20 years into the post-Soviet era, Ukraine continues to transition to new attitudes and practices. Libraries are not immune to the massive impact this change has had on every aspect of life in the country. Some still look to the state to solve every perceived problem. Others described how laws and regulations make it difficult for libraries to buy books, not to mention the restrictions on buying econtent which means people are already turning to downloading unauthorized copies of books in massive numbers because the titles they want aren’t readily available for sale or loan at libraries. Where the law fails to keep up, people will find a way to get what they want. Political ideologies also play a role here: Julia Tymoshenko, Ukraine’s former Prime Minister who is now in jail, is supported by some librarians because she approved a law to raise librarian salaries while she was in office.
Yet, there are many examples of innovation at libraries across the country, showcased at the Library Innovation Fair on Monday. A great number of these examples were from beyond Kyiv. The association, too, has worked hard to increase activity in the regions across the country and to form new chapters and groups beyond the capital. In a country as large as Ukraine, that’s essential.
Generational change is a major issue. A great number of librarians are on the cusp of retirement, yet the number of new professionals entering is small. Add to this generational differences from those who lived and worked during different times, and those who grew up after it, and there is a great divide to be bridged.
Yesterday, we met with a group of new young (and they were all young!) librarians and asked them about their vision for the future. They talked about campaigns for libraries, using radio to communicate with uses, reading promotion, film making and using social media. Their ideas are forward thinking, but realistic. I hope they will have the opportunity to put them into practice.
Originally published on the semanticlibrary.net blog