The article aims to investigate certain theoretical problem aspects of a personal library, regarded as a concept of scientific research. The specific aspects researched are as follows: terminological definitions, the question of personal libraries’ typology and classification, the place of a personal library, as a subject-matter of scientific research, in book science and librarianship. The analysis in question is based on the research of Lithuanian professionals in book science, conducted in this area. In addition, the article provides insights into the research of foreign book scientists on theoretical aspects of personal libraries. The author specifies certain semantic aspects of defining a personal library in the terminology of Lithuanian book science. Furthermore, the author makes a suggestion with regard to classification of personal libraries, namely, that such libraries should be grouped into historical and contemporary personal libraries. Such classification highlights the importance of the subject-matter of research, bearing in mind the differences between the two groups of libraries, such as access to these libraries, methodology of research, etc. In the article, historical personal libraries are treated as complexes of book heritage; they also embrace personal libraries which could be granted the status of printed heritage (personal libraries as complex artefacts, as certain monuments of book heritage, which in institutional compilations could be referred to as book collections in corpore). In contrast, the situation regarding the investigation of contemporary personal libraries is more difficult, due to the fact that these libraries are regarded as objects of intellectual property and therefore very limited access is provided to them.
The article analyses the reasons why personal libraries in Lithuania and Russia have become the subject matter of scientific research in the area of book science rather than librarianship. It was concluded that the Law on Lithuanian Libraries (2004) does not provide for any provisions regarding personal libraries. From the legal point of view, these libraries are not covered by the Law on Lithuanian Libraries. Likewise, personal libraries are not included in the typological scheme of Lithuanian libraries. In Russia, personal libraries have for a long time not been regarded as libraries. Instead, they were looked upon merely as compilations or collections of home books. This can be explained by the fact that after an attack against private ownership had started in the 20-ies of the 20th century in the Soviet Union, a policy of nationalising personal libraries was launched and a communist ideology of the public ownership of books was introduced and promoted. “An ideological education of a reader” was regarded as the most important function of libraries. Naturally, personal libraries could not serve such a purpose. Furthermore, it was impossible to control the activities of such libraries. The mandatory provision for control was embedded in Soviet laws. It was only natural that the subject-matter of personal libraries disappeared from the field of research of librarianship. The niche of research was soon taken over by professionals of book science. This article draws the conclusion that given a certain amount of research on personal libraries in Lithuania, a closer dialogue between book scientists and theoreticians of librarianship is expected to be promoted in the area of researching personal libraries.
Please read the Copyright Notice in Journal Policy.