Friday, June 1, 2012

Russia Days 3 and 4

I hope you will forgive me for putting 2 days into one post. Actually, I don't care if you forgive me. I'm doing it anyway. So on Wednesday we went to visit the library school at St. Petersburg State University of Cultural arts, which I shall call the library school, and on Thursday we went to the Hermitage museum and library. Both were great experiences.

Day 3
First, the library school visit. I'd like to start by saying the school is an a palace. So cool. The classrooms were so fancy! 
My class prepared a presentation about trends in U.S. libraries to give to the Russian students. My part was on the use of social media and I was fabulous. Well...maybe not fabulous. Maybe I was just really good. Anyway, after our presentations they showed us a video on their department and we asked questions about their program, job prospects, and librarianship in Russia. Then we took a tour and saw more pretty classrooms and spoke to people in different departments. 
Just another classroom at the library school.

What we learned will probably only be interesting to a librarian, so I'll just make a list  of some fun facts. 
-In soviet times, after graduating people were placed in libraries. They could not refuse
-Today, students tend to flock to certain types of libraries, so placement may go back into effect. They will have the right to refuse.
-Specialization does not require a second degree
-Twilight is one of the most popular books among young girls

After getting back from the library school, most people went to the ballet. However, I didn't get a ticket because they were on the super expensive side, so I went out with the other people in my group who didn't get tickets. First we went to a mile-long mall. Needless to say, it was huge. In addition to being a mile long, it has 2 floors. We walked around the whole thing. They had everything from umbrellas to cameras to cleaning supplies to telescopes. 

After, we went back to the fancy market for some treats. Everything looked so good, it was hard to decide what to get! 

My final decision. It was delicious.
I ended up getting a fabulous raspberry cookie/cream thing that has a very common name that I can't remember at the moment. When I remember I will feel silly because it's so obvious. Yeah. But I'll definitely go back to get more goodies, and pick up a few things to bring back.

Fish and Chips 
This 0.5 liter beer cost the same as
these 6 pieces of chocolate. 
Ringo and George
By the time we were done in the market, we were VERY hungry. A pub called The Liverpool was recommended to us, so we went. The pub is Beatles themed. There was a live band playing Beatles music, there was Beatles paraphernalia all over, and it even looked a little like the Cavern Club. I ordered fish and chips and a beer. It was a fun night. 

Day 4

The Hermitage library and museum were so amazingly beautiful! We got to meet the librarian, who showed off a few gems in the collection. We were not allowed to take any pictures of them, though. We saw books that were owned by Catherine the Great, Nicholas I and Alexander I. I learned that in the 18th century, books were sold without binding. The books for royalty were bound special for them, and had their initials on the cover. They were fancy. 
The reading room where we spoke to the librarian.
The library collection is on 5 floors with 1 million items!
After talking to the librarian, we were given a tour of the museum. I was amazing. Not only did it house thousands of pieces of art by famous artists, the building itself was art. Each room was unique from floor to ceiling. I was amazed by the size of everything. The building seemed like it went on forever! And the collections did not only include pieces important to Russia and its history, but pieces from around the world. There were paintings by Da Vinci, Van Gogh (my favorite) Monet, Matisse and more. And then there were the sculptures and metal work and mosaics, oh my! While trying to find our way out, we saw works from Egypt, and a stone slab with tax information from Greece.
I did not take too many pictures, but I did buy postcards of the pieces and rooms I liked. 
It was such an amazing and beautiful experience. 

One of the first rooms we saw.
It took my breath away.
Just the floor. Nothing special.

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