On May 15, 2013 the National Library of the Udmurt Republic celebrated its 95th anniversary. The history of the library has always been closely linked to the history of Izhevsk, Udmurtia and Russia. The Library went through all major historical events that happened in the last century.
CENTRAL LIBRARY OF THE CITY AND OBLAST. By early XX century Izhevsk didn't yet gained its city status, though being an important military and industrial center of the country. The village of Izhevsky Zavod exceeded in population the provincial center Vyatka – the number of its residents totaled 42 thousand people. As soon as Izhevsk acquired the status of a city (January 1918), the City Council Education Committee initiated the establishment of the Central Library for the local community. On 24 February 1918 the Library Board was elected and entrusted to found the library.
The first head of the Library was Mikhail Fedorovich Schitov (1889–1934), future director of large industrial enterprises. The bulk of the library collection was formed through 20 thousand books and periodicals from the largest libraries of Izhevsk: athenaeums for workers of Izhevsk Steel-making and Armory factories, Nagornaya and Zarechnaya libraries, the Library of Officer Assembly, nationalized personal libraries.
The opening of the new library took place on May 15, 1918. The first months of its existence fell on the period of the Civil War. During the military actions the Library suffered a great damage – Divisions of Reference Literature and Fiction were almost completely destroyed. After the final establishment of the Soviet rule, the Library was supplemented with books and reopened on 1 July 1919.
In November 1920 Votskaya Autonomous Oblast was formed and the Library received the status of a regional library, still serving the functions of a central city library. The collection totaled 25 thousand books and periodicals, the number of readers – about 3 thousand, with over 120 people attending the library each day. In November 1923 the Library Association started to work in Izhevsk with the mission to improve library workflows and services in the region. In 1923–1928 the Association was run by Sergey Alekseevich Patsiansky, head of the Central Library, participant of I All-Russian Congress of Librarians (July 1924).
THE REPUBLIC'S LIBRARY. For a long time the number of staff librarians (including the head) didn't exceed 6–8 people. The first librarians had no special education and work experience. Because of the massive amount of work, it was common to invite readers to volunteer for the library. In 1934, with the reorganization of the Udmurt Autonomous Oblast into the Udmurtskaya ASSR, the Library received the status of a Republic's library. The staff almost doubled in size, numbering at the beginning of the Great Patriotic War 14 librarians. The library was also charged with the functions of a methodological centre for libraries of the Republic. The Library hired its first bibliographer, opened a reading room and started to run a circulation desk.
During the first years of its existence the Library frequently changed its locations. It is known that in May 1920 the Library was located in the house of N. I. Berezin, former owner of the armory factory and the iron foundry. In the early 1930s the library was situated in the building at 32 Sovetskaya Street. In 1935 the Library moved to 78 Komunalnaya Street and was located there over 20 years until 1958. The building had a separate front entrance, a cloakroom, mobile stocks, a circulation desk and a reading room.
In the 1930s the library collections nearly doubled – from 27.5 thousand in 1927 to 54.8 thousand in 1940; the number of readers increased. In 1937 as part of the system of censorship in the Soviet Union, the so-called Special Storage for the banned books was arranged in the library.
THE YEARS OF THE GREAT PATRIOTIC WAR. The Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945 brought significant changes in library work performance. The library collections were redistributed to mobile libraries serving military hospitals, units and recruiting centers. With critical shortages of industrial workers throughout the war, many librarians were compelled to work at Izhevsk plants. During this period only five people remained working in the library, they were: director Zoya Aleksandrovna Dolganova (bestowed with the Medal "For Distinguished Labour"); chief librarian, later – head of the circulation department, bibliographer E. N. Zykova (bestowed with the Medal "For Valiant Labour in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945"); head of bibliographic processing V. N. Arkhipova (awarded with the letters of commendation of the Council of People's Commissars and People's Commissariat for Education); librarian, later – deputy director, methodologist N. V. Shchuklina; head of the reading room S. A. Trefilova and technical specialist F. S. Zaytseva.
POST-WAR DECADE. 1945–1957 was a period of the library rehabilitation. In the first post-war decade the Library collections nearly tripled – from 84.4 thousand in 1947 to 220 thousand items in 1957. In 1950s a professional level of library staff increased as well. In 1946 Sector of Foreign Literature was established by Ivan Dmitrievich Ivanov, graduate of the University of Warsaw (1904) and the Philosophy Faculty of Izhevsk Marxism-Leninism University (1946). Ivanov spoke English, German, French and Polish. The sector provided library services, was in charge of bibliographic processing, ran foreign language clubs for readers. In 1950 the Sector was closed down but reopened in 1961.
From 1951 to 1955 graduate of Moscow State Library University Sanchez Jose Fernandez worked at the library as a bibliographer, from 1955 to 1957 – as a head of the Department of Methodology. In 1937 he had arrived to Moscow as a refugee together with other Spanish children and was raised in a special orphanage where he stayed up to 1941. In 1944 he volunteered to join the Soviet Army and served at a special department of the Ministry of State Security.
From 1952 to 1961 the Library was headed by Appolinariya Semenovna Zhukova (bestowed with two orders of the Badge of Honour and the medal "For Valiant Labour in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945").
The growth in collections and in the number of readers in the early 1950s created an urgent need in constructing a new building for the Library. The project chosen to house the Library was similar to Stavropol Regional Library architected by A. E. Lopatto and A. G. Lysyakov and constructed in 1955. Antoshchuk V. I. and Chichkin B. S. redesigned the project so that the new building could store 500 thousand items (by that time the library collections totaled 220 thousand items). The construction at Sovetskaya Street was completed in 1957. The new building became one of the sights of the city. The library was opened to public on 17 February 1958. That date marked a new important stage in the Library's growth and development.
SCIENTIFIC LIBRARY. Two decades (from 1937 to 1957) the Library bore the name of A. S. Pushkin; from 1957 to 1989 – the name of V. I. Lenin (and is still called "Leninka" by many visitors). In 1963 the Library gained the status of a scientific library. It started to organize scientific-practical conferences, professional festivals and contests, invite specialists from Moscow, Leningrad, Povolzhye, the Urals. The Library was also authorized to register all printed publications issued on the territory of Udmurtia – the Library began to receive a free mandatory copy of every published document. It also became the Center of Scientific National Bibliography. Since 1960 the Library has been publishing State Bibliographic Index "Chronicles of Press of the Udmurt Republic" and preparing publications of retrospective and current bibliographies. In 1963 it released the first issue of "The Calendar of Significant Dates of the Udmurt Republic". Five new divisions opened at the Library: Division of Periodicals (1962), Division of Local History and National Literature (1969), Sector of State Bibliography (1978), Division for Editorial and Publishing Activities (1978), Sector of Rare Books and Special Storage – presently Division of Rare and Valuable Documents (1983). 26 January 1984 saw the first meeting of the "Udmurt Krai" Club which has recently celebrated its 30th anniversary.
From 1961 to 1976 the Library was headed by Petr Nikolaevich Glukhov (bestowed with the medal "For Valiant Labour in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945"); from 1976 to 1987 – by honored culture worker of Udmurtia and the RSFSR, holder of the order of the Badge of Honour Maria Dmitrievna Trefilova; from 1988 to 2003 – by Nailya Mizkhatovna Sobina, honored culture worker of Udmurtia and the Russian Federation (presently – Deputy Minister of Culture, Press and Information of the Udmurt Republic). Since 2004 the Director of the National Library of the Udmurt Republic is Galina Gavrilovna Kalinina.
THE FIRST IN RUSSIA NATIONAL LIBRARY. In 1989 the Library gained the status "national" and thus significantly broadened its missions. The Library embarked on collection and preservation of the documentary heritage of the Udmurt Republic and providing free and universal accessibility to informational resources. In 1992 the Library developed a unique program "Memory of Udmurtia: Collecting and Preserving National Collections of Printed Monuments of Culture of the Udmurt Republic" aimed at realization of such topical projects as "The National Book", "The National Bibliography", "Collection of Rare and Valuable Monuments". The program was welcomed by the Ministry of Culture of the Udmurt Republic and received the Republic's status in 1998. In 1999 the National Library of the Udmurt Republic received the State Award of the Udmurt Republic in the field of literature and art for the bibliographical guides: "Annals of Press and Publication of the Udmurt Republic", "Udmurt Linguistics", "Cartographic Materials: Udmurtia", "The Udmurt Song", "Udmurtia's Bibliographical Editions", "The Multan Case", "Kuzebai Gerd", "Ashalchi Oki".
Since 2003 the Library has undertaken "The Program on Development of National Library of Udmurt Republic 2004–2008" focused on the role of the library as a social institution, preservation and popularization of cultural values, compatibility of the library services with informational needs of users.