Military Review

Military Libraries: Glorious History and Modern “Life on the Edge”

27 May is the All-Russian Library Day in Russia. The importance of libraries for the development and preservation of national culture is enormous. Even now, in the age of electronic technology and the widespread dissemination of “screen reading,” one can hardly speak of a “death of the library.” In principle, even in the case of a drastic reduction in the number of readers, even if readers practically stop going to the libraries, their closure would be a crime against culture. After all, a library is, first of all, a repository of book thought, wisdom, which does not disappear and does not become obsolete for a period that is not that of centuries - millennia. The book forms and ennobles a person, educates him, and a person who chooses for himself the noble profession of a keeper of books, of course, is involved in education.

In this article, dedicated to the holiday date, it will also focus on libraries. But about the unusual libraries - the military. Yes, in the military stories there is a place for such a peace-loving phenomenon as a library. Moreover, in many respects it is from military libraries that the moral, cultural and educational education of servicemen and, accordingly, the formation in them of those qualities that an ordinary person with weapons turn into a defender of his country and its civilians.

Rulers and military leaders took large enough libraries with them to military campaigns during the times of antiquity and the Middle Ages. But the full development of military libraries as a special branch began in modern times. The most important reason for the emergence of mass military libraries was the complication of military affairs, requiring constant improvement of knowledge about armaments, tactics and strategy, and military history. No less important was the general increase in the level of culture and literacy of the nobility, and then the "third class". In Russia, the first military libraries are formed during military units from the XVII - XVIII centuries. After the creation of the General Staff in 1763, the archives of military literature were formed under it.

HE. Komarova, who defended her thesis on the organization of librarianship in military educational institutions, identifies at least five stages in the development of the national military library system in military colleges: the birth of the military library system in the XVII-XIX centuries; the formation of the Soviet military library system in the period between the 1917 revolution and the beginning of the Great Patriotic War; the development of military librarianship in the 1941-1945 war period; the existence of the Soviet military library system in the post-war period 1945-1991; the modern stage of existence of the military library system.

The idea of ​​creating a scientific library for the Russian officers belongs to the emperor Alexander I himself and his associate Prince Peter Volkonsky, who after the French-Russian war 1805-1807. realized the need to improve the theoretical knowledge of military personnel, first of all - quartermaster officers. In 1811, permission was given to establish a library at the General Staff Building of the Russian army.

Following the creation of the central military library by the efforts of individual officers and enthusiasts, libraries were also being created at the time of military units. So, in 1816, the first officers' library appeared in the Separate Guards Corps. Officers' libraries appeared in the Semenov and Preobrazhensky regiments. For obvious reasons, only the officers used the libraries, therefore they were called “officers”. Moreover, a certain amount was calculated from the officers' annual salary, which was directed to the regular replenishment of libraries with new literature.

The soldiers, by virtue of not only a low status, but also mass illiteracy, had no relation to the libraries of the regiments and units at that time. In turn, for officers, the presence of libraries in the army was, in fact, a vital necessity. After all, most of the officer corps received an excellent education both at home and in military schools, and reading constantly and a lot was the rule for her.

By the second half of the 19th century, the development of a network of military libraries from the work of enthusiasts became official, the military budget allocated funds to replenish the collections of officers' libraries. In 1869, a Commission is being created on the organization of military libraries and military assemblies, the competence of which is to regulate issues related to the creation and management of the military library system. At the same time, the rules for replenishing funds, using literature, and withholding certain amounts from the officer's salary to replenish libraries are ordered. With 1874, official funding begins from the military budget of libraries in the army's land units. Of course, the funds allocated from the budget to support the activities of libraries have always remained scarce and the officers, willy-nilly, had to continue to donate money from their own pocket for the replenishment of funds.

It is worth saying a few words about military librarians of that time. Then it was not a separate specialty, but rather an honorable duty. The librarian of the regimental library was chosen for a period of two years, at the same time freeing him from afternoon classes in companies. As for professional tasks, they were similar to the duties of a modern librarian - checking funds, compiling bibliography lists for the library, controlling fees and fines.

As a result of the temporary pooling of the funds of several subunit libraries, prototypes of modern garrison libraries appear. The development of military-librarianship is also facilitated by the emergence of specialized military journals, which, on the one hand, regularly went to the libraries of subdivisions, and on the other hand, constantly published information about the state of librarianship in garrisons and subdivisions.

Begin to form the soldiers and sailors' libraries. The military command is aware of the important role in raising the fighting and morale of the troops, not only of the regimental clergy, but also of propaganda literature. In addition, the requirements for the knowledge and skills of military personnel are increasing, and consequently there is a need for their training with the help of special literature. By the year 1917 in the Russian army there were up to 600 libraries.
But the real flourishing of the military library system begins after the October Revolution. The Soviet government paid great attention not only to the military-scientific education of the officer corps, but also to the military and political training of the rank and file and junior command personnel, as a result of which the centralized formation of the library network in the army and naval divisions. Already in the 1920s, the number of military libraries fluctuated within a few thousand, being optimized in the early 1930s. at the level of 2000 library institutions.

According to the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, by the 1970 in the USSR there were three military library centers - the Military Department of the USSR State Library. IN AND. Lenin, Library of the Central House of the Soviet Army. Mv Frunze and the Central Naval Library. In addition to them, their own libraries existed at the district level - at the houses of district officers and fleets, at military schools, and also - in subdivisions. In total, more than 90 million pieces of literature were in use by the Soviet military libraries.

Of course, the Soviet military libraries were to a greater degree the instrument of the party-political education of the Soviet servicemen. In addition to special military literature, political and politicized literature prevailed, the task of which was to transform a military recruit into a devoted supporter of the Soviet government and the Communist Party over the years of military service. Naturally, the activity of military libraries was in the competence of the political departments of subunits and formations, at the macro level - in the competence of the Main Political Directorate of the Soviet Army and Navy.

The collapse of the Soviet Union and the crisis of the armed forces that followed in parallel with it, accompanied by their reduction and weakening, entailed negative consequences for the military library system. Depoliticization of the Armed Forces, undertaken after the country's abandonment of communist ideology, was expressed not only in the elimination of political departments and military-political schools, positions of deputy commanders for political work in the army and the navy, but also in weakening attention to cultural and educational work.

Cultural and educational work was seen as part of political work and, accordingly, fell into disgrace with the new government. For some time the military library system still existed by inertia, but decades of post-Soviet chaos did their job. Given the closeness of the Russian military system, information about the real situation with the military library system in the Russian Federation is fragmentary. Naturally, in the context of all the ups and downs that the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation had to experience in the post-Soviet period, the development of military library business leaves much to be desired.

Thus, according to the newspaper Izvestia, which published an article two years ago on the situation in the military library system, purchases of books for military libraries were stopped in 2010 year. The number of military libraries in subunits is also decreasing. It is understandable - the position of a military librarian has been transferred to the category of civil servants, which implies a negligible salary and the absence of numerous preferences assigned to military personnel.

Of course, no one wants to go to work in military structures with their strict schedule in the absence of a normal salary or, at least, compensating benefits. Those military libraries that still retain the same face are in many respects obliged to these directly to the commanders of the units and their deputies, who, on their own initiative, are looking for opportunities to replenish funds and keep libraries in working order.
On the other hand, the decline of the military library system is a reflection of the general decline of librarianship in modern Russia. Traditionally, the list of state priority spending needs of cultural institutions were in the last places, and libraries among them were the most "poor relatives", because, unlike the same museums or theaters, most of them are deprived of the opportunity to pay for their activities. Since libraries are free, revenue from visiting them is excluded, only minor payments for additional services remain, which cannot be considered as defining sources of funding.

The general cooling of interest of the Russian society to the printed literature also affects. The age of the Internet discourages many young people not only from using libraries, but also from reading printed books. Indeed, does it make sense to go to the library if the information of interest can be found on the Internet? It would seem that in the current situation, the state should ponder over the modernization of the library system, perhaps over a partial reorientation of library activities towards the provision of electronic library services.

In modern librarianship, according to the national library scientist S.A. Basova, in fact, faces two main paradigms - technocratic and humanistic. The first involves an emphasis on the information needs of the reader, improving service, that is, what is called, "keeps pace with the times." The second is more oriented towards understanding the library not as an information service, but as one of the components of the educational system. And if with regard to civil society, the development of the information and service component seems to be expedient - students, scientists, engineers, writers themselves can understand books and the task of a librarian in working with them mostly comes down only to consulting and technical assistance, then in relation to the army The situation looks completely different.

In the Armed Forces, a library is not an information service, but an element of education. Accordingly, the librarian is not the attendants, but one of the educators. It is quite possible that this understanding of the military librarian as a participant in the process of educating military personnel will help to take a fresh look at the specialty. It is possible that it can somewhat expand its responsibilities and, at the same time, increase the status of the military librarian.

It is impossible not to understand that the existence of "on the verge" kills the already lame cultural and educational work. It is known that the problems of moral and ethical education, education and culture in the modern Russian army, due to its predominantly worker-peasant character, are very acute. Therefore, the reduction of military libraries, inattention to the issues of their provision, social support of employees is an unforgivable oversight, if not outright harm.
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  1. tronin.maxim
    tronin.maxim 27 May 2014 07: 32
    Military libraries are needed. The classics should stand apart in the 21st century. Fast and striking are especially relevant: Solzhenitsyn, Dostoevsky and others. Books of the Russian language will also come in handy since many spelling is lame (and mine too), but it's hard to say about newspapers. There is so much nonsense written, one harm is shorter. Although when I served, we had a red star, a Russian newspaper. In general, I have to think.
    1. Interface
      Interface 27 May 2014 13: 44
      Oh well. And since when is the dissident Solzhenitsyn in the same ranks with the great classic Dostoevsky? Better to add Sholokhov, "virgin soil" raised, I so naively assumed ...
      1. Interface
        Interface 27 May 2014 17: 23
        For all lovers of suffering over the anti-adviser Solzhenitsyn, is dedicated
  2. wanderer_032
    wanderer_032 27 May 2014 07: 45
    In military libraries should be books primarily on military affairs, weapons and military equipment.
    Instructions, manuals, manuals.
    First of all, a military man must master his craft so that he can be able to fight in the event of something, and for this he needs solid knowledge, in a considerable amount.
    There should also be books on world military history, the more the better.
    And other reading, only clogs the brains with useless nonsense for a military man.
    I would also like the books of these libraries to contain less than any ideological and propaganda blizzard.
    Only military science and nothing more.
    1. Obliterator
      Obliterator 27 May 2014 08: 09
      Quote: wanderer_032
      And other things, it just fills the brains of useless nonsense for a military man. I would also like the books of these libraries to contain less than any ideological and propaganda blizzard.
      Only military science and nothing more.

      Nonsense. Fiction in military libraries is necessary, because from the military you will only climb a wall of boredom in the army. Actually, the soldiers mostly go there (to the library) for fiction, and nobody needs books related to the service — to live in it, and even the wildest army fans can read about it. And to read the same classics or science fiction, distracting in this from the daily army routine - it is always nice.
      1. inkass_98
        inkass_98 27 May 2014 09: 01
        Quote: Obliterator
        Fiction in military libraries is a must

        I agree, it’s impossible to focus on special literature. And so young people are quite limited in their mass, and an ordinary good book can bring no less benefits than an hour lesson with a political officer (with reading skills). It’s just hard to make a person read in the world today - the eldest son constantly reads, even though a laptop is at hand and the phone is there. And you won’t make the younger one, just from under a stick, he’d better cut into toys online.
        Quote: tronin.maxim
        Books of the Russian language will also be helpful

        If a person reads fiction with Soviet-level editing, then with his spelling everything will be relatively normal - automatically fixed.
      2. wanderer_032
        wanderer_032 27 May 2014 19: 14
        Quote: Obliterator
        always a pleasure

        And watch magazines with porn, also nice. laughing
        Therefore, when it comes time to fight, it turns out that the head is empty, there is no knowledge necessary for this. yes
        Fiction books can be read by everyone, but priority in the military library should be given to books on military science.
        And whoever doesn’t like something, he has nothing to do in the army.
        Moreover, the priority in the construction of our armed forces goes to the contract army.
        Contract soldier, can afford to buy any book according to his own preferences.
        1. Obliterator
          Obliterator 27 May 2014 23: 35
          Quote: wanderer_032
          And watch magazines with porn, also nice.

          Well, if literature has the same value for you as magazines with naked women, then I am very sorry for you.
          Quote: wanderer_032
          Fiction books can be read by everyone, but priority in the military library should be given to books on military science.
          And whoever doesn’t like something, he has nothing to do in the army.

          Priority does not necessarily mean the choice of an alternative. In the library of our unit, Jack London’s novels, memoirs of conspiratorial marshals, and specialized military literature coexisted perfectly on the shelves. Think about it.
          Quote: wanderer_032
          Therefore, when it comes time to fight, it turns out that the head is empty, there is no knowledge necessary for this.

          Knowledge in the head should be laid by officers in the classroom. And relying on soldier self-training is unreliable.
          Quote: wanderer_032
          And whoever doesn’t like something, he has nothing to do in the army.

          So the opinion of the soldiers is usually little interested. And if they are interested, they usually wait for an answer that everything is OK.
    2. Turkir
      Turkir 27 May 2014 10: 39
      What do you mean by the word "extra"?
      Those who did not read "superfluous" now, dashingly flying in helicopters shot wounded in Donetsk and civilians.
      His own citizens, both by passport, and by blood, and by history.
      I am sure that they have not read anything "superfluous" in their lives.
      God save us from such mindless "soldiers".
      We don't need zombies. They were with Frederick "the Great".
      Zombies are needed by brainless, unprincipled commanders for building summer cottages.
      We have examples of soldiers and sailors Suvorov, Ushakov, Nakhimov.
      Should I continue?
      1. wanderer_032
        wanderer_032 27 May 2014 19: 20
        Quote: Turkir
        Those who did not read "superfluous" now, dashingly flying in helicopters shot wounded in Donetsk and civilians.

        But those who read, could not bring down their turntables to prevent this.
        Or take the necessary measures so as not to fall under the air strike.
        1. Massik
          Massik 27 May 2014 21: 45
          "Oh, look vertik flies ... Oh, the couple has disappeared, schA will fall to us, let's see ...."
          Civil war seems to be on, training for a quick run up the stairs to the basement of the house significantly increases the chances of survival ..
  3. The comment was deleted.
  4. lars
    lars 27 May 2014 09: 44
    Absolutely correct! The army should be a SCHOOL for patriotism, historicism, and basic literacy for a young man! The commanders and deputies for the educational part will not let me lie - what kind of "kids" come after school - even grab your head. And it should be interesting and useful not only for soldiers. The officer must learn the entire service himself!
    1. Turkir
      Turkir 27 May 2014 10: 47
      The officer must learn the entire service himself!

      Absolutely true thought!
      However, this applies to every person, if he is a person, and not a ruminant.
    2. wanderer_032
      wanderer_032 27 May 2014 19: 24
      Quote: lars
      The army should be a SCHOOL of both patriotism and historicism

      Nonsense, the army must learn to fight.
      Patriotism should be instilled in parents from an early age.
      And basic literacy should be given by education in a comprehensive school.
  5. Turkir
    Turkir 27 May 2014 10: 31
    We need libraries, all sorts of. And for the military - special and complete.
    Education is also a weapon.
    And now a fly in the ointment ...
    In Moscow, he went to the library in his own area, about 8-9 years ago.
    On the shelves of Marinin, Dontsova, Akunin .. and even nonsense in pocket books.
    Virgin void.
    I was amazed to learn that, by order (!) Of the libraries, all books had been removed (!) Until 1989.
    I did not find out who this Khazar inquisitor who issued this order was.
    Can someone help me clarify the situation?
    Can you write to me in a "personal" - who had a hand in this?
    1. wanderer_032
      wanderer_032 27 May 2014 19: 31
      Quote: Turkir
      We need libraries, all sorts of. And for the military - special and complete.
      Education is also a weapon.

      I agree.
  6. ioann1
    ioann1 27 May 2014 11: 39
    I often care about the question, but what about the situation in the Army with spending free time? If the personnel are not brought up, then this will be a repetition of the United States army.
    About thirty years ago, libraries played an important role, today many believe that the book will replace the computer - no, this is a profound error. Very important books for the Army on the basis of military-patriotic education, and without any of the latest bestsellers.
    1. Turkir
      Turkir 27 May 2014 13: 48
      The reading process itself develops thinking, and not just broadens one's horizons and increases the supply of words. This is the opinion of world science. The bestseller for Americans is a book with a circulation of 50. Funny circulation for the USSR.
      From the notebooks of I. Ilf:
      "He did not know the nuances of the language and said to women: I want to see you naked"
    2. Pagan
      Pagan 27 May 2014 16: 56
      Things are bad in the army with free time. No one will let the soldier read the book. Because when he sweeps the parade ground, everyone sees that he IS EMPLOYED, and when he is with the book, it is considered a waste of time that does not know what will lead to. Love to read school and family should instill, not the army. Libraries in the army are dead, I do not mean parquet, exemplary units (I judge by my regiment where I served 15 years ago).
  7. Dreamer
    Dreamer 27 May 2014 12: 01
    About 5 years ago, a period of "silence", as I call it, began in my life, which lasted for about 1,5 years. so, for 1y. I have read all the literature that interests me, stored in 3 libraries located near my house, and I live in St. Petersburg, the "cultural capital". I am afraid to even imagine the state of library funds in small towns, not to mention army libraries. the literary rubbish they are supplied with does not stand up to any scrutiny.
  8. Tolerast
    Tolerast 27 May 2014 12: 34
    For 3 years now I have been buying electronic books instead of paper books. In one of my little reading rooms hundreds and thousands of volumes are placed. This miracle of technology allowed to free as many as 2 rooms. He gave all his books to the nearest library. Although sometimes such nostalgia rolls around - the rustle of turning pages, the creak of the spine, the smell of a freshly printed book ... Mmmm ... Good old times.
  9. OPTR
    OPTR 27 May 2014 12: 41
    I think that the author mixes the library as an organization with a form of access to resources.
    Modern capabilities make it possible to organize local access to a variety of resources that are not necessary to purchase and store for each individual library (saving money and space).
    Is anyone doing this? It is difficult to find out about this from the article.
    Is there a concept for developing libraries?
    What is the structure of library stocks?
    How many of them are there in general, how many people come to them, how many and what books have been read?
    It is also difficult to understand.
    Plus set for drawing attention to the topic.
  10. leon-iv
    leon-iv 27 May 2014 14: 30
    All comrades who served read at every opportunity.
    Each time I brought my library of fiction, but now many read from phones.
  11. krot_tank
    krot_tank 27 May 2014 15: 33
    The need for a library !!!
    In some country, in the troops of a very strategic purpose - ordinary soldiers guard the "products". And until recently, the two of them were on duty from Friday to Friday, in a closed special room without the ability to go outside. So, after the first watch, young soldiers raked out the garrison library along with the shelves - the main thing was that they could read something on them!

    Second example!
    One almost clever officer, in order to become even smarter, searched for a scientific article on the Internet for a month and a half. As a result, he came to the city library and made an order, and after 4 days, sexy bibliographers found it in another part of the Russian Federation, printed it out and provided it. They also treated me to tea under my chocolate bar.
    (Thanks to the girls from Mayakovsky library).
    A library is not only a room with shelves and books. This is a system of accumulation and provision of knowledge accumulated by generations. They are taught this knowledge to collect, accumulate and provide. So that others do not lose at this time, but use it for its intended purpose!
  12. slovak007
    slovak007 27 May 2014 21: 38
    And in our military camp there was a large library, it lacked both fiction and technical literature.
  13. Massik
    Massik 27 May 2014 21: 39
    Well, at first, especially free time, as it was not observed a book to read, as the guard began to intercede in a cheerful room, the book is irreplaceable. The first in the army to read "The Living and the Dead" by Simonov and the RPK-74 firing manual laughing , well-read historical novels by Pikul, Port Arthur Stepanova.