In 2022, the Russian State Art Library (RSAL) will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the famous ‘Teatralka’ (State Central Theatre Library), which preceded RSAL until 1992.
On 24 May 1922, the Academic Library of the Maly Theatre opened its doors to readers. Thanks to the tireless work of its director, literary critic Alexander Fomin, supported by the chairman of the Maly Theatre Directorate Alexander Sumbatov-Yuzhin, and People’s Commissar of Education Anatoly Lunacharsky, in only three years’ time it surpassed the limits of a departmental library, becoming a state theatre library in 1925, and acquiring the status of the State Central Theatre Library in 1936.
Initially, the library’s collection was composed of books and graphics from the personal collections of directors and actors of the Maly Theatre, instructors at the theatre school, and gifts from its employees and readers. In preparation for its 100th anniversary, RSAL launched a project in 2020 in which it discusses rare and unique specimens from the library’s collections: books, magazines, albums, photographs, postcards, engravings, sketches, and archival documents.