Sabre Reaches Out -- In New Ways, to More People

Over the past decade, Sabre Foundation's support of free institutions abroad has grown to encompass a variety of programs to assist research, teaching and communication in the natural sciences, technology, medicine, legal studies, and the humanities. Operations are still mainly in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union (FSU), but now include selected countries in other parts of the world.
Warsaw University students
Warsaw University students, beneficiaries of Sabre assistance -- from books and conferences beginning in 1986 to a legal philosophy Fellowship in 1996

An early geographic landmark was Warsaw, where a Sabre Philosophy of Institutions project in the early 1980s prompted requests from Polish physicians, researchers, teachers and students who were hungry for new English- language text and reference books but short of hard currency. From those beginnings, the Book Donation Program was born. Since 1986 it has brought nearly three million books and journals from some 200 donating publishers to recipients in fifteen principal program countries, and -- through the Peace Corps, the Asia Foundation, Books for Africa, the World Bank Book Project, and other distributing partners -- to additional countries in Eastern Europe, the FSU, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Sabre's book donation partners in turn made us aware of other local needs, and in response several new initiatives were launched, including the Reduced-Cost Journals Service, the Low-Cost Purchase Program and Matching Fund, the Translation and Publication Program, and -- most important -- the Internet-based Technical Assistance Project (now known as Library and Information Technology Services).

These various programs -- which complement and overlap one another -- are grouped for administration under the Scientific Assistance Project (from the common Eastern European use of "science" to refer to any disciplined branch of knowledge). Each has been described at length in previous Sabre annual reports. The present report emphasizes 1995 developments, as well as plans and prospects for 1996 and beyond.

1995 Highlights

Book Donation Programs

Sabre's book donation programs are managed in-country by local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with links to academic, library, charitable or professional institutions. These Partners, along with other Sabre collaborators (listed at the back of this report), are responsible for choosing, receiving, warehousing and distributing books in their countries.
The shipping process: Above, Ralf Morales, Sabre Warehouse Supervisor, prepares a container shipment. Below, volunteers unload titles donated World Book encyclopedias from a hospital ambulance in Zagreb, Croatia

Sabre's staff works with the Partners to define areas of interest in each country. This information is used to solicit donations of new books and journals from U.S. and European publishers, and academic and professional societies, as well as the donation of special collections from universities and individual scholars. Offering lists of available materials are then communicated by Sabre to its partners, mainly by electronic mail, and partners respond with their selections of and quantities. These orders are packed and shipped in 20- or 40-foot sea containers from Sabre's warehouse facilities at Dunn & Co., Inc., in Clinton, Massachusetts.

Some 200 publishers have participated in the program since 1986, donating books in such fields as the arts and literature, business and economics, English language and education, geography and the environment, history, law and government, library science and reference, medicine and nursing, science and technology, and the social sciences. Most of the books are new, unremaindered college- and professional- level titles, but the component of elementary and high-school books is growing. Many publishers' donations come under a provision of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code (sec. 170(e)(3)) which gives favorable tax treatment to donations of current inventory to charitable organizations serving the needy, the ill, and children. The books are generally in English, the second language of choice in the countries served by Sabre, but some Spanish-language elementary books have recently been made available.

Besides new books and journals, Sabre also receives donations of special collections designated for institutions seeking to create specialized libraries or to enhance their holdings in specific areas. In 1995, Sabre facilitated special collections donation in such fields as architectural conservation, art, bibliographic reference, business, economics, engineering, food technology, history, law, linguistics, literature, medicine, ornithology, physics, philosophy, psychology and social science. (Donors of special collections received during the year are listed on page 18 of this report.)

Unusually large book donations from a few publishers enhanced Sabre's ability to collaborate with other U.S. organizations -- included in the list opposite the inside back cover of this report -- active in Africa, Asia and Latin America, as well as in the former Eastern bloc.

Dialogue of East European Partners (DEEP)

Miklós Fogarassy, Director of Sabre-Hungary Alapitvány

After a decade of field work in the Book Donation Program, each of Sabre's partner organizations had accumulated a wealth of experience and a fair inventory of recurring operational problems and questions. To compare notes and share prescriptions for common concerns, with the aim of further improving the professionalism and effectiveness of book donation programs, delegates from Sabre and its principal partners in eight countries met in Budapest the first week in November. Central and Eastern European countries represented were Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine.

The meeting, held at the National Széchényi Library, was hosted by Sabre-Hungary Alapitvány, with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

At the conclusion of the conference, the participants unanimously subscribed to a "Budapest Declaration," containing these salient points:

A full printed report on the DEEP conference can be obtained on request from Sabre's Cambridge office. It is also available on-line at Sabre Foundation's World Wide Web site at http://www.sabre.org

Journals Programs

Ladislav Venys, Director, Center for Democracy and Free Enterprise, Prague, in Legal Resource Center with Sabre Project Director Tania Vitvitsky

The Reduced-Cost Journals Service was developed under a larger two-year grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for library support in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. Sabre later added Bulgaria and Croatia at the request of local partners. The Service was launched on a pilot basis in the Czech Republic during 1993, with the help of the Prague Institute of Advanced Studies, and the full program beganin 1994 for the 1995-97 subscription years. It provides reduced-cost subscriptions to journals in science, technology and medicine, which are especially valued by libraries in Central and Eastern Europe. Sabre has secured agreements from U.S. and European commercial publishers of scientific journals for three-year discounts of at least 50 percent on new institutional subscriptions to more than 2,500 serial titles.

The original participants -- Elsevier Science/Pergamon Press, Blackwell Scientific, Springer-Verlag and John Wiley & Sons -- were later joined by Butterworth Heinemann, Churchill Livingstone, Erlbaum Publishers, ISI Publications, IOS Press, Pergamon Press, and VSP Science Publishers. The British subscription agency Blackwell's processes orders at a reduced fee, and the recipient libraries themselves have made financial commitments of some $600,000, of which $194,000 was paid as of 1995. The pay-as-you-go feature is part of Sabre's effort to move its clients to market-based acquisitions.

Low-Cost Purchase Program and Matching Fund

Under the Low-Cost Purchase Program, started in 1991, Sabre purchases requested materials at substantial discounts from list prices. This program has been made available to all of the countries served by Sabre Foundation, provided sponsored funding is available.

Sabre's Matching Fund was established in 1991 with a contribution of $100,000 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to facilitate purchases of materials not usually received through donations. The remaining balance was expended in 1995, the Fund's final year, by two grants: one of $2,074 to match funds from the National Széchényi Library in Budapest for the purchase of foreign language books for its library, and another of $1,437 to match funds raised by The Foundation for a Civil Society for ESL materials for its Czech and Slovak English teaching programs.

Library and Information Technology Services

The fastest growing segment of Sabre's operations during 1995 were the technology-related programs involving document delivery, technical assistance and training, and library-building activities, which now represent roughly one- third of the Foundation's annual cash budget. These services encompass a broad range of projects:

The Translation and Publication Program

Khrystyna Palanytsia of Sabre-Svitlo with display of Donner business books at Forum of Ukrainian Publishers in L'viv in September

1995 marked the publication by Sabre-Svitlo of four Ukrainian-language translations in their "Library of Small Business" series: Your Small Business Made Simple, by Richard Gallagher; The Greatest Little Business Book, by Peter Hingston; Do Your Own Market Research, by Paul Hague and Peter Jackson; and Economics in One Lesson, by Henry Hazlitt. (The fifth title, The Greatest Sales and Marketing Book, by Peter Hingston, completed the series in 1996.) The William H. Donner Foundation funded costs of rights, translations and printing, as they had done for a similar Sabre project in Poland.

These books -- printed in L'viv in attractive paperback format -- are aimed at the growing number of business managers and entrepreneurs in the private sector of the Ukrainian economy. The volumes were favorably received by the Ukrainian business press, by economic and management specialists, and by book fair participants.

Editorial director of the project was Mrs. Olha Isaievych, who had the help of Alexander Diedyk, Igor Smolyaninov, and a team of free-lance translators. Sabre Foundation negotiated the foreign-language rights agreements with U.S. and U.K. publishers and maintained liaison with the Ukrainian partners.

The Philosophy of Institutions Project

Sabre's work in book donation in Eastern Europe began with a philosophical interest: the achievements of a famous school of Polish philosophers and logicians who traced their origins to turn-of-the-century students of Kazimierz Twardowski in Lemberg, then a regional capital of Austria-Hungary. (The city has subsequently borne the names Lwów, Lvov and L'viv in its Polish, Soviet and Ukrainian phases.)
Polish co-chairs of Centenary Conference, Jan Wolenski and Andrzej Grzegorczyk, place commemorative banner at gravestone of Kazimierz Twardowski in Polish Cemetery of L'viv, Ukraine (Photo by Professor Emeritus Tadeusz Pszczolowski)

Philosophers of what came to be called the Lwów-Warsaw School migrated to Warsaw after Polish independence and helped make that city, along with Vienna and Cambridge, England, one of the three centers for mathematical logic in the interwar period. An offshoot of the School was the field of praxiology, an attempt at a logically grounded theory of effective action.

It was during scholarly exchanges with the followers of the Lwów-Warsaw School in the 1980s that Sabre's Josiah Lee Auspitz first sought to fill the need for advanced texts from the West, in an effort that grew into the Foundation's current Scientific Assistance Project.

In 1995, 166 scholars from East and West Europe, Australia and the Americas contributed philosophical papers in L'viv and Warsaw to a week-long conference to mark the 100th anniversary of Twardowski's inaugural lecture. The conference participants were ferried by motor coach between Poland and Ukraine, in an unusual two-city format. The conference became a regional cultural event, and a notable example of Ukrainian-Polish cooperation.

Mr. Auspitz chaired a panel and contributed a paper to the proceedings, as part of his ongoing philosophical work under the aegis of the Sabre and Earhart Foundations. The Ukrainian co-chair of the conference was Iaroslaw Isaievych, who also serves as chairman of Sabre-Svitlo. In 1991, Auspitz and Isaievych were involved in organizing an international conference in L'viv, with panels devoted to Twardowski, which laid the groundwork for the larger 1995 centenary event.

Fellows Program

Subject to the availability of funds, Sabre will make fellowships available in "the philosophy and practice of free institutions." The stress is on grantee-designed projects that have other support, enabling Sabre to play a facilitating role. Two Sabre Fellows were named in 1995:

Staff, Foreign Partners and Advisors

John Emery joined Sabre's staff as a Program Assistant in the spring of 1995. In addition to providing administrative and logistical support for the Scientific Assistance Project, he is working to develop book donation programs for Tibetan schools in India and Nepal. Born in Nepal, he studied in Katmandu for one year through the University of Wisconsin's College Year in Nepal program.

Sabre's partner organizations in the field function with the service of many full- and part-time staffers, volunteers and advisors. Space limitations prevent the mention of every one of them here, but we want to acknowledge our special indebtedness to the following individuals for their valuable assistance during 1995: in Belarus, Vladimir Dounaev, Lidia Kategova, and Olga and Théo Ruys;
Sabre Program Assistant John Emery gives a warehouse tour to Marcela Groseková of SAIA-SCTS, Bratislava, Slovakia
in Belgium, George Bustin, Laurent Garzaniti and Manoëlle de Foy (all of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton) and Ward Detiège; in Bulgaria, Christina Nedeva, Boryana Savova, Ognian Shentov and Joana Staleva; in Croatia, Helena Pavic and Davor Sovagovic; in the Czech Republic, Ladislav Venys, Hugo Schreiber and Lucie Bednárová in Estonia, Marika Karo; in Germany, Kurt Lauk.

In Hungary, Miklós Fogarassy, Katalin Kovács, Judit Skalitzky and Gábor Vályi; in Kazakstan, Assan Nougmanov and Gaziz Nougmanov; in the Kyrgyz Republic, Jacque and Norm Friberg and David Fricke; in Latvia, Silvija Linina and Antra Purina; in Lithuania, Ona Taluntyté and Elena Kosinskiene; in Poland, Jacek Holówka, Jaroslaw Pasek, Janusz Siek and Anna Trojanowska-Bitka; in Slovakia, David Daniel, Pavol Demes, Marcela Grosekova and Katarina Kost'álová ; in Ukraine, Iaroslaw and Olha Isaievych, Alexander Diedyk and Khrystyna Palanytsia; and in Uzbekistan, Rex McDonald and Norma Polanco.