Over 100 libraries in Estonia showing off collection rarities this week

Estonia's national epic
Estonia's national epic "Kalevipoeg" at the Archive Library of the Estonian Literary Museum. Source: Year of Libraries 2022

In an event organized as part of Estonia's 2022 Year of Libraries, more than 100 libraries across Estonia on Monday launched displays of their collections' biggest rarities. The joint "Collection Pearls" exhibition includes old books, volumes of various shapes as well as items with interesting background stories. The partially online displays will be open to visitors through this Sunday.

Libraries from 13 counties across the country are represented in the exhibition, and according to reported information, the most active organizers have been in Tartu, Rapla, Harju and Pärnu counties.

A list of participating libraries can be found on the Year of the Library homepage (link in Estonian).

Each library has set up its respective display differently, but the common theme remains showcasing the biggest rarities of the respective library's collection to its visitors.

Among the items on display this week are:

  • Tapa Public Library: "The Complete Costume History" (2003), which with 636 pages and measuring 30 centimeters wide and nearly a meter high, weighs nearly 10 kilograms;
  • Tartu Public Library: the oldest book in their collection, and one not available at any other library in Estonia — Rabe, Paul, 1656-1713, Cursus philosophicus, sive compendium praecipuarum scientiarum philosophicarum. – Regiomonti ; Lipsiae : Boye, 1704;
  • Pärnu Central Library: several rarities from the archives, including a 1857 issue of the Estonian-language newspaper Perno Postimees, and a 1909 copy of "Juhan Liiv's poems."

The 2022 Year of Libraries was initiated by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and is being led by the National Library of Estonia in cooperation with 870 libraries across the country.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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