Federal State Institution of Culture

Russian State
Art Library

"Art to help the arts"
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Researching the readers of artistic professions

 The Library carries out the project aimed to research the peculiarities of the readers’ behavior, the specific demands of artistic professionals and their satisfaction with the possibilities of the specific art library. The aim of the project is to increase the level of readers’ competency and optimize the forms of service through making the library and informational resources more accessible and by increasing the quality, quantity and variety of them.

 The Library has developed its own methods of promoting books and information based on the individual approach to the specific demands of the Reader – be it a director, actor, architect, designer, art expert, sculptor or graphic artist. It appears in the form of co-authorship, co-operation between artist and librarian-specialist.

 The role of reading, which is studied in the course of this project, is defined by specifics of professional character of the readers. The artistic process of contemporary authors is impossible without exploration and acquiring the experience accumulated in the culture and creativity – this is the intellectual aspect for artists who use the potential of the Library.

 The Library has become the place of communication for many cultural figures, authors and creative professionals from various spheres. The cultural function of the Library is the way to find an approach to creative personality.

 The Library was founded in 1922 as a creative laboratory. What makes it distinguishable is the fact that its departments are untypical for most national and international libraries. The library specialists provide support for the creative process with a wide range of methods – from information management and response to factual questions to science consulting in discovering the historical realities. The Library gave birth to multiple creative ideas, it was a field that produced outstanding works of art, art-objects, the field where artistic events took place and conceptions that enriched the history of national culture were realized.

  The methodological base for studying the reader of artistic professions is the Federal Reading Program where the Library monitors the readers’ characteristics. It is necessary to figure out the weak points in development of a reader as a creative personality, the effective use of modern possibilities of the Library. Artistic professionals differ from general readers not only by way of applying to documents from library collection but also by different way of using information resources. The Library was a starting point for many creative ideas, it was a field that produced outstanding works of art, art-objects, the field where artistic events took place and conceptions that enriched the history of national culture were realized.

 The completed system of library monitoring has been designed to reveal problem groups of readers, to set goals and priorities of work at the library, the ways to meet readers’ demands, the specifics of the library contacts. We have examined the categories of artistic intellectuals that currently represent the most educated and active group in the cultural elite. This research involved different social, educational and age groups of the Russian artistic intellectuals and the target of the research became the readers of the Russian State Art Library.

 The Research was expanded by attracting 5 organizations, it was carried out at the research library of RATI (Russian Academy for Theatre), Scientific Archive Library of Academic Maliy Theatre and at the research library of APRIKT. In order to make the results of the preceding research objective and actual the range of targets was expanded by means of attracting the readers from Yaroslavl Regional Universal Research Library named after N.A. Nekrasov.

 With consideration of specifics and professional sphere of reading under the present research, the selection is based on the following criteria: age, education, profession, creative activity.

 The monitoring was achieved by running questionnaire surveys, interviews and creating an archive for memoirs of various specialization artists.

 The surveys were conducted using special questionnaires that helped to integrate readers’ characteristics into complete picture showing the level and the scale of reading preferences of artistic intellectuals. The answers given helped to describe factors of reader’s behavior while using library and outside library, to find out reader’s level of satisfaction with the service provided by special purpose library.

 The research was achieved by monitoring the readers of RSAL and was realized in three stages: 1st stage in 2007, 2nd – 2008, 3rd – 2009.

The research of 2009 consists of three groups of questions helping to characterize “the reader in the library”, his or her thoughts about “the reader in the library” and “the readers outside the library”. “What changes would you like to make in the library?” stands as a separate group of questions. The questions concerning private collection of books helps to expand the reader’s characteristics, such as “Do you have your private collection of books? What are the characteristics of it? Has it been replenished recently and what are the new books? Do you use electronic formats to meet your demands? Would you prefer a printed or electronic format?”

 The statistic analysis of the answers allows judging the level of satisfaction of the reader with the collections of the library, its resources and formats of service. Presentations and publications were made based on the results of the first stages of the research.

 The detailed analysis of profession oriented reading of artists using old collections, modern literature and electronic periodicals is to be included in a separate article.