Culture Supplement

Book for the house of books

Reading the book "Notes of the librarian" by Fadil Kroma, it becomes clear that it was precisely the book that showed, not in the form of metaphor, but in reality, the position of Albanians in Ulcinj and in general in Montenegro. Such a fact is proven by the fact that the book in the Albanian language for the first time became part of the inventory of the Ulcinj Library in 1969, thanks to the direct commitment of Fadil Kroma, bringing them from the "Renaissance" of Pristina

The publication of different books, depending on the topics they deal with, represents a special moment for the author and the relevant environment. But when the author wrote it when he was retired, there is no doubt that that publication takes on emotional value in the general public. And it cannot be otherwise, because Fadil Kroma - who died on February 11 of this year at the age of 83 - after retirement did not remain static, but collected material and systematized it in the form of memories for the time of his professional commitment as the number one person of the popular library in Ulcinj.

Therefore, thanks to his passion, professional approach and permanent commitment, he presents his book to the public "Librarian's Notes". The book in question, published in 2015, is added to the range of different publications by Albanian authors dealing with issues that have been preoccupying, but in new circumstances without censorship and prejudice.

Witnesses of social circumstances

The book in question deals with the 130-year period of the book and the library in Ulcinj. The author has used a selective literature which is mainly related to the library in this city, offering us interesting data about the personal libraries of the personalities of the time in Ulcinj. This is also the period until the Second World War. Then, this issue is treated with more complete data from 1945, from which it is clear that we are dealing with a dynamic but also intriguing period for our time. In a special way, the author deals with his time when he ran the library until he retired (1967-2003), in full detail, because he was an eyewitness of the social circumstances of the time.

The book - indicator of the position of Albanians

Reading this book, it becomes clear that it was precisely the book that showed, not in the form of metaphor, but in reality, the position of Albanians in Ulcinj and in general in Montenegro. Such a fact is proven by the finding that the book in the Albanian language for the first time became part of the library's inventory in 1969, thanks to the direct commitment of Fadil Kroma, bringing them from the "Renaissance" of Pristina.

From that time until 1981, it was the time of consolidation of the library with books in both languages, Serbian and Albanian, being the only one of its kind in Montenegro. While after the events of March 1981 in Kosovo, the government of the time was engaged in the anti-Albanian campaign, where the book was no exception.

Isolation of books in Albanian

After imprisoning some teachers with organized political processes and removing them from the teaching process, no less than 3250 books were isolated from the Ulcinj Library. And such an approach continued until 1991, when they were returned to the readers, after the collapse of the monist system. This is a transparent evidence that the government of the time prevented books in Albanian, regardless of where they were published, from which it is clear that Albanianophobia was on the rise, where the consequences for different individuals were not missing.

Aimed at power

The author of the book in this time period was the target of special power structures, because he was professionally engaged in enriching the library, organizing various cultural and artistic activities, making the library a center of culture for all its lovers. In this aspect, he challenged the circumstances of the time, being principled that he is doing everything for the benefit of the citizens of Ulcinj.

The book offers interesting information about the history of the library, about the object, the employees, the activities developed, etc., being a miniature archival record. I am not even wrong if I say that some data present miniature files that can be expanded and enriched in another eventual publication, and can even be an inspiration for various journalistic researches.

Critical and professional treatment

The author deals with relevant issues without subjectivity, not being a conformist, but critical and principled as befits a person with a professional image.

In the last part, the author presents photocopied some valuable materials in the form of an album, factually enriching his personal activity, but also that of the library in particular and the Cultural Center in general.

Thanks to the content and treatment of the subject, the book "Librarian's Notes" proves the author's serious approach to the book in particular and the library of the city of Ulcinj in general.

We wish and hope that with the second edition of this book, some technical and linguistic errors will be eliminated, but it will definitely be supplemented with other data that are necessary to be published for the general public.

Therefore, as such, this publication without a doubt arouses interest from the general public, because we are dealing with a topic which for the first time is treated in a special publication in the Albanian language, not only in Ulcinj, but also beyond.

This article is published on the occasion of the death of Fadil Kroma (1941-2024), the former director of the Ulcinj Library (1967-2003).