The technical reequipping of libraries this year has been completed, said Moscow Government Minister and Head of the City Department of Culture Alexander Kibovsky.
Libraries have received Wi-Fi and modern equipment, including new computers.
“We have installed an impressive 1,700 computers with the assistance of the Department of Information Technology, and we have replaced Intel Pentium 4 computers. I suspect that some people visiting libraries are younger than the computers replaced by us,” he said.
All libraries have now been connected to the National Online Library. “People can read all the books they want at any city library and get access to four million legal books from our main library if they need to,” he added.
All libraries will now be able to buy books that are in high demand, including those written by prize-winning authors. Such books are listed among the top ten bestsellers and are even more popular than those by classic authors.
Mr Kibovsky called the Discarded Books website that was launched 6 June another successful 2017 project. This past summer, people in the city took away all 250,000 old library books. “We have stopped that barbaric practice when discarded library books had to be burned or shredded and decided rather to give them away to the people,” he noted. “People came and took away all the books, although they realised that these books were old, torn or long obsolete,” he added.
On 20 December, city libraries offered an additional 86,000 old books free of charge.
To obtain discarded books, people should register on the above-mentioned website, choose the required publications and reserve what they want. Sometime later, they will be notified on their personal accounts or by e-mail that the books are ready for collection. These books will be stored for three days, and the reservations can be extended twice only. After that, people should come to any specific library and take away the books. One person can reserve not more than ten books on a daily basis and various companies are now allowed to use the website for the first time.
City libraries will also actively be entertaining people during the winter season. “We are organising a lot of free New Year events and Christmas tree parties throughout the entire New Year holiday season, which are very popular,” Mr Kibovsky said.
This is a major achievement because, only two years ago, city libraries were closed at the weekend and during public holidays. Today, people can go there every day, except Mondays, and this has made it possible to organise about 700 hobby groups and workshops and to hold over 21,000 public events.