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Books restoration after Moscow science library fire may take 150 years — official

February 18, 2015, 20:50 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The Institute for Information on Social Sciences library founded in 1918 lost more than 2.3 million books, or 15% of its collection, in a fire that raged for 25 hours
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© TASS/EPA/ROLAND SCHLAGER

MOSCOW, February 18. /TASS/. The restoration of books damaged by fire at the Moscow-based Institute for Information on Social Sciences could require up to 150 years, the head of the Federal Agency of Scientific Organizations said on Wednesday.

"If we use the current technologies, it will take us 154 years", Mikhail Kotyukov said.

Fire engulfing the unique library in southwest Moscow on January 30 raged for 25 hours. Vladimir Fortov, president of the Russian Academy of Sciences, described the fire as "a cultural Chernobyl", referring to the 1986 nuclear power plant catastrophe in Ukraine.

The library founded in 1918 lost more than 2.3 million books, or 15% of its collection.

The library’s depository had 10 million items, including some rare publications dating back to the 16th century alongside collections of documents of the United Nations, the League of Nations, US Congress reports beginning with 1789 and the British parliament from 1803. It also housed more than 450,000 monographs.

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