Reading house (хата-читальня; khata-chytalnia). A rural cultural-educational institution founded in the initial years of Soviet rule in Ukraine. Reading houses replaced Prosvita-affiliated reading rooms, which were disbanded by the Soviet regime. Reading houses had libraries and were venues of political agitation, literacy classes, training in new farm techniques, and concerts and plays, often staged by local amateur theater groups. They were often the center for village Party and Komsomol organizations. In 1927 there were 6,203 reading houses in Soviet Ukraine. In the early 1950s reading houses were transformed into collective-farm clubs (see Collective farm) and palaces and houses of culture. By the 1960s reading houses remained only in a few isolated areas.
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]