MainNewsTo the 100th anniversary of the National Library of Belarus
Webinar on identifying subjects and roles when developing bibliographic records
We are transmitting BiblioImpulse to city residents and visitors alike!

Creation and growth of the V.I. Lenin state library: intriguing data and figures from 1946 to 1949 (in the database "National Library of Belarus in the Press")

Creation and growth of the V.I. Lenin state library: intriguing data and figures from 1946 to 1949 (in the database "National Library of Belarus in the Press")
Other news

We learn from the next article on the pages of the periodical database "NLB in the press" how the Lenin state library lived in the post–war years.

Construction of the new capital of the republic began immediately after Minsk had been liberated. For the first time, workers and residents of the city came out en masse for restoration work in the fall of 1944. From the newspaper "Zviazda" dated June 3, 1947, we would learn that the staff of the V.I. Lenin state library, together with the staff of other institutions, had worked on the central square of the city.

1.Zviazda_3_cherv_1947_ s.1.jpg

The library itself was being revived, and very soon it looked like it used to – a beautiful building with a semicircular ledge, columns at the entrance, wide windows that let in a sea of light.


Restored building of the V.I. Lenin state library, August 1948

In order to process and get ready for using the returned volumes and to reestablish the State library as a Bibliographic institute of the BSSR, the State library engaged in activities throughout the year 1946.

Joseph Simanovsky, head of the Lenin’s state library of the BSSR, said in "Zviazda" for January 1, 1946 that the library was being revived again then and it had to complete the restoration of its book stock in 1946.

The author of the article "Named after Lenin" said that it was possible to find some of the books taken by the Germans from Minsk, wrote about the replenishment of the Belarusian department with valuable publications, drew attention to the opening of a home subscription and the department of technical and special books, and also stressed that soon the library will resume publishing a bibliographic reference book, which will in Belarus.

One by one, the library's reading rooms were opened:

3.Zviazda_1946_28 kras._s3.jpg
Scientific workers' reading room. "Zviazda”, 1946, April 28, p. 4


In the V.I. Lenin reading room library,  photo by Y. Bosin

The scientific reading room organized an exhibition of new products, which was updated every day, and scientists from the regional cities of the BSSR could use the books of the State library through an interlibrary subscription. “ At the request of the Grodno Regional Library, 30 scientific books on history, philosophy, literature, mathematics had been sent in September,” it was said in “Zviazda”, 5 October 1946.

Already in 1947, interlibrary loan assisted in receiving any literature from other Soviet libraries, established contact with regional and numerous district centres, and sent books on sociopolitical, socioeconomical, scientific, and technical topics at the request of local libraries. It also greatly benefited part-time students. "In April and May, 2,373 people had been served with interlibrary loan,” reported "Sovetskaya Belorussia on October 21, 1947.

R. Kazunov, deputy director spoke about the activities of the State library during this period:

“Sovetskaia Belorussia”, 1947, October 21, p. 2

In the second half of the 1940s, the library paid great attention to popularizing the work of classics of Belarusian literature. An exhibition of Yanka Kupala's works was held to commemorate his passing on the fifth anniversary, and the book "Shliakham zhytsia", which was published in St. Petersburg in 1913 with the author's personal notes and proofreading, sparked particular interest.  (“Zviazda”, 1947, June 28, p. 3) Nina Vatatsi, whose life and activities were connected with the National library of Belarus for half a century, spoke about the translations of Yanka Kupala's works into various languages of the peoples of the USSR, as well as about their distribution in the periodical press.


"Zviazda", 1947, June 28, p. 3

Nina Vatatsi on the pages of the newspaper "Sovetskaia Belorussia" of August 25, 1946 raised acute questions about insufficient publication and research works, poor-quality design of books: "The State publishing house of Belarus, although it has done a lot in the past two years since the liberation of the republic from the Nazi invaders, still lags behind from requests, from urgent tasks of today. Our readers expect the State publishing house to speed up the publication of good books in all branches of knowledge in every possible way..."

At this time, the magazine "Belarus" publishes one after another her articles about interesting facts from the biographies of Russian classics that connect them with Belarus: "Grybaedaw in Belarus", "A.S. Pushkin in Magiliov", "Lazhechnikaw in Vitebsk".


The book stock were gradually replenished. Our library was greatly assisted by Moscow libraries, primarily the All – Union Lenin’s Library. "A limited edition book of the famous Belarusian ethnographer E. Romanov "Mogiliovskaia starina" had been purchased,” reported "Sovetskaya Belorussia” on July 23, 1947. This book in three issues can still be found in the collections of the National library of Belarus.

In 1948, the library began receiving a mandatory copy of all publications printed in Braille. This made it possible to serve visually impaired readers on a regular basis not only in Minsk, but also in all parts of Belarus through an interlibrary loan.

In the "Soviet Belarus" of May 21, 1948, it was reported that the library had acquired a microfilm reader, which gave it the ability to read the smallest text.

The State Library hosted exhibitions dedicated to the Press Day, the International Holiday of Workers on May 1, Victory Day, the Second Congress of Writers of the BSSR; anniversaries of the liberation of Belarus from the Nazi invaders; the Great October Socialist Revolution, the Lenin Communist Youth Union of Belarus.

The exhibition "Science and literature of the BSSR within the period of thirty years" was popular among visitors, where the greatest interest was aroused by stands showing the activities of many institutes of the Academy of sciences of the BSSR, fruit and vegetable breeding stations and many higher educational institutions.

"Zviazda", 1949, January 15, p. 2

The exhibition dedicated to the 150th anniversary of A. S. Pushkin's birth had a great success among Minsk residents. This exhibition featured rare editions of Pushkin's works, printed during his lifetime: "Messenger of Europe” for 1814; literary almanac "Northern Flowers"; newspaper "Severnaia pchela"; magazines "Syn otechestva" for 1815 and 1821; a copy of the "Moscow Almanac" (1825); "Sovremennik" for 1836 and 1837, on the title page of which we read: "Literary magazine, published by Alexander Pushkin", on the cover of the magazine for 1837 it is printed: "Published after the death of Pushkin in favor of his family"; handwritten poem "Brothers-Robbers" by A. S. Pushkin in the first half of the 19th century, which was passed from reader to reader.

“Sovremennik”, 1836, vol. 2

10-Severnaya pchela.jpg

"Severnaia pchela", 1836, June 6, p. 2

Visitors to the National library of Belarus can still use these rare publications to study the Russian poet's work more thoroughly.

The State library has prepared a bibliography of translations of A. S. Pushkin's works into Belarusian. His poems and epigrams were translated by the best Belarusian poets and writers: Yanka Kupala, Yakub Kolas, Arkady Kuleshov, Piotr Glebka, Kuzma Chorny, Kondrat Krapiva

“Sovetskaia Belorussia”, 1949, May 7, p. 3

More detailed information on this topic can be found in the database "National Library of Belarus in the Press". In addition, by subscribing to the newsletter of articles of the mentioned resource, you will receive all the news about our library.

The article was prepared by Tatyana Poprotskaia, the head of the Department’s information and analytical section.