V. I. Lenin

The Tasks Of The Public Library In Petrograd

Written: x November, 1917
First Published: 1933 in Lenin Miscellany XII. Published according to the manuscript. Published according to the manuscript.
Source: Lenin's Collected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, Volume 28, 1972, pp. 351
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov and George Hanna, Edited by George Hanna
Transcription & HTML Markup: Charles Farrell and David Walters
Online Version: Lenin Internet Archive November, 2000


It takes knowledge to participate in the revolution with intelligence, purpose and success.

Because tsarism had played havoc with public education over a period of many years, the library service in Petrograd is in a very bad state.

The following changes, based on principles long practised in the free countries of the West, especially Switzerland and the United States, must be made immediately and unconditionally:

(1) The public library (the former Imperial Library) must immediately start an exchange of books with all public and state libraries in Petrograd and the provinces and with foreign libraries (in Finland, Sweden, etc.).

(2) The forwarding of books from one library to another must be made post-free by law.

(3) The library’s reading-room must be open, as is the practice with private libraries and reading-rooms for the rich in civilised countries,

from 8.00 a.m. to 11.00 p.m. daily, not excluding Sundays and holidays.

(4) The required personnel must be immediately transferred to the Public Library from the various offices of the Ministry of Education (with more women, in view of the military demand for men), where nine-tenths of the staff are engaged not merely in useless, but in downright harmful work.