FORMATION OF THE LIBRARY NETWORK OF VLADIMIR GUBERNIA IN THE FIRST DECADES OF THE SOVIET RULE (1920–1930S)
Authors: M. Yu. Sdobnikova
Number of views: 237
The process of organizing libraries in Vladimir gubernia was held within the framework of the nationwide process and was typical of the provinces of Central Russia: in the province there were established basic types of county libraries that existed at that time: public county libraries, people’s county libraries, reading rooms and school libraries. They provided library services to various strata of the province population and became the centers for the spread of culture and knowledge. On the threshold of October revolution in 1917, Vladimir library system comprised 10 urban and 226 rural libraries.
After October 1917, Vladimir public libraries became state ones, private and church libraries were closed, people and public libraries were called into requisition. The pre-revolutionary province library system was in the nature of the things bound to undergo substantial transformation.
With the aim of regulating library system development, the Government of the RSFSR set a task to centralize library system and organize a unified library system. After the adoption of the Decree “On the centralization of library services
in the RSFSR” (1920) new libraries were organized and existing library system regulation began in Vladimir gubernia.
The following main types of libraries were established: 1) urban, central and district, 2) volost, and 3) mobile ones. During the first two post-revolutionary years, the Vladimir library system doubled and comprised 677 (in 1919) libraries, according to some sources, and 498 public libraries, according to other ones.
In two years, the works on establishing the library system were suspended due to the country’s transition to new economic policies and the lack of budgetary funds. Therefore, by the end of 1923, the number of urban and rural libraries, a subject to the general jurisdiction of Gubpolitprosvet, decreased by more than 2 times, three years later, only 240 libraries and village reading rooms from 498, that existed in 1920, were functioning. Most of the focus in those years was on the organization of the Central Provincial Library in the city of Vladimir, as the major methodological center and main book depository of the gubernia.
Under the conditions of further library system expansion underfunding, movable library stocks became the main form of rendering library services to the population of the gubernia. Movable library stocks extended the capabilities of public libraries to attract new readers and advance books into the masses of workers and peasants. Since the period from 1923 till 1924, accelerated development of a mobile library system and formation of movable library stocks at the central
provincial, county and large volost libraries took place. If in 1921–1922, urban and rural libraries had only 42 mobile library
stocks, then in 1927–1928, there were already 1058 ones. On the average, there was one mobile library per 4 settlements
in the gubernia.
Due to the activating of mobile library services in Vladimir gubernia, the book population ratio increased: by
1927, the urban and rural book population ratio was 0.3 and 0.9 books per capita respectively, whereas during the prerevolutionary
period it was 0.07 books per capita.
The basic line of library services development in 1930 became the proliferation of public libraries with the library
system extension in line with the economic and political objectives set up by the Party. Library system extension was
caused by organization of libraries in rural areas: at collective and state farms, at machine and tractor stations (MTS).
Support libraries at the MTS became to be considered as a part of public library system.
Thus, within the period from 1920 till 1930, there was given grounding in the fundamentally new library services
system in Vladimir region. Public libraries system established in the region was built in accordance with the administrativeterritorial
division of the gubernia and comprised the central province library, district libraries, central district libraries,
volost libraries and village reading rooms. Its main distinctive feature was the desire to bring library books closer to the
residents of towns and villages by way of organizing movable library stocks. Libraries’ activities in Vladimir gubernia
during that period were aimed at attracting workers to building the new socialist society.
Keywords: central province library, volost library (rural municipality library), county central library, library reading
rooms, travelling library, bookstock for library service, movable library stock service.