As Russia continues to destroy Ukrainian culture, Ukrainians are ensuring that their heritage, including literature, is preserved abroad.
The Kyiv Lesia Ukrainka Public Library launched a specialized project called “Books Following You” (#Книжки_вслід), which aims to deliver books to children and adolescents who have fled as a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Initiated in March, the project is made up of a host of partners, including ordinary readers, various worldwide libraries, publishing houses and volunteers. Among them are the Ukrainian publishing house “Klio”, the Ukrainian Library Association, the Scientific Library of the M. Maksymovych Taras Shevchenko National University, and others.
Although the initiative is community-based, it has managed to deliver over 2,000 Ukrainian books to the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, and other European countries where no Ukrainian material is available at public libraries.
As a result, Ukrainian children living in cities like Prague, Karlsruhe, Leipzig, and Klaipėda have access to Ukrainian publications, with Cologne becoming the latest city to receive 300 books as part of the initiative. A German volunteer agreed to deliver them from L’viv.
The libraries are now eyeing more countries, including Spain and Finland, where Kyiv’s twin city Tampere is located.
To participate in the project, individuals can either bring their books to Turhenevska Street 83-85 in Kyiv or send them by mail to: Volodymyr Trofymenko, Nova Poshta #358, using telephone number +380681393141 as a reference.
The project comes at a time when Russia continues to devastate the temporarily occupied territories, destroying monuments and burning books. This behavior prompted a Ukrainian official to describe the Russians as locusts.
According to the United Nations, more than five million Ukrainians have fled the country since Russia launched an all-out war on Ukraine on Feb. 24, with most refugees settling in Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic.
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