Ybyrai Altynsarin and the development of librarianship in Kazakhstan.

The distribution of books among the Kazakh people was the aspiration of the great Kazakh enlighteners - Chokan Valikhanov, Ybyrai Altynsarin, Abai Kunanbaev. Abai Kunanbaev paid sufficient attention to the benefits of books and reading. Ybyrai Altynsarin expressed brilliant educational ideas in his writings. Moreover, he practically participated in their implementation. Altynsarin considered it necessary to study the Russian language in Kazakh schools. All this, in his opinion, brought the Kazakh reader closer to the Russian book.

Ybyrai Altynsarin's grandfather, Balgozha, was an influential and quite educated man. He was well versed in the art of eloquence, knew many folk tales, proverbs and was able to compose poetry. In his childhood, Ybyrai learned it from his grandfather and later, already in his school years, often corresponded with him in verse.

Altynsarin was well aware that the knowledge he received at school was negligible and therefore seriously set about self-education. He thoughtfully and persistently worked on the text, kept a dictionary of incomprehensible words, when he read books and articles in Russian. Thus, he achieved significant success in mastering the Russian language, while expanding his horizons. Young Ybyrai in his development went beyond the school curriculum, independently studying the works of the great classics of world literature - Shakespeare, Goethe, Byron, Pushkin, Gogol, Lermontov, Firdousi, Nizami, Navoi and others. Altynsarin often visited the house of Grigoriev, a well-known orientalist, and borrowed from his rich home library fiction, books on history and philosophy.

Altynsarin's active work, as the founder of school libraries, developed simultaneously with pedagogical work. In 1881 he opened the first libraries at schools. The formation of children's libraries in Kazakhstan is also associated with his name. He spent especially a lot of energy on the acquisition of school and college libraries, and on the delivery of literature to each school. Books for libraries were ordered by Ybyrai Altynsarin from booksellers in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Orenburg and other cities.

In his letter to N. I. Ilminsky dated September 15, 1882, he wrote: “At the schools of the Turgai region, I intend to establish libraries for teachers and students, for which I have already collected up to 700 rubles.”

Various reports by Ybyrai Altynsarin concerning about opening and acquisition of the library have been preserved. It should be noted that the educator had constant worries about them. So, for example, the Orenburg Kazakh teacher's school had its own separate library. The books were divided into two groups: there was a fund for teachers and for students. There were 770 textbooks and 2189 books of fiction in the student fund, 4461 books were in the fund for teachers. A significant part of them was represented by scientific and methodological manuals.

During the years of his teaching activity, Altynsarin tirelessly followed pedagogical innovations, popular scientific literature for the people, subscribed to journalistic and pedagogical magazines. In his personal library there were complete collections of such Russian classics as N.A. Dobrolyubov, N.G. Chernyshevsky, A. I. Herzen, the best pedagogical works, as well as translations of foreign authors of that time.

There was especially a lot of work at the beginning of the inspection activity, when it was necessary to acquire and create the first textbooks. Ybyrai Altynsarin translated the works of Russian writers-enlighteners, which were used as textbooks for Russian-Kazakh schools and were an active part of the book fund of school libraries. In the fund of several libraries there were fables by I.A. Krylov, stories by L.N. Tolstoy, translations from the books of I. Paulsen, V.I. Dahl and a number of other works.

In Turgai, Altynsarin had received one copy of K.D. Ushinsky's book "Children's World", he was sincerely delighted with the content of this wonderful book. Therefore, he had the idea of providing this kind of book to Kazakh children in their native language.

In 1879, the first book in the Kazakh language by Ybyrai Altynsarin "Kazakh Chrestomathy", which not only became a textbook, but also a book for mass reading, entered the fund of school libraries of Kazakhstan. It was printed in the amount of two thousand copies. Having set a goal – to create the first literary chrestomathy in the Kazakh language, Y. Altynsarin undertook to write it, because before him none of the Kazakh poets (akyns) had written either such poems, such fables, or such short stories that were required for a general education book, as indicated in the preface to the "Kirghiz Chrestomathy" of 1879.

The enlightener took into account the need, firstly, to make the book suitable not only for schoolchildren, but also for adult readers; secondly, to select materials for the book that would be understandable and accessible to the Kazakh reader, who is not familiar with the life of big cities, or with a number of features of Russian and Western European life. Such ready-made materials, with the exception of a small number of folklore works, were not yet available in Kazakhstan at that time.

Ybyrai Altynsarin thought about what literary genre and what works are likely to reach the consciousness of the Kazakh reader, especially the young one, that is, he tried to take into account his age characteristics. When compiling the chrestomathy, he skillfully and with great pedagogical skill selected all the best from the educational books of that time in Russian, striving to meet the interests of young children as widely as possible and influence the development of moral qualities in them. In the selection of materials, his guiding principles were the ideas of nationality, humanism, democracy and love for the motherland.

The thematic review of the educator's works allows us to conclude that all his works are not descriptive, but clearly educational in nature and testifies not only to genre diversity, but also shows their author as one of the creators of the Kazakh literary language.

In total, Ybyrai Altynsarin created more than 115 large and small works together with translations. Among his artistic works, only 21 poems, 47 short stories, 8 fables and 11 samples of Kazakh folklore have been published. Ybyrai also translated a number of works by Russian enlightenment writers: the fables of I.A. Krylov, the stories of L.N. Tolstoy, the tales of M.E. Saltykov-Shchedrin, poems by A.S. Pushkin, M.Y. Lermontov, N.A. Nekrasov, the works of D.K. Ushinsky.

Ybyrai Altynsarin introduced into the Kazakh school all the best that was in the Russian educational literature. He suggested that teachers carefully select textbooks on history, geography, natural science and other subjects necessary for teaching children. For Kazakh schools, he recommended the following list of references (Sitdykrov A.A. 43-44 p.):

  1. Krylov I. A. «Fables»
  2. Kirpichnikov «Grammar»*
  3. Ushinsky D. K. «Children's world»
  4. Tolstoy L. N. «ABC and book for reading»
  5. Lubenets «Arithmetic»
  6. Yevtushevsky «Arithmetic»
  7. Putsykevich «Geography»
  8. Ostrogorsky «Brief Russian History»
  9. Bellyarminov «General history»
  10. Farmakovsky «Russian history»
  11. Gurevich «Historical anthology»
  12. Saint-Hilaire «Zoology»
  13. Gerd «Short Course in Mineralogy»
  14. Oliver «Botany»
  15. Educational atlas of natural history
  16. Elementary physics
  17. Zotov «Conversations about nature»
  18. Konstantinovich «Chemical conversations»
  19. Figier «The most important discoveries and inventions»

*(initials are not given in the sources)

The recommended lists for extracurricular reading in schools included popular science books on history, geography, physics, chemistry, and the natural sciences.

Ybyrai Altynsarin focused on the educational tasks of school and teachers' libraries. According to his ideas, they should become a true center of culture among the population and therefore it is necessary to use their funds as widely as possible, to turn libraries into public institutions. The purpose of libraries in schools, according to Altynsarin, is not only that only students and teachers use books from them, but that literate people who have completed the course have places in the steppe from where it is possible to take useful books and a guide to further education. He supplied libraries with books and textbooks himself.

Ybyrai Altynsarin took daily care of the spiritual growth of teachers, contributing in every way to increase their cultural level and improve their methodological training. He considered it mandatory for teachers to use methodological literature and pedagogical journals and, for the same purpose, acquires works of major scientists and prominent teachers for them, carefully studying and providing his reviews.

For example, for teachers of the Guryev region, they were subscribed to the magazines «Семья и школа» and «Народная школа». For school libraries, books such as Bobrovsky's "Pedagogy", "Systematic Review of Folk Educational Literature", Komensky's "Great Didactics", Bunakov's "Native Language", Korfa's "Our Friend", and Reklyu's "Terrestrial Land and Ocean" were purchased.

In the Russian-Kazakh schools in 1880-1883, Bunakov's textbooks – ABC-book and a book for reading «V shkole i doma (At school and at home)» - enjoyed the greatest success.

"I do not stop looking for ways to enrich the libraries of central schools in general, and I hope, sooner or later, to put them on a good level so that they can more or less satisfy the need of the literate part of the Kazakh people to engage in reading and self-study," Altynsarin wrote in one of his letters.

Thus, Ybyrai Altynsarin sought to make schools and libraries a center of culture and enlightenment of the Kazakh people. Under his leadership, in the educational institutions subordinate to him, good traditions have developed for the use of library funds in educational work.

According to available statistics, as of January 1, 1914, there were already 139 libraries with a total book fund of 98 thousand volumes throughout Kazakhstan. This number included all public libraries of the mass type, regardless of departmental affiliation. More than half of all literature – 50,300 volumes accounted for 44 city libraries and only 47,700 books were in 95 libraries of the rural area. And that was the direct merit of the great Ybyrai!


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Ситдыков, А.С. Педагогические идеи и просветительская деятельность И. Алтынсарина. – Алма-Ата: Мектеп, 1968. – 148с.


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