a library whose principal holdings consist of books and periodicals devoted to the theatrical arts.
In addition to the theatrical holdings in general libraries, the USSR has several important theatrical libraries. One of these is the State Central Theatrical Library in Moscow. Another prominent library is the Central Scientific Library of the All-Russian Theatrical Society in Moscow, which was formed from the library of the Information and Statistics Bureau of the Russian Theatrical Society (founded 1896). A public library since 1916, it has 250,000 books and periodicals. The library has 71 branches located in various cities of the RSFSR. The library of the A. A. Bakhrushin Central Theatrical Museum in Moscow, which has operated under the auspices of the museum since the museum’s founding in 1894, has more than 60,000 specialized books.
The A. V. Lunacharskii Leningrad State Theatrical Library was founded in 1756, simultaneously with the first Russian permanent professional theater, as the library of the court theater. In 1889 it became the Central Library of the Imperial Theaters, and in 1917, the Central Library of Russian Drama. It has borne its present name since 1934. Its holdings include 430,000 manuscripts, books, journals, drawings, sketches, prints, and engravings. Libraries attached to theatrical educational institutions and theatrical museums also have considerable holdings devoted to the theater.
Outside the USSR, specialized collections are maintained at large public libraries, for example, the New York Public Library, and major theaters, for example, the Comedie Frangaise in Paris and La Scala in Milan.