Dialogue of East European Partners (DEEP)


Six Years of the Sabre-Svitlo Foundation:
General Overview of Book Donation Activity

Alexander Diedyk, Program Manager Sabre-Svitlo

Due to severe budget limitations, Ukrainian science, culture and education found themselves almost isolated from modern information sources. In these circumstances, book donation serves a unique function providing information which is otherwise generally unavailable. This is why it is hard to overestimate the generous support that the Sabre Foundation provides for Ukraine. Since 1990 more than 300,000 volumes of books and journals in various fields of knowledge were sent from the USA to Ukraine. These materials are in great and ever-increasing demand.

Initially registered as a regional institution, the Sabre-Svitlo Foundation managed to spread its activity throughout Ukraine. The central office and warehouse are situated in Lviv, with three branches in Kharkiv, Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk. From the outset, Sabre-Svitlo has endeavored to spread information concerning the availability of donated materials, including: sending catalogues and information sheets to the recipients; presentations; participation in various conferences and exhibitions; and using various forms of mass-media.

Sabre-Svitlo's display room, featuring donated books, is open to the public on a daily basis. This room has proven to be an effective and popular method of familiarizing potential recipients with materials available for selection.

In order to ensure a most efficient use of the donated materials, we distribute books according to two main principles. In the first place, each book must correspond to a specialization of a recipient. Secondly, users must provide as wide access to these books as possible. Sabre-Svitlo has developed a database of regular recipients to manage the book distribution process. This database contains information on recipients' fields of interest and enables us to distribute materials with optimal efficiency.

Today the network of recipients consists of more than 5,000 institutions and private persons. Among them are 66 National and Regional libraries, 72 universities, 107 scientific and research institutes, numerous schools, hospitals and other institutions. This network still grows. Thanks to the recipients' interest, in 1994 Sabre-Svitlo managed to distribute more than 54,000 volumes of books and journals. 41,016 volumes were donated during nine months of 1995.

Due to the current economic crisis, it is impossible for the recipients to arrange for the transportation of books which they have ordered. In 1994, Sabre-Svitlo had submitted a proposal on book distribution to the Eurasia Foundation. Thanks to the generous grant from the Eurasia Foundation, we were able to develop an improved book distribution system. More than 50,000 volumes of books and journals were delivered to the recipients during 12 months of 1994-1995. In May 1995, Vice-President of the Eurasia Foundation, Mr. Eugene S. Staples, had visited Sabre-Svitlo and encouraged our activity. CD-ROM disks have become popular information media during the last few years. They carry the latest information on the advances in various fields of knowledge. Considering the importance of modern means of communication, Sabre-Svitlo plans to develop new services based on CD-ROM and E-mail facilities. This project would enable Ukrainian readers to obtain almost immediately the information not yet available in paper edition.

Lack of funds is the main obstacle for Sabre-Svitlo's everyday activity. The main source for covering expenses are charitable donations by the recipient organizations themselves. These donations are very limited and, in any case, their value is decreasing due to increasing costs of operation in Ukraine. In addition, fund-raising for non-governmental organizations is limited due to imperfect legislation. On October 12, 1995, our representative participated in the meeting of Parliament Commission on Science of the Supreme Council of Ukraine and submitted a relevant proposal for draft law which is to be considered by the Commission.

In addition to book distribution, Sabre-Svitlo also carries out translation and publication of a set of books on business and economics. The Sabre Foundation provides copyright support while the William H. Donner Foundation ensured financial support of this project. The initial two books, Your Small Business Made Simple by Richard R. Gallagher and Do Your Own Market Research by Paul N. Hague and Peter Jackson, are already printed. Our plan is to issue the next three titles before 1996.

Sabre-Svitlo's activity is recognized by State and local authorities. Two years ago Ukrainian National Academy of Science and Lviv Regional Administration granted Sabre- Svitlo new premises. Now the new building is almost finished and we start to move into the new premises.

On behalf of our numerous recipients, we would like to greatly acknowledge the Board of Directors and Executives of Sabre Foundation, for their understanding of the problems and information needs of Ukraine and for assistance and fruitful cooperation. We are deeply indebted to the Eurasia Foundation, International Renaissance Foundation, National Endowment for Democracy, Ukrainian National Womens' League of America, Ukrainian National Association, Harvard Ukrainian Studies Fund, Americans for Human Rights in Ukraine (AHRU) and other organizations and private persons in the USA. Information sent by our American sponsors is an invaluable investment towards the development of science and education which aids Ukraine in joining the community of democratic societies.

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