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Perestroika and Soviet libraries

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1992
Issue number2
Number of pages23
Pages (from-to)144-166
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Perestroika and glasnost' have affected all aspects of Soviet libraries. Library censorship has been largely abolished. Greater democracy has allowed the formation of library associations and influential staff councils in libraries. There are new approaches to many issues - library education, reader services, ethnic minorities, classification, library history, comparative librarianship. Libraries independent of the state have been set up. But the introduction of market economics, galloping inflation and the breakdown of old administrative structures are causing great uncertainty, especially over funding. Some libraries are being closed down, and many libraries are introducing paid services. Acquisitions, interlibrary loans, exchanges, and national bibliography have been affected by new commercial priorities. Librarians' salaries are low, and not keeping pace with inflation. Policy documents have been issued by the Lenin Library in Moscow, the Saltykov-Shchedrin Library in St. Petersburg and by non-governmental organisations, but all have been overtaken by the pace of change in the USSR. The future of Soviet libraries is uncertain.