As someone who has served on the altar of St. Vartan Cathedral as a sub-deacon for the past five years, I had heard of the Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center (located in the Armenian Diocese, adjacent to the cathedral) and always considered it to be a library of Armenian books. When I started working here this past summer, however, I quickly realized how much more there was to this center and the importance of this amazing place.
The diverse collection of books here, which number over 20,000, are of the utmost importance. Some of the resources here include books on Armenian history, literature, religion, poetry and music. There are also books published in various languages, including French, Arabic, Russian and Turkish and books published in Armenian during the Soviet era. In addition, the center is home to many periodicals, magazines and journals that date back to the 19th century. To my amazement, the oldest book I have found and catalogued was from 1860 and I am sure that there are even older books available as well.
This small – but culturally rich – library has opened my eyes to a whole new world of knowledge and history. One can easily come here to conduct research for papers, books, or just to find out about Armenian history.
If there is one thing that I have gained from this internship, it is learning the importance and value of these books. They contain a great deal of knowledge and prove the richness of our ancient-rooted history and culture. Everyone and anyone interested in historical or current-day Armenia should come to the Zohrab center to experience, through these very books, who they are and where they come from.
Armen Bandikian is currently a junior at Stony Brook University and is studying Information Systems.