About the Library

St. Petersburg State Theater Library is one of the oldest depositories in Russia. The date of its foundation is August 30, 1756 — the day of the Decree of the Empress Elizabeth establishing the first professional Russian theater.

Originating as a repertory library at the Russian theater troupe, Theater Library was transformed into the Central Library of the Directorate of Imperial Theaters. Since 1889 the library collections of plays were supplemented by other state-owned troupes (French, German and Italian), which acted in St. Petersburg in the XVIII-XIX centuries.

After 1917 the library has opened its collections for everyone interested in theater. The library serves around seven thousand readers every year, the number of visits is 40-50 thousand people per year. The books collection consists of more than 150 thousand copies.

Nowadays the library fund includes around 600 thousand units of storage, one third of them are manuscripts, rare and valuable publications, personal archives of theatrical figures, designs sets and costumes for productions, a collection of theater programs and posters, a collection of unique photographs and a rare theatrical periodicals.

For two and a half centuries Theater Library stays faithful to its purpose — to be together with the domestic theater. Several generations of its readers and staff have put their minds to work and love creating and developing the library, preservating its wonderful traditions, which we believe will last as long as will exist Russian theater.