Ukrainian library opens in 18 countries
Seven other countries have joined the Ukrainian Bookshelf project, which provides for the distribution of Ukrainian literature in the original language and its translations in the main libraries of the world. These are Jordan, Croatia, Lebanon, Japan, Spain, Belgium and Albania. The project was launched before the start of the large-scale Russian invasion by the First Lady Olena Zelenska with the Ministry of Foreign Affairsthe Ministry of Culture and Information Policythe Ukrainian Book Institute and Ukrainian embassies, which are responsible for delivering books to libraries.
For example, the National Library of Albania presented a selection of books on the history and culture of Ukraine, works of art by Ukrainian authors and children’s literature. Books on our country in French and English, as well as editions in Ukrainian, have been added to the Bibliothèque Communale Hergé in Brussels. Ukrainian-language editions and books on Ukraine in Arabic were handed over to the National Library of Jordan.
In the National Library of Spain, a presentation of a unique bilingual anthology of poetry and painting “Lump of Soil” took place, which includes works of Ukrainian classics. During the event, the Ukrainian Embassy donated several copies of the anthology to the library. The range of Ukrainian libraries will soon be expanded.
The Ukrainian book is also presented in Croatia. As reported by the Minister of Culture and Media of Croatia, Nina Obuljen Koržinek, the National Library plans to organize a “mother section” of Ukrainian books, which will be headed by a Ukrainian specialist. While a selection of books in Ukrainian have appeared here, the same “shelf” has been created at the National and University Library in Zagreb. On Independence Day another 20 books were presented to the Marko Marulic City Library in Split.
In Japan, the Ukrainian Library was launched in two cities at once. At the end of April, a space for Ukrainian citizens appeared in Yokohama – the Friends Cafe. During the opening ceremony, the Embassy of Ukraine in Japan presented a large selection of books. Additionally, a second mini-library was recently announced – in central Tokyo for evacuees. Here, volunteers translate Japanese books into Ukrainian, and Ukrainian editions will also be presented.
“The geography of our project has expanded considerably, because it does not matter to us whether there are currently hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian immigrants in the country, or just over a thousand, as in Japan. Now it is important that wherever Ukrainians live, a Ukrainian book also appears – as a bridge between the native house and the temporary home. As a testimony to foreigners: despite the war, we care about culture, because it is a basic need for us. And more – we care about preserving the language and the roots that the Russian invaders want to snatch from us,” Zelenska said.
The Ukrainian library in Lebanon will expand to other countries. The Ukrainian Embassy has prepared twenty translations of Ukrainian books and plans to send them to 14 Arab countries for transmission to major libraries. Among the publications are the poetic works of Vasyl Stus, the poetry of Ivan Franko, Beirut Stories by Ahatanhel Krymsky and other books that connect Ukrainian authors with the East.
New “shelves” have also appeared in countries where the project is already successfully implemented. In Austria, for example, the Ukrainian Embassy handed over Ukrainian-language art books for children and adults to the Wissensturm municipal library in Linz. The library assured that in the future it plans to purchase books itself from Ukrainian publishers.
In France, where the initiative has been implemented at the Center Pompidou in Paris, Ukrainian books will supply the National Library named after François Mitterrand. It stores over 220,000 print publications. It is one of the largest book collections in the world. The third “shelf” will appear in the University Library of Languages and Civilizations, the funds of which include about 1.5 million documents in 350 languages of the world, and Ukrainian will occupy an honorable place among them.
In total, Ukrainian shelves are available in 18 countries: Austria, Turkey, Lithuania, Slovakia, Sweden, Czech Republic, France, Netherlands, Greece, Latvia, Finland, Jordan, Croatia, Lebanon, Japan, Belgium, Albania, Spain . .