The Dante Alighieri Library will be evicted from its premises in Moscow, the Takie Dela news website reported Friday.
The building will be given to Russia's Investigative Committee, said library's employee Natalya Kosolapova. “Starting from today, we are not allowed to work with people. Our computers have been turned off; it all looks like a seizure,” Kosolapova said.
The decision to move the library should from its premises on Ulitsa Stroiteley in southwest of Moscow was taken by the Moscow Department of Culture. According to a department representative, the library will be offered premises in the same area.
For now, the library's collection is being moved to other libraries.
“Part of our collection is being transferred to the library № 22, but the room is so small that our entire collection, nor our equipment and furniture will fit there,” library director Lyudmila Indyk told the TASS news agency.
She also said that 10 out of the 17 staff members are to be fired. “They mainly sack those who are over 60, but some young librarians will go too,” Indyk said.
According to the Village news website, the library and their readers have sent requests to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin, and the Italian Embassy asking them not to evict the library.
The Dante Alighieri Library has worked in Moscow since 1955. Its collection includes 220,000 books, including 20,000 editions in foreign languages.