Ukrainian Cultural Preservation Fundraiser For The Cherkasy Library
Published: November 28, 2022 by Eori Tokunaga
As of July 2022, Dr. Ulia Gosart, Dr. Anthony Chow, and Dr. Sue Alman have been raising funds to continue supporting the efforts of librarians in Ukraine, following the SJSU iSchool symposium, “Ukrainian Libraries during the Ongoing Russian-Ukrainian War.” The GoFundMe fundraiser was created in collaboration with Liudmyla Diadyk to purchase and ship a high-end scanner for the Cherkasy library, which would allow librarians to preserve Ukrainian cultural artifacts that would go towards building the first National Digital Library of Ukraine. The GoFundMe page can be found here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/supporting-ukrainian-libraries.
Recent developments following the initial launch of the fundraiser have allowed Dr. Gosart and her team to purchase a lower-end scanner as a way to help the library preserve its cultural and intellectual heritage, while also serving internally displaced communities in the Cherkasy region.
The ultimate aim of the project is to share the children’s perceptions of the war with the rest of the world through an emerging digital repository and exhibitions in the U.S. This initiative started with a children’s art contest across the Cherkasy region and was dedicated to the “Den’ Zakhistnika – The Day of the Defender,” celebrated in Ukraine on October 14th. The video showcasing the best drawings from the competition can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrUIxgyxYmc
Throughout these several months of fundraising, Dr. Gosart has been working alongside a team of passionate individuals who are tirelessly furthering the efforts of libraries in Ukraine.
“Ukrainian children recognize the distinction between what is good and what should not be at all in this world! The dominating emotions and feelings demonstrated in the pictures are love-sympathy-help-support-thankfulness…All of this can be observed of us everywhere and every day. People take care of each other, of their pets – dogs, cats, all animals and birds…And we thank our defenders every day for every day we have!” – Natalia Rebiakova
“I wanted to get involved in supporting Ukraine in some way. I figured offering the knowledge that I’ve gathered through the MLIS program at SJSU would be a great start. I will be supporting Dr. Gosart with the gathering and organizing of literature for research surrounding internally displaced children and how it connects to our project to eventually present this project at conferences. In my opinion, it will be an opportunity to show how libraries can provide support to communities in need, regardless of their location.” -Solany Lara, SJSU iSchool MLIS Student
“Throughout the COVID pandemic, I was reminded of the value of libraries in serving their communities in times of crisis, especially in rural areas. I have long been interested in strengthening rural communities, both nationally and internationally. It was during the pandemic that I embarked on the MLIS degree at SJSU. After attending the Ukraine Libraries symposium, I contacted my professor, Dr. Alman, who put me in touch with Dr. Gosart who was very warm and welcoming. Dr. Gosart’s strong relationship with libraries in Ukraine, Cherkasy in particular, makes our work even more rewarding as it directly helps the libraries support their communities in both the short- and long-term. As a faculty leader and mentor Dr. Gosart is open to student ideas and interests and is a joy to work with on these initiatives. I look forward to our continued work to support the Ukrainian libraries during and after this war.” -Jennifer Hayes, SJSU iSchool MLIS Student
Moving forward, Dr. Gosart, Dr. Chow, and Dr. Alman hope to partner with Saving Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online (SUCHO) and with a colleague from PennWest Clarion’s Department of Information and Library Science to continue their efforts on supporting libraries in Ukraine. Currently, the plans are to collaborate with the SJSU Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, SUCHO, and the folks at PennWest to create an exhibition, and ultimately a digital collection of the children’s drawings. This collection is envisioned to become a memory site for Ukrainian people to employ to document their experiences and memories of the war.