The first bookshop in Ludza was open in 1883. It was located in the present Kr.Barona Street and belonged to A.Sujers. Already in 1884 a public library was opened in that shop. In 1888 its stock consisted of 1,116 books, the number of readers was 44, i.e. 38 men and 6 women.

The second library-reading hall was opened in the beginning of the century near Ludza Public Committee, but it was not of big importance, since it only served to members of the Committee and there were mostly periodicals – magazines and newspapers.

At that time in Ludza there was also the People’s Temperance Society’s free library. That library had popular publications, that was why local inhabitants willingly used it. The library was located in Marcinkevičs’ house in the present Tālavijas Street. In the hall of the library there was a music set from St.-Petersburg, so that the library visitors could listen to music. All books were put in two cabinets, and were lent by 2 librarians.

In 1918 German invaders arranged a military hospital in the house.

In 1919 a soviet library “Communist” was established in Ludza, and books in it were arranged on four shelves.

In 20s-30s, during the time of the Latvian Republic there were not many cultural workers in Ludza district. Libraries, choirs, sport clubs and other amateur activities were mostly organised and managed by teachers and members of the Aizsargs’ organisation (latv. ‘aizsargs’ – defender).

Statistical data prove that in 20s-30s in Latgale libraries there was a particular phenomenon observed – decrease of books and libraries number. Information about Ludza district libraries is as follows:

Number of libraries Book stock
1932 32 18 964
1933 23 19 200
1934 22 20 755
1935 21 20 252
1938 19 20 877

Library stocks in Latgale were decreasing despite the fact that at that time 2,893 books were purchased and furthermore 3,741 books were received as a donation.

В мае 1920 года In May 1920 Ludza Town Committee carried a decision about the town library establishment. I.Slāvinskis was appointed for the position of the Head of the library; he was an energetic and scholarly man, who had a good knowledge of library work. He collected a lot of books from the town inhabitants, tied up and kept them very carefully. Every year 1,200 lats were designated for purchase of books. The Library Head’s salary was 85 lats, but after 1937 – 95 lats.

Books in the library were in different languages – Latvian, Russian, German, French, English, Hebrew, Polish. I.Slavinskis mainly purchased classic literature, literary magazines. In the beginning the library was located in one room, but later in two rooms; it had 140 permanent readers. Gradually it became a significant cultural centre of the town.

In 1935 in Ludza there was a Town Library, Latgalian Culture Promotion Association’s Library and the State Gymnasiums’ Library. In the libraries’ stocks there were 1,600 books in Latvian, 2,500 books in Russian, 800 books in other languages and 1,000 different magazines. In total there were 5,900 books. In 1940 the library’s stocks included more than 2,000 soviet publications.

In 1941, during the time of the German occupation the town library was moved to other, worse premises. Its decline started. In 1942 M.Pugovics became the Head of the library.

lilita30.12.1980After the war three people changed each other on the position of the Head of the library. Unfortunately they were random people in library work. Therefore we can say that in 40s-50s the library was destroyed. After its renewal in 1951 M.Knauere became the Head of the Library. She had graduated Rīga Cultural Workers’ Technical school. In the library there were 5 workers, who performed a great work in organisation of catalogues. In 1958-1989 the library was managed by L.Kornele, who had graduated from Moscow Library Institute.