Children's Library in the USSR

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Children’s Library in the USSR


an institution that works outside the regular educational system to provide a communist education to children and teen-agers, to help pupils assimilate the fundamentals of science, and to provide instruction in the art of reading. Readers in a children’s library are usually pupils of the first through eighth grades (seven to 14 years), preschool children who know how to read, and directors of children’s reading programs. The books of children’s libraries, which reflect the age characteristics of the readers, include sociopolitical literature, popular science literature, fiction, reference books, children’s magazines and newspapers, phonograph records, films and slides, and scientific methodological literature and bibliographies for directors of children’s reading programs.

Children’s libraries serve the individual needs of their readers; they make a special effort to work individually with each reader. They use various forms and methods in their work, including exhibits, discussions, open shelves, discussion of books, literary gatherings in the morning and evening, meetings with writers, readers’ conferences, literary games, and circles of reviewers and book lovers.

Children’s libraries first appeared in Russia in the second half of the 19th century, with funds provided by pedagogical and cultural-educational societies and private individuals. Among such libraries were the library for the children of sailors in Kronstadt, the Berednikova library in Moscow, and children’s libraries in St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Perm’, Kishinev, and Odessa.

After the victory of the October Revolution, independent children’s libraries based on socialist principles began to appear everywhere in the country. N. K. Krupskaia was one of the first to organize children’s libraries. She worked out principles for providing library services to children, for selecting books, and establishing links between children’s libraries and school libraries. During the years of Soviet power the network of children’s libraries has grown uninterruptedly. On Jan. 1, 1971, there were 6,498 children’s libraries in the Soviet Union. Moreover, children may use school libraries and children’s sections of adult people’s libraries, which receive methodological help from the children’s libraries. Republic and oblast children’s libraries issue bibliographies of recommended books for children and directors of children’s reading programs and methodological literature; they also conduct information, reference, and bibliographical work. The V. I. Lenin State Library of the USSR is the all-Union center of methodological assistance for children’s libraries.


N. K. Krupskaia o bibliotechnom dele. Moscow, 1957.
Detskaia biblioteka: prakticheskoe posobie. Compiled and edited by N. B. Medvedeva and I. I. Lavrinovich. Moscow, 1967.
Zhitomirova, N., V. Voronets, and N. Serova. Rukovodstvo chteniem detei v biblioteke, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1964.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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