Scholarship of Engagement: Ukrainian Librarians
Published: May 15, 2023 by Dr. Ulia Gosart
While I was hired to develop classes and research in Indigenous librarianship, world events occasioned my work into a new direction. The war in Ukraine, the country where I grew up and have many friends, prompted me to apply my skills to support Ukrainian librarians. After a year of work I am excited to report that our collaboration made some difference in the life of Ukrainian people.
This journey included two iSchool symposia on the impact of the war on public libraries in Ukraine that raised awareness about the difficulties librarians face and their current needs; a fundraiser that supported a children’s drawing context in Cherkasy region in Central Ukraine, and helped purchasing a scanner for Cherkasy Regional library to help preserve cultural heritage. Our fundraiser was picked up by Saving Ukrainian Heritage Online (SUCHO) who fully equipped Cherkasy Regional library with digitization technology. Last month our fundraiser brought joy to children of Boyarka in Kiev region, when my colleague, a local children librarian, added new books to their collections.
I embraced an opportunity to turn my research into scholarship of engagement. Recently, I’ve shared these experiences in a Library Journal piece reporting on an impact of the war on Ukrainian public libraries and librarians. Now in partnership with Cherkasy library team we are working on a study to assess war experiences of librarians in the region and, possibly, evaluate digital technology needs of libraries. We plan to report our findings to SJSU iSchool community in the fall. Another exciting conversation is happening with SUCHO colleagues on development of the digital resources for Ukrainian libraries, focusing on Cherkasy Regional library as our test case. We are brainstorming about ways to link digital texts in Ukrainian located in the Internet Archive to the e-collections of Cherkasy Regional library and working with colleagues from the both institutions on that idea. I am grateful to our iSchool for all support and encouragement of my work on Ukrainian libraries.