Urban Living

Jan 25, 2017

The Treasuries of Knowledge: Discovering the Libraries of Yerevan

Arthur Read, our all-time favorite aardvark in cartoons, taught us that having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card. At least for us bookworms, books are a source of entertainment; however, this is not applicable for all people. There are lots of students who don’t even know where the school’s library is located.

The old fashion way was to force people to go to the library, pick a book and write a summary about it. Does that really promote the concept of libraries which is self-education? Is this method even effective? What about adapting libraries to suite people? This is what’s happening now, the strictest public place, the library, is changing to serve education better. Armenia is among the countries that are going with the flow.

1. National Library of Armenia

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For those of you who like Armenian literature or want to learn more about it, the National Library of Armenia is a great place to start. It is the home of the largest collection of rare and early printed Armenian books and 7 million books related to different fields. The building and the interior architecture of the NLA belongs to the 19th century era, moreover the adopted system that runs the library is old-school: you can find library card catalogs there! So, if you like to read an old book in a vintage atmosphere, the NLA is certainly a blast from the past!

2. The American Corner in Armenia

Image credit: American Corner

The American Corner in Armenia is the hub where the American and the Armenian cultures meet. The library offers educational, cultural and business resources connected with the Armenian-American partnership. This Corner regularly organizes events that teach about the American culture. You can also improve your English by attending the English Clubs which are conducted by native speakers.

3. AUA’s AGBU Papazian library
Image credit: Papazian Library

If you would like to study or read in a state-of-the-art library, then AUA’s AGBU Papazian library is the perfect destination. This library does not only offer 45,000 volumes of books, but also a nice atmosphere to study in. Students from other institutions can also get a library card and enjoy learning at AUA.

4. The National Children's Library after Khnko Aper

Image credit: National Children's Library

Educating children means building a better future. The National Children’s Library offers books for children in Armenian as well as in other languages. The library also offers consulting sessions for children and parents as well as excursions, storytelling activities and exhibitions. Learning can be fun!

5. Little Free Library

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Who said that libraries should necessarily be buildings? Little Free Library is a creative initiative that promotes reading. It consists of little wooden boxes built with recycled materials that are filled with books and spread in different places, regions and countries. The idea is to “take a book, leave a book”.  It is not only a great way to encourage people to read, but also a way to share thoughts and feelings: you can always leave a note in the books you share. You can find one on Aram street and another one in Lovers’ Park.

6. QR Library
Image credit: Armenian State University of Econmy

Books and technology: this is a paradox for most people; especially for adults, but not so anymore. A cylindrical QR library can be found in the courtyard of the State Economic University of Armenia. It shows the QR-codes of e-books in the university’s library. By using the QR reader application, students can download the PDF versions of books on their smartphones and on other electronic devices.

7. The Mirzoyan Library
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The Mirzoyan library is a photo-library in Yerevan. It has an educational goal: it is filled with books related to photography. Its space also serves as a gallery for photo exhibitions. This library launched a photography school that offers two types of courses: one for beginners and one for experimental photography.

Whilst libraries have always been similar the world around, some people may have noticed that these libraries should adjust in different ways and serve different kinds of people, therefore encouraging self-education more widely. Armenians have noticed this and immediately changed their systems of libraries to adapt to their culture and the love of the mind. Libraries are limited in space, but what they offer us surpasses limitations. They offer us infinite knowledge, whilst teaching us to be more aware, to learn and thus improve.