"Newsletter for the Book Chamber of Ukraine", Volume 16, Number 10, October 1997.
Ol'ga Volodymyrivna Isayevych
director of the Ukrainian-American
charitable foundation "Sabre-Svitlo"
A kind of paradoxical situation has taken shape in Ukraine. Unlike communist times when the access to information was restricted by political and colonial censorship, nowadays the most tough restriction is economic crisis complemented with indifference of the authority structures.
On the one hand, the state regulates the freedom of market economy for the sake of high office's profits, on the other where it would be necessary to intrude, in order to protect book printing of its own, particularly that in the Ukrainian language, we can't expect the propitousness and support either from the government, or the Supreme Council with the local administrations .
In such a situation, when it has become next to impossible to get textbooks and scientific publications through bookstores and bibliographic collections, both because of their absence and the lack of money to buy them, the charity supply of books and periodicas to libraries and educational institutions (not only those published abroad but in Ukraine as well) has attained special importance.
Not wholly, of course, but much has been done in trying to fill in this gap by Ukrainian-American Charity Foundation "Sabre-Svitlo", which within 7 years of its work provided delivery and distribution throughout all the regions of Ukraine of over 400 thousand the most modern English publications and Ukrainian ones, which were donated by private persons and institutions in the USA and Canada, from nearly all the branches of human knowledge.
Each library, educational and scientific institutions try to get the necessary literature through their own networks independently. Notwithstanding that France, Germany, Austria, USA, Great Britain have opened their own small reading rooms in several cities of Ukraine, "Sabre-Svitlo" Foundation remains the only constant source of supplying the newest English publications on charity grounds to all the regions of Ukraine.
The distribution of this literature has come through the spontaneous process in the first months of its activity to the formation of the purposeful computerized system of allocation, having the aim of supplying as wide circle of users as possible in compliance with the range of their interests and trends of libraries' completing. The efficacious functionioning of this system is provided by computers, fax, telephone, e-mail. Yesterday our employee O. Diedyk told in details how this system of distribution has been formed and how it is functioning.
Annually the Foundation distributes from 45 to 70 thousand books, serving over 2 thousand collective and individual recipients. Among them there are 66 scientific libraries (such as the Vernads'ky National Scientific Library, the National Parliamentary Library, the National Medical Library, the L'viv Stephanyk Scientific Library of the Ukraine's National Academy of Sciencies, the State Historic Library, all the regional libraries, etc.), Ukrainian Legal Foundation, 85 higher institutions ( National Academy of Public Administrations at the President of Ukraine's office, Kyiv Mohyla Academy, State Universities of Kyiv, Dnipropetrovs'k, Kharkiv, Odesa, L'viv, Zaporizhzhya, Sumy, Chernivtsi, private institutes inclusive), 107 research institutes, numerous entrepreneur and medical institutions, departments of public education, schools, professionals and students from all the regions of Ukraine.
This literature enjoys a great demand. In 1996 there were only 250 written orders from different institutions and private persons received, not to say about numerous visitors, phone calls, and the subscription work of the Foundation within which about 1000 subscribers borrowed books in exchange for their passport. The clear automatized system, created in the Foundation, allows for collecting and processing the orders of the recipients, as well as tracing the demand on the publications in different fields of knowledge. The thematic structure of book allocating for the last three years is presented in table #3.
From the data given in the table one can conclude that the demand on the literature in English, economics and business remains stable and high. Then, it can be easily noticed the increase in interest to the reference literature, jurisprudence and law literature, books in psychology, sociology, biology and ecology. At the same time there is a noticeable decrease in interest to the literature in medicine, informatin studies and computer technologies. Such an information enables us to equalize appropriately the orders of literature. Besides, this is the ground for the purposeful seach for the new donors.
American donors of literature can conventionally be divided into three groups. The first comprise those, as a rule, non-governmental charitable organizations, which receive literature immediately from the publishers. Thanks to the favorable US legislative basis, the publishers are interested in transmitting them books, reducing their taxes in such a way. Various scientific institutions, which are involved in publishing, can also be related to this group. The literature from such donors reaches us in comparatively larger amount of copies, being contemporary and new.
Our main partner "Sabre Foundation" stays in cooperation with 180 publishers in the US and thanks to the efforts of its director Mrs. T.Vytvyts'ka has already shipped to Ukraine 18 twenty-ton cintainers with literature. We order these publications on the basis of "Sabre" catalogues according to the demand and needs of our recipients.
International Book Project (Lexington) ships literature according to the principle of branch selection. Filling in the specially elaborated form, we point to the branch of knowledge and the number of necessary samples. Then the workers of IBP mould the matching selection themselves, mailing books to us.
Thanks to the cooperation with New School for Social Research and Central European Journal Donation Project for already 3 years, we handle more than 150 scientific journals from the USA, England and Canada related to humanitarian, legal, economical and ecological problems. They are delivered to to the established by the Foundation reading room of periodicals in English at the L'viv University Scientific Library.
As a result of cooperation with New England Medical Association, the Foundation receives regularly 50 complete sets of the medical journal "New England Jounal of Medicine", which are shipped to the 26 medical scientific libraries, 12 medical universities, as well as specialized hospitals and research institutes in Ukraine.
In 1996, the NATO' s office of information and press delivered 450 samples of the annualy NATO's publications on the problems of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, which were transferred to the leading libraries, universities and research institutes. This literature found its readers at once, as it is dedicated to the crucial problems of transformation in the former Soviet Union.
On the initiative of Mr. S.Monagan, the World Book Publishers donated to the Foundation, more than 1000 complete sets of the 22 - volume "The World Book Encyclopaedia" by 1994 year of edition, containing the objective information about Ukraine.
The initiating Ukrainian program of "Sabre Foundation" is to a great extent the merit of the Ukrainian Diaspora. The Union of the Ukrainian Women of America, the Ukrainian People's Union of the USA (UPU), the Fund of Harvard Ukrainian Studies, the Association for protection of human rights in Ukraine were our first sponsors, which in many ways supported the work of the Foundation. The UPU transmitted to the Foundation 70 complete sets of the English language Ukrainian Encyclopaedia, the UPU's almanacs and the children's magazine "Veselka".
We have regular delivery of the Harvard Ukrainian Institute's publications. Among their recipients are the Ukraine's Ministry of Education, the Institute of Archeography of the Ukraine's Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Etnography, the Institute of Philosophy, the editor's office of the "Pamyatky Ukrainy" Journal, the Institute of Oriental Studies, the Libraries of the Diaspora in Kyiv and L'viv, the Institute of Ukrainian Studies of the Ukraine's Academy of Sciences, the Institute of History of Church, the L'viv Theological Academy, the Institute of Historic Studies at the L'viv University, the Ukrainian Library in Moscow and many other Institutions.
The precious collections have been shipped from the New York UVU, the Lypyns'ky Institute in Philadelphia, the Shevchenko Scientific Association and the Historical Scientific Association in the USA, the "Suchasnist'"Publishers and the "Prolog" Publishers, the compatriots' unions "Nadbuzhanshchyna", "Lemkivshchyna", "Stryishchyna", Hutsul'shchyna", the Canadian Commission on education and culture and others.
The second group comprise libraries, which deliver their dublicates. The importance of this group is determined very frequently by very precious publications shipped. For example, in 1995, the New York Public Library donated to the Foundation its 800 volume ctalogue, which was transferred to the Vernads'ky National Scientific Library. The delivery took place in the solemn atmosphere, with the Embassador James Miller being present at the meeting. The donated by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology encyclopaedia of science and technique together with the complete set of annual supplements was handled to the L'viv Politechnical University. The library of the Columbia University shipped over 600 samples of publications in library studies which were transferred to the Vernads'ky Library. A unique selection of rare Ukrainian publications has been delivered to the Foundation by the Harvard Widener Library this year, and we can continue this list further. It is worth while noticing that the delivery of literature to the Ukrainian Legal Foundation was twice conducted with the participation of the American Embassador - James Miller, while the the Library of the L'viv regional administration was opened in the presence of the American atache in the issues of culture.
The third group consists of the persons and institutions who cooperate with Ukrainian partners, and, for the most part, prepare the matching literature for the definite recipients in advance. Thanks to the efforts of Ukrainians from the USA, through our Foundation literature reaches many addressees all over Ukraine. From the very beginning there was a cooperation with the Union of the Ukrainian Women established. Thousands of Ukrainian publications were collected among Ukrainian contributors, packed and shipped to "Sabre" by activists from SUA Parma Ohio, Cleaveland, Bridgeport, Philadelphia, Rochester, New York, Detroit, etc. Thanks to the Ukrainian Women's Union there were the complete sets of the Encyclopaedia Americana, the Encyclopaedia Britanika, the 10 volume Saryl Ukrainian Encyclopaedia, and the Annels of the UPA delivered.
Due to the pains of the President of the Ukrainian Free University Mr. Petro Goi, the L'viv State University received more than 10 thousand valuable books. More than 400 volumes with the literary works of I.Bagryany and P.Gygorenko were transferred by Ol'zhych Foundation from the USA to the Ukrainian Association of Writers. Thanks to Mr. Maryan Kots' patronage there was Avramenko's Archives as well as the Kuras Library delivered to Ukraine. Mr. Shyprynkevych organizied the delivery of Petro Mehyk's artistic heritage, and the wife of the poet O.Tarnavs'ky - Mrs. Marta Tarnavs'ka transmitted to the Foundation his last collection of poems "Slovo" for its further distribution. This list can be extended and extended.
"Sabre Foundation" pays for the delivery of the donated literature to L'viv. The burden of further distribution of this freight lies completely on the shoulders of "Sabre-Svitlo" Foundation. At the very beginning of its existence, when the budget and educational institutions received some financing, there existed possibility of literature delivery at their expence. Nowadays, the situation deteriorated so much that the Foundation, having no constant financing, has to solve this problem on its own. It's the common problem for all the book publishers in Ukraine. The mail and railway expences increased 15 times. But it's not the only problem. In the conditions of impoverishment people droop in spirits, while there increase apathy and inertion, and this is very dangerous phenomena.
So, for us, there are two possible ways of solving this problem: 1) gaining grants for covering the expences on the mail, railway and autotransportation;
2) looking for the sponsors , who could deliver the the freight free of charge.
In 1994 the Eurasia Foundation approved of our project, which presupposed the creation and payment of the system of literature delivery to our users. Thanks to this cooperation we managed to distribute 50 481 samples of books and journals. For the first time since the Foundation's establishing, the freights were delivered to the recipients in all the regions of Ukraine. Taking into account the importance of the project and the positive experience of work, the Eurasia Foundation, having broken its principle of giving only one-time grant, agreed to prolong the financing for 1996. Notwithstanding the constant increase in shipment prices the Foundation managed to provide the allocation of 50 561 books to the recipients in all the regions of Ukraine in 1996 as well.
The Eurasia grants covered far not all the expences, connected with the distribution of such a quantity of literature. We would have never achieved such a result but for the help of the very concerned people - the Head of the L'viv Regional Department of the State Property Fund Mr. Stepan Davymuka, the Head of the L'viv Railway Mr. Georgiy Kyrpa, Director of the private firm 'Informational Systems" Mr. Gennadiy Sudorygin, the Deputy Head of the L'viv Tax Administration Mr. Volodymyr Yavors'ky and others, who favoured a lot in the free of charge shipment of multi-ton freights.
The librarians must know well what a scrupulous work the book mass processing is. If it is 40 tons a year or even more, and over 1.5 thousand titles for at least thousand receivers, one could imagine the tensity of conditions the Foundation works in. At this complicated, sometimes hopeless time, when there is no gryvnya on the account, there are no costs not only for transportation, wages to the emplyees, but for the phone accounts, and one has to work only on the bare enthusiasm.
While the recipients haven't had possibility to support the Foundation of late, having no more money from the grant, we've tried to find the support amog people. We, first of all, make presentations and exhibitions at the conferences, schools, take part at the thematic branch exhibitions, where individual recipients give charity endowments, thanks to which we have the possibility to deliver books to libraries and institutes. But these comings are miserable and can't fully provide the activities of "Sabre-Svitlo".
Anyway, sending 20 boxes of books to the exhibition "Svit Dytynstva" ("The World of Childhood") in Kyiv, thanks to the endowments from the previous exhibition in Ivano-Frankivs'k, we paid for the transportation of the 2 thousand books for the 12 institutions in Kyiv, including the National Parliamentary Library, the Vernads'ky National Scientific Library, Kyiv University, Politechnical Institute, medical institutions and institutes of the Ukraine's Academy of Sciences. Now we waiting for at least feedback response or thanks, as it has come also rarely of late.
Notwithstanding great difficulties we receive a great satisfaction from our work. Being conscious of that our literature is needed by our recipients, as well as it opposes to the superiority of the Russain, adds forces to us. The feedback connection with recipients shows how efficaciously our literature has been used. Quite frequently it is the basis for creating new courses at the Universities and Institutes, students write their course papers and graduation papers, get foreign scholarships, and what is not less important, this literature serves the matter of learning and improving the knowledge of English, passing TOEFL tests, etc.
Doctors and research workers aply to us for help, finding at our Foundation the only salvation. Many dissertations have been defended thanks to the literature used in economy, law, sociology and other areas. The list of thanks, supporting responses, requests and invitations to take part in the conferences would take a lot of time to ennumerate.
Here is only one fresh response by the famous doctor-nevrologist from L'viv Matil'da Oleksandrivna Babad-Ogly. "Only thanks to the literature from your Foundation I got acquainted with the modern trends of treating and only you opened me the way to the participation in many prestigious international conferences, where I feel myself on terms of equality with other specialists".
On the example of our Foundation it is seen how non-profit public organization can act very often more effectively than state bureaucratized structures. The fate of the non-profit organizations in contemporary Ukraine is not easy yet, and bureaucrats frequently treat us worse than corrupted firms which feed them with bribes. People have broken from habit of having the true public intiative, and it is being revived very slowly. That's why the consultations and examples of such organizations as SUA and other diaspora unions had such a great importance for us. On the other hand, we were glad to see that our visitors, including those from abroad, treated "Sabre-Svitlo" as a true public organization, considering it as an example for imitation, emphasizing that the "third sector" in Ukraine should develop in such a way, and its importance one can hardly overestimate.
Lord, give us only forces and inspiration to stand fast and survive in such difficult conditions, which Ukraine faces nowadays.