Tallinna Keskraamatukogu - Page 280

‹ 280 › The 1920s and 1930s are regarded as the time that the Tallinn Central Library was built up. In hindsight it could be said that Aleksander Sibul tried to build the ideal library, the intention of which was to educate citizens who value spiritual values. Right from the start he set about increasing the library’s stocks. He strove to gain experience for developing the library from various other European libraries. As he had lived in Finland in1916–1918 and cultural contacts between Estonia and Finland had become deeper during independence, he was fired by what he saw at Finnish libraries. Sibul had acquired his library education in Leningrad at the Shanjavski librarian courses, as well as from what he had learnt on his own, organizing the Viljandi readers’ circle alongside his work as a journalist and as a telegraph official in Finland at The Helsinki Estonian Educational Society. Sibul made his first working trip in 1923 to Finland. In 1925 he went on a longer trip to libraries in Lithuania Latvia, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Finland. In Finland he met the library specialist Helle Cannelin (Kannila) who shared her professional experience with Aleksander Sibul until the end of Estonian independence. A. Sibul helped Finnish library workers by sharing his experiences gained in putting the The Estonian Public Library Act (1925) into effect when the Finnish Public Libraries Act was being prepared in 1927. Among Sibul’s friends was the translator of Estonian literature, library worker and Estophile Aino Kaasinen, who in the 1970s sent her colleagues to Estonia to meet Sibul – the Finns continued to be interested in his knowledge about libraries. The 1930s were very productive for the library. The Children’s Library and the Archive were established and the branch libraries worked very successfully. The 1940s and the Post-War Period The 1940s were very complicated for the Tallinn Central Library. Already at the beginning of the 1940s the literature banned by Soviet authorities had to be carried down into the cellar. The German occupation brought with it new bans. During the German occupation in 1941–1944 the library worked in a compressed form. Together with five branches the Central Library had 34 employees. During the war years few books were acquired. Very little appeared in Estonia, Very little German could be ordered, and there was little money. The occupation forces banned nearly all Soviet books, English and French books published after 1933, everything written by hundreds of authors. In the bombing in March 1944, when Soviet planes destroyed a large part of Tallinn, one wing of the Central Library also suffered. It was not restored until the autumn of 1946. The wartime events connected to the library are related in this collection by Sibul’s older daughter Astraea. After the fall of Tallinn in September 1944 The Central Library opened its doors on 23 November 1944. After the war the Central Library was to be made into an institution for the propagation of “correct ideology”. What had been the central Estonian library now became a normal Soviet people’s library. The archives were destroyed, and a large part of the book collection went to the former State Library, which now became the governing library. The internal organization of the library became the system current in the Soviet Union, and the work of the library was scrutinized constantly. The new leaders (mostly Russian Estonians) of the new departments were members of the Communist Party and the banned and destroyed books were replaced with new ones from Russia. In the years1944–1949 the new order enforced its rules. The banning and destruction of books began and in 1949 the Archive of the Central Library was liquidated. With regard to the destruction of the Tallinn Central Library’s archives in 1949, Piret Lotman writes: First of all Tallinn Central Library was forced to surrender its foreign language books to the State Library. In 1946 2324 mainly foreign language books “outdated in content and unsuitable for use” were handed over. Over half of those – 1579 – were in German, 262 were in Finnish and 244 were in French. In 1947 and 1948 books “unsuitable for use” were removed by the hundreds from the Central Library and its branches at intervals of a few months. In 1949 the amount of literature “attested to be of no value”