On August 8, In Jerusalem reported that Jerusalem's Russian Library had been saved from indefinite closure during its relocation process. Last week, the municipality informed the library that after inspections by building engineers, it was deemed that the floor of the library's proposed new space at the Clal Center would not support the weight of the collection, and that as of now, there was no space to which the library could relocate. The affair began with the sale of the library's current location and the need to move out its more than 100,000 books by the end of September. After the concerted effort of various cultural and political activists, including Lydia Belotskaya of mayoral candidate and opposition leader Nir Barkat's faction, the Coalition for the Survival of the Russian Library under Shatil's consultation and Israel Beiteinu MK David Rotem, as well as attention in the Russian, Hebrew, and English press, the affair ostensibly ended when new and acceptable premises were found. Once the Municipal Finance Department approved the space, most groups involved in the struggle celebrated the success of their campaign, a major demonstration was called off at Kikar Safra and thank-you letters were sent to everyone who contributed to the fight. Now the situation is back at the beginning. Though the owners of the building where the library currently resides extended their lease by two months, over a month was lost before the issue of the floor's strength was discovered and communicated. So once again the clock is ticking as the library is in danger of having to vacate its current premises without having a proper space to which it can relocate. The library is now considering alternative funding options, including upcoming talks with the US-based Posen Foundation. And though the Coalition for the Survival of the Russian Library was dissolved after last month's "victory," a related but separate volunteer organization has been formed called the Forum of Russian-speaking Cultural Organizations, which is again gathering strength for the second round of the battle to save the library. Municipal spokesperson Gidi Schmerling released the following statement: "Unfortunately, a contract [to lease space in the Clal Center] was not signed. Close to the time of the signing, an engineer [who checked the premises] said that it was not possible to set up a library in the space, unless the number of shelves and amount of storage were reduced and significant funds invested to reinforce the floors. "In accordance with this professional opinion, the municipality is looking for a new relocation spot."

Relevant to your professional network? Please share on Linkedin

Think others should know about this? Please share