We live in a world which multiplies and grows in number, but not in beauty and a gift of life. It is more and more like a frenzied train, full of blind people and stowaways, heading for the abyss. In the ashes of the world of gnawing desolation, the only meaning, in fact, is the memory of the meaning. It seems that a modern man forgot about the presence of the youngest Karamazov, who hunts every word of ours, and checks whether the flame of faith is still burning in us. Therefore, today, more than ever, so truthful are the words saying that all the glories of the world would have disappeared, if God had not given to the mortals a remedy in the form of books. The Ancient Library of Alexandria has faced us with the ambition of being omniscients, medieval ”knjigohranilišta” (places where books are preserved) have faced us with the fact that they are syntheses of knowledge and faith since they were created within temples, while highly-sophisticated information and communication technologies of the contemporary world have faced us with the ambition of being omnipresent. The first one regarded itself as the center of a circle bordering the known world, the second ones testified completely, and not partially, and the third turned out to be a circle whose center is everywhere, and the perimeter does not exist. Whether libraries are made of wood or paper, or they emerge from the spooky flickering screens, they testify of our faith in a timeless, far-reaching order that wevaguely anticipate or perceive.
Books make a man immortal. They are the best thing in the world that creaks and threatens to collapse. Thanks to them, every reader can invent his/her own past, find the bases in the present, and imagine the future. What is the past if not a shelf of books available to everyone? What is the present if not the scroll of Scripture making an arch above our heads? What is the future, if not an uncertain voyage to the world of virtual images, from which even more joyfully and more willingly we return to our homes. As has already been said ‒ libraries are not just collections of books, but also ancestral symbols, from which books appear as the souls of writers. Libraries collect the scattered, bring closer the separated, and invisible turn to visible; they are keys to the world and, accordingly, keys to our Serbian and European house. It is not only consoling, but also true, and if you want, beneficial. They reveal the secrets of everything that exists, that existed and that will exist ‒ on earth, in the water, and in the heavens. The philosophy of a library is proved as a victory over death ‒ when dead people and past times come back to life. The exchange of books between individuals and nations is a kind of exchange of emotions. There is no world without a book and there is no book without the world. Both the scroll of Scripture (that is, the book) and the scroll of Creation (that is, the world) are the God’s creations, and through time, through history, our memories and thoughts continually entwine and intersect ‒ where threads of eternity entangle and disentangle. And not only that ‒ one of the greatest poets, philosophers and librarians of the 20th century, who, since his boyhood days in his father's library, replaced the visible world with the world of culture, and in whose works, symbols as human creations are bright as much as human beings, writes that a man throughout his life, reads a single, unique, indefeasible and eternal book, and that this unique, indefeasible and eternal book is, in fact, the world itself. And, as the books in libraries need to be catalogued, he says, so the world needs to be catalogued ‒ in order to be returned to the Lord in perfect form.
How and how much we read reveal what kind of people we are. As we grow with our readings, we recognize the way we read. True reading is the new life of the words, the revival of the terminated breath of the syntax, the identification with the others. It makes a work become what it really is, separating it completely from the writer. Being on the both sides of understanding, it is a free movement, the true Yes that evolves in the immediate present. With the help of a book, we grow in the field of illusionism and believe that the whole world is our heritage and the place of our origin, and that we can, moving up the ladders of Scripture, like the Lord, reach the Grand Times.
Welcome to the world of the Matica Srpska Library!
Selimir Radulović ‒ Matica Srpska Library Director