The building of the Central Library of Dilijan after Aghayan was damaged afterthe 1988 Spitak earthquake and was temporarily harbored at Dilijan’s former Culture House, a building wrecked itself.
A few years ago, the local administration decided to provide the 5-storied building of the former library to the Central Bank of Armenia for 6 years for free. The latter renovated the building and after “using” it for a couple of years handed it over to TUMO Center for Technologies.
While the contract signed between Dilijan’s municipality and the Central Bank obliges the Bank to provide one of the building’s floors (after renovation) to the community library, this obligation has been completely neglected both by the Central Bank and the “Simonyan Educational Foundation” (the foundation operating TUMO center for technologies) that has replaced it. Instead, the second floor of the renovated building houses a new, mainly English-language library.
As a result, the community library is left in the temporary semi-ruins of the Culture House, a building lacking even a proper roof. Despite the fact that there is no single renovated washroom, most of the ceilings are leaking, Aida Aproyan, the director of the Library has no complaints, she believes that in the near future the leaking ceilings and ruined wooden floor will be renovated by the Municipality.
For decades, the community books, a total of more than 105.000 units were kept in sacks in the storage of a former soviet store, now a privatized storage belonging to former MP Hakob Hakobyan (nicknamed Kilikia Hakob). Little by little the sacks were taken to the Culture House, which until recently was completely useless for storing anything, more to speak, for books. The rain and melting snow leaked on the book shelves, which the library workers would cover with plastic from fall to spring to save from complete ruining. Now, the library staff believe that some of their problems are resolved. “The conditions are not yet perfect, but at least we don’t have to cover the shelves with plastic sheets,” say the library staff. The director is humorously asking us not to video record the walls in mold and cracks, the floor with a crack. “A lot has changed, they will soon renovate this too, it’s not needed to show this situation.”
Very recently, TUMO started reconstruction on the roof of the library’s former building. The building is documented as a historical building of local cultural importance, however the “Simonyan Educational Foundation” seems to have been able to obtain permits to change the architectural design of the building and add a new floor. The construction work was ongoing while we were preparing this material.
The rumors in Dilijan suggest that the added floor will be used by TUMO as a guesthouse, residence or a hotel.