May 16, 2022

Report: “‘Islands of Hope’: Ukrainian Libraries Respond to Russian Invasion in Surprising and Heartbreaking Ways — Here’s How”

From UC Berkeley Library News:

Thousands of miles from UC Berkeley, in libraries across Ukraine, the squeak of shifted chairs has been replaced by the blare of air raid sirens, and the distant rattle of old pipes by the shudder of mortar shells.

That distressing reality came into sharper focus yesterday at “Voices from Ukraine,” a UC Berkeley Library event that centered the stories of 11 Ukrainian librarians and their colleagues. The featured speakers, representing a wide swath of the country, gave voice to their personal and professional challenges six weeks into the Russian invasion. The online event drew 300 participants from across the globe.

Fahrenheit 451 by (Ray) Bradbury comes to life in Ukraine today,” said Oksana Brui, president of the Ukrainian Library Association, as she described the burning of books in libraries in occupied territories. She also lamented the devastation of valuable cultural sites, including religious and historical buildings, monuments, museums, and libraries.

The Ukrainian Cultural Foundation, which developed an interactive map to document damage to those sites, had recorded 166 entries as of this publication.

Liladhar R. Pendse, UC Berkeley’s librarian for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, organized the event through numerous phone calls to Ukrainian colleagues. His aim was to give Ukrainian librarians the opportunity to describe what is happening in their country.

“The important thing is to hear from the people in the war zones, the information professionals, to give voice to them,” he said. “Because we see media reporting all sorts of things. But I want to see firsthand how the aggression against the country is targeting their cultural and historical heritage, and information infrastructure. And how they’re coping with the situation, as librarians.”

Learn More, Read the Complete UC Berkeley Library News Post, View Images (approx. 1000 words)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.