"From Niksic Reading Room Society to National library "Njegos" Niksic"

Renata Bulajic, Jelena Jovovic and Mihailo Perosevic
Cultural wealth
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National library "Njegos" Niksic will celebrate 140 years of its existence. The purpose of this story is to focus on history and importance of such cultural institution that ceased to work only during II World War. From this Institution dispersively developed other cultural institutions in this town.

From Niksic Reading Room Society to National library “Njegos” Niksic While silencing battles of the Montenegrin- Ottoman War (1876- 1878), the ancient town, girdled by massive fortress Bedem, headquarter of parish Onogost- Anagastum, has been freed from Turks (27.08- 08.09. 1877). Their new inhabitants, mostly shopkeepers, craftsman, immigrants from Old Montenegro, Old Serbia, Herzegovina, Boka bay, domicile Montenegrins and habitants from Stara Varos- Muslims were agens of mere economic, urban, cultural and educational metamorphosis of the town. Niksic became center of Montenegrin culture and education thanks to specific circumstances, first hard-working enthusiasts from the new opened Elementary school, eminent members of Sobajic family (merchants, librarians, founders of Niksic Reading room Society ,1881), Theatre Society (1884), Vocal ensamble Zahumlje (1898), first cinema and participation of priesthood and Niksic printing joint-stock company as well. In one of the reports of Pavle Rovinski, Russian historian, Slavist and publicist, reconsidering itinerary about Montenegro, written by dr Bernhardt Schwarz, docent at Royal Saxon School of Mines at Freiberg, Saxony, who came with purpose of searching minerals, we can trace few information about founding Assembly of Niksic Reading Room Society. Dr Schwarz and Rovinski came in Nikšic on that same day when founding Assembly and although being tired, they couldn’t refrain from participating in assembly when The Reading Room was founded. According to Rovinski “Dr Schwarz was astonished by the perfection of protocol while people debated, that beautiful rally of people that neither got higher education nor the opportunity to drill- based speech and detailed researches of such important issues for educational institutions such as Constitution. Data from the report of Pavle Rovinski, two years later, affirmed and enriched with numerous deatails, dr Bernhardt Schwarz itself, in his well- planned research about Montenegro . Significant part represented his sojourn in Niksic and founding Assembly of Niksic Reading Room Society. “We traverse by foot wide bazaar, enlighted by silvery moonlight, writes dr Bernhardt Schwarz. We have climbed dark stairs in one large building and finally gathered in plain but in huge hall. Purposely it serves to jovenails, willing to learn and entertain in this town surrounded by hills but today in those narrow school benches sit closed to each other people with beards, grey and old with daggers and revolvers around their belts but on a desk as if it was a throne, sat board consisting of Chairman and Note- keepers. To tell the truth, what has been already observed in such distant part of the country is that everything was modernly prepared like parliament representation. There was also chairman’s bell although it didn’t served for purpose here […] neither attendants who spoke were interrupted nor the orator insulted anyone […] Fortunately, in regard to religion, they all agreed that couldn’t immerse distinction: everyone should participate in Society both Christians and Muslims […] during deepest silence the Chairman took a word once more observing that Society started to work into accord with two nations, German nation and Russian nation. Therefore, Assembly decided in honor of this lucky circumstances, that Rovinski and I shall be appointed as Honorable Members of Society with professionally designed diplomas to be sent as an evidence. Such honor we couldn’t receive remaining silent. So, I took a word cordially expressing joy and gratitude for finding here so much parliamentary skill. Thence, I have to recognize that the Montenegro has its best to stand in line with modern and cultural countries of Europe in all its segments”. Niksic Reading Room Society gather all eminent people from this area: Maksim Sobajic, dr Svalej, dr Makrides, priests Masan Nikcevic and Djoko Mijuskovic, Bosko- Bekica Sobajic, Jovo Golijanin and lots of others. It stopped to work during The First World War in order to intensify development of education in 1919. Publishing sector marks its zenith and it’s appointed toward schools. In that period in Niksic existed specific library that was located in an inn of Petar Pejak. It was a curiosity. The owner supplied The Reading Room with belletristics and scientific literature but also with educational newspapers and magazines. The Library was closed rapidly and police burned into ashes all book fund. After liberating town in October 1944, National Library” Njegos” has been opened and in post- war period it continues to spread cultural tradition that once had Niksic Reading Room Society. The Library has been moved three times and finally in the beginning of 1981 National Library “Njegos” has been situated in a Castle of King Nikola. Nowadays, it consists of two separate units: Department for children with more than 15 000 librarian units and Department for adults with more than 70 000 titles. Both Departments have Readings rooms. Also, the Library owns four Legacy fund, Hometown fund and Fund of old and rare book. Last year in October in Department for children there has been opened Reading room for children, the first in our country- dedicated to both healthy children and children with disabilities. It is modern and well-equipped. For the first time we have been honored to participate in European heritage days, a manifestation celebrated all round Europe. The National library “Njegos” Niksic represented six different events: lecturers, lessons, workshops during three days and gathered more than 300 participants. We have succeeded in making connection between two famous literary works: The Mountain Wreath and The Little Prince.

European Dimension

Libraries are cultural institutions having common goals and mission no matter where they are located. It doesn't recognize boundaries, gender, class or any other distinctions. They are meant for education, spreading knowledge, literacy, cultural promotion and adopting cultural values. The promotion as important segment is not just rendered to spread cultural heritage of our country but also other communities from Europe.

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