In a collaborative effort, the nonprofit organization Book Aid International has joined hands with PEN Ukraine, English PEN, and PEN International to bring a substantial donation of 25,000 new books to libraries in war-torn Ukraine. The initiative aims to bolster the literary resources available in the country, which has been grappling with the effects of conflict.
Anticipated to arrive in Kyiv by September, this shipment will traverse from Book Aid International’s South London warehouse to a central depot in the Ukrainian capital. From there, the books will be dispersed throughout the nation via the Unbreakable Ukrainian Libraries program. This program, initiated by PEN Ukraine in June 2022, seeks to fortify the accessibility of literature across the country.
Children’s literature will form the core of Book Aid International’s contribution, encompassing an array of genres including classics, art books, leisure reads, and English as a foreign language text (EFL). The selection of books aligns with the preferences articulated by PEN Ukraine.
Although there is an existing focus on children’s literature, the hope remains that the generosity of the international book industry will extend to encompass a broader range of literature and current nonfiction. This broader provision would cater not only to the young readers but also to the adults working tirelessly amidst the chaos and displacement caused by the ongoing conflict.
Book Aid International underscores the impact of the conflict on library facilities, with more than 570 institutions reportedly affected by Russian bombardments, leading to substantial loss of their collections. Through the Unbreakable Ukrainian Libraries initiative, books have found their way into libraries situated in Chernihiv, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Sumy, Dnipro, Kharkiv, and Donetsk.
The collaboration between Book Aid International and its partners underscores the significance of literature in times of adversity, as it endeavours to nurture a resilient literary environment within Ukraine’s embattled landscape.