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A library opens on Franz Josef Land
© RIA Novosti. Evgenya Novozhenina

A library opens on Franz Josef Land

A Moscow-initiated library has opened on Alexandra Land on the Franz Josef Land Archipelago, according to the official website of the Mayor and Government of Moscow. An expedition from the capital has brought 200 books for the border guards, servicemen and researchers working on the island.

"Men were particularly pleased with manuals, for instance, on how to build a bath-house, while women were happy to have family novels," the website reports.

Vladimir Vladimirov, acting head of the state-run Moscow Directorate of Cultural Centers, noted that the idea of a non-stationary library on Franz Josef Land was proposed by librarians from Moscow's Western Administrative Area.

"Life at a polar military base means virtual isolation from the rest of the world. Therefore, a book there acquires a different value than on the mainland. It remains, as before, the most accessible, topical and precious source of information. We are very proud of the fact that libraries subordinate to the Moscow Department of Culture have contributed to creating a cultural cluster near the North Pole," he said.

More than 30 people live at the Nagurskoye base on Alexandra Land.

"Evening leisure opportunities for the base's personnel are limited: the internet is strictly for work use, communications are only via a satellite at a scheduled time, and films are brought from the mainland. So, reading a book is a nice way to spend one's leisure time, to while away the evening," said Igor Novikov, head of the library expedition.

The Arctic library contains classic and contemporary books and reference manuals. It hopes to expand its collection through cooperation between mainland libraries and the border guards.