning another project, envisaging the exhibition of a new painting each month. Modern Belarusian artist Victor Korolev’s April opens the way.