Village Reading Room

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Village Reading Room


(Russian, izba-chital’nia), one of the types of village (rural) clubs in the USSR. This institution arose in the first years of Soviet power.

Mobile village reading rooms were organized in several national republics, okrugs, krais, and oblasts. Examples were the Red chaikhany (tea-drinking establishments in Middle Asia), the Red chumy (tents of skin or bark), and the Red yurt. The direction and content of the work of the village reading rooms were defined by a circular of the All-Union Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR of Sept. 18, 1924, and by “Village Reading Rooms,” a resolution of the Central Committee of the ACP (Bolshevik) of Nov. 11, 1929. In the 1920’s and 1930’s the village reading rooms were a center for political propaganda and cultural-educational work in the countryside. They played an important role in the elimination of illiteracy among the peasantry and in the acquisition by the peasants of culture and agricultural knowledge. They assisted Soviet and party organizations in carrying out the collectivization of agriculture. With the growth of village clubs and houses of culture, the number of village reading rooms has been decreasing. There were over 40,000 village reading rooms in the USSR in 1948; by 1970 their number had fallen to 5,700, but there were 79,300 village clubs and houses of culture and 16,500 kolkhoz clubs.

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