Republican Museum of books is the only museum of books in Central Asia, and similar museums were in Moscow and Kiev during Soviet Union period. Opening of the Book Museum was held on 20 October 1978. Poet Abdilda Tazhibaev, chairman of the Committee for Press and Printing Sheriyazdan Eleukenov and other prominent cultural figures attended on opening ceremony. Many Kazakh scientists, writers, poets, publishers contributed to replenish funds of the museum by giving their personal books with autographs to the museum.
The first director was Gilmanov Kuat, Kurmashevich, who had led the museum until 1989. Initially, the book museum worked under the State Committee of the publishers of the Kazakh SSR and became the main fund of the library of Publishing House.
The Book Museum is located in the two-story building, which was built in 1936. It is remarkable monument of Soviet architecture in the middle of the XX century.
From the first day after opening, the staff of the museum conducted systematic work on searching and updating the collection. As a result of the work, the museum has over 60,000 exhibits, including 5,000 manuscripts and early printed books in different ages and nations, and also rare editions of the early XX century and other exhibits.
The museum has six halls, and exposition is located on them according to relevant thematic: the first hall is dedicated to the worldwide literature, Old Turkic alphabet; the second hall covers the period from the XI century till the Abay period; in the third hall contains books that published before the revolution; the fourth hall presents exhibitions that dedicated to the victory of the Great Patriotic War; the fifth hall organizes an exhibition of books devoted to the Independence of Kazakhstan; the sixth hall shows how to formalize modern books and design of artists.
Stands and showcases of all halls present over one thousand different expositions: books, brochures, albums, manuscripts, documents, photographs, etc. Museum exhibition presents the history of ancient Turkic writing, manuscripts, the origin and development of the Kazakh publishing.
Entrance hall of the museum introduces to visitors the history of printing in Central Asia and Kazakhstan, and the report focuses on ways of printing. The exhibition includes xylographic form and printed form on a lithographic stone.
One of the first Turkic books is "NPK Bitig", a facsimile work, which was presented in the exhibition. The original is preserved in the collection of the Stein British Museum. The book "NPK bitig" was founded in the X century. It is one of the earliest runic manuscripts on paper, which consists of 65 small parables.
Here visitors can see the famous work of Al-Farabi "Tract about ideas of inhabitants of the city", which was published by "Nile" publishing house in Egypt, 1917. Next is the book in the Turkic language of the known Arab scholar, geographer, traveler Ibn Batut - "Journey of Ibn-Batut in Deshti-i-Kypshak", which was printed by "Bakhit" publisher house in Orenburg, 1917.
A special place is given to cities of the Southern Kazakhstan in the map, as soon as the flowering of culture and spiritual interchange began here in the Middle Ages. Here is a valuable manuscript of the middle of the XVIII century, which has religious content in Persian. Parchment paper is served as material for it.
It is known, books often had scroll-shaped form, and one of the valuable exhibits is original handwritten scroll of the XVIII - early XIX centuries. Nearby are illustrations of the eastern books, which were written at that period.
The exposition of the museum has a copy of the Talas monument, which presents a gravestone with runic inscriptions. The stone was opened by V.Kallaur in 1898 "on the Airtam-oi tract, Aulieatinsky County" (the Talas River). Malov translated the inscription on the stone: "His name - Chur. From you, thirty oglans, from benefits and blessings (of the world) he separated (dead). For you, reliable husband, Oglan- Chur, inheriting remained. His wife stayed widow".
This is not a complete list of the rarest expositions of the collection of the Republican Museum of books. The exposition of the museum is unique, and bookworms must get acquainted with it and those, who are interested in national and world history.