Report: “How Ukraine’s Librarians Mobilised to Fight the Russian Culture War”
From The Scotsman:
Within days, libraries across the country had set up initiatives to supply books to citizens sheltering in underground Metro stations, had created centres for refugees displaced within Ukraine in library buildings and diversified to set up to act as hubs to supply military equipment and essentials to the hastily-formed army.
“Crazy Ukrainian librarians,” says Oksana Boiarynova, a member of the Ukrainian Library Association Board, who is on a visit to Scotland – planned and funded before the war – to share ideas about how libraries can support democracy. “They are very creative.”
Since the invasion began in February, 60 Ukrainian libraries have been destroyed, while more than 230 others have been damaged by shelling and fighting. Official figures do not include those libraries within cities which have been almost entirely destroyed under Russian occupation, such as Mariupol, as Ukrainian authorities have not been able to access them to assess the damage. It is likely, however, that they, too, have been wiped out.
The Ukrainian Library Association has joined forces with the Library Country Charitable Foundation to establish a fund to provide financial aid to librarians living in or near the front line fighting. A total of 150 library workers have benefited from the $10,000 of donations, to help them pay for essential costs such as the rental of temporary accommodation after being forced to flee their homes, as well as buying medicine, clothes and food. Funds have also been gathered from international bodies to prepare for rebuilding libraries after the war ends. Librarians have been encouraged as a group to join in a national drive to collect contemporaneous information, documents and stories about the war for the National Digital Library of Ukraine. The project, called My War, has seen more than 3,000 personal stories published by the beginning of July, according to the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.