Posted on November 28, 2022 by Eori Tokunaga
Since July 2022, Dr. Ulia Gosart, Dr. Anthony Chow, and Dr. Sue Alman have been fundraising to continue supporting the efforts of librarians in Ukraine, following the SJSU iSchool Symposium,”Ukrainian libraries during the ongoing Russo-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 help build Ukraine’s first national digital library. ‘Ukraine. The GoFundMe page can be found here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/supporting-ukrainian-libraries.
Recent developments following the initial fundraising launch have enabled Dr. Gosart and his team to purchase a low-end scanner to help the library preserve its cultural and intellectual heritage, while also serving the internally displaced communities in the Cherkasy region.
The ultimate goal of the project is to share children’s perceptions of war with the rest of the world through an emerging digital repository and exhibitions in the United States This initiative began with a children’s art competition across the region of Cherkasy and was dedicated to ‘Zakhistnika – Defender’s Day’, celebrated in Ukraine on October 14. The video presenting the best drawings of the competition is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrUIxgyxYmc
Throughout these several months of fundraising, Dr. Gosart has worked alongside a team of passionate people who tirelessly support 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 dominant emotions and feelings demonstrated in the images are love-sympathy-help-support-gratitude… All of these can be seen everywhere and every day. People take care of each other, their pets – dogs, cats, all animals and birds… And we thank our advocates every day for every day we have! – Natalia Rebiakova
“I wanted to get involved somehow in supporting Ukraine. I thought offering the knowledge I gained through the MLIS program to SJSU would be a great start. I will support Dr. Gosart in collecting and organizing literature for research on internally displaced children and how it connects to our project to possibly present this project at conferences. In my opinion, this 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 have been reminded of the value of libraries in serving their communities in times of crisis, especially in rural areas. I have a long interest in strengthening rural communities, both at the level national and international. 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 contact with Dr. Gosart who was very warm and welcoming Dr. Gosart’s close relationship with libraries in Ukraine, in Cherkasy in particular, makes our work even more rewarding as he directly helps libraries support their communities in the short term and long term. As a faculty leader and mentor, Dr. Gosart is open to the ideas and interests of students and is a pleasure to work with them on these initiatives. I look forward to our work to support Ukrainian libraries during and after this war. -Jennifer Hayes, SJSU iSchool MLIS Student
In the future, Dr. Gosart, Dr. Chow, and Dr. Alman hope to partner with Saving Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online (SUCHO) and a colleague from the Department of Information and Library Science at PennWest Clarion to continue their efforts. support for libraries in Ukraine. Currently, plans are to collaborate with the SJSU Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, SUCHO, and the folks at PennWest to create an exhibit, and eventually a digital collection of the children’s drawings. This collection is designed to become a memory site for Ukrainians to use to document their experiences and memories of the war.