Ukrainian librarians meet in Urbana-Champaign
by Jurij Dobczansky
URBANA-CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Over 100 participants, including a sizable delegation from Ukraine, gathered at the 16th annual Conference on Ukrainian Subjects at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. This year's themes were the Ukrainian language in contemporary Ukraine and library cooperation between Ukraine and North America.
While the language and literary experts convened on Friday, about 50 librarians, book publishers and information science experts attended the ongoing Slavic Librarians' Workshop that featured a special session devoted to Ukrainian library issues.
Conference sponsors included the University's Summer Research Laboratory, the Foundation for the Advancement of Ukrainian Studies at the University, the Shevchenko Scientific Society, the Ukrainian Library Association of America and First Security Federal Savings Bank (Chicago).
Saturday's library session opened with welcoming remarks by Dr. Dmytro Shtohryn, the principal conference organizer. The keynote address was delivered by Dr. John Van Oudenaren, chief of the European Division of the Library of Congress. Dr. Van Oudenaren outlined three areas in which the Library of Congress already cooperates with Ukraine: exchanges of books and especially hard-to-find sources on microfilm; exchange of personnel; and electronic communications technology.
There are currently 26 Ukrainian exchange partners in Kyiv and in the major cities and regions, with an additional 16 regional research libraries and three university libraries pending approval. Twenty additional libraries have been identified for future consideration. Exchanges of persons have included the U.S. Agency for International Development-funded program of cooperation between the Library's Congressional Research Service and the Ukrainian Parliament. Dr. Van Oudenaren also mentioned the Soros Foundation's Visiting Fellows Program and the Freedom Support Act Graduate Fellowship Program. Together, these programs have allowed 14 outstanding individuals from Ukraine to study library and information science in the United States. Concluding his remarks, Dr. Van Oudenaven stated:
"Library cooperation should be seen as just one aspect of a broader pattern of cooperation that exists at the political and economic level. The development of libraries and of a proper information infrastructure in Ukraine can assist with economic development, the promotion of investment, and with making democratic government more stable and effective. The Library of Congress stands ready to expand its cooperation with Ukraine, and I can give you assurances that my division is open to new partnerships and forms of cooperation."
Valentyna Pashkova, president of the Ukrainian Library Association and docent of the Kyiv State Institute of Culture, reported on the activities of the association and focused on the need for librarians in Ukraine to familiarize themselves with the latest information technologies. Jurij Dobczansky of the Library of Congress and president of the Ukrainian Library Association of America, reviewed the history of the association and called for a reorientation of its activity to meet the demands of the current and future information environment.
Bohdan Wynar, president of Libraries Unlimited, Inc., a publisher of library and information science texts and selected Ukrainian studies, spoke of book publication in English as it pertains to Ukraine and as practiced abroad. Oleksandr Afonin, president of the Ukrainian Publishers' Association and general director of Abris Publishing House (Kyiv), reported on the current problems of publication and book distribution in Ukraine. Liudmyla Rozumna, Lviv Stefanyk Research Library, spoke of the role of book conservation and preservation in maintaining a cultural heritage. Computerized systems of distributing donated books in Ukraine was the topic of Alexander Diedyk of the Sabre-Svitlo Foundation.
Sunday morning's session began with a presentation by John Sheridan, the American Library Association/United States Information Agency 1997 Library Fellow in Ukraine and head librarian of Colorado College. Joining him was Tetiana Bugasova, head of acquisitions at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy Library. They focused on the unique experience of working in a developing new university library. Luba Pendzey, University of Toronto Library, reported on the cooperative activities between her library and academic libraries and archives in Ukraine from 1990 to 1994. Stepan Horlach, Association of Canadian Friends of Ukraine, provided fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpses of organizing help for the libraries of eastern and southern Ukraine. Oksana Piaseckyj, University of Ottawa, gave an interesting overall assessment of Canadian efforts to aid Ukrainian libraries between 1990 and 1996.
In the afternoon, Yaroslav Senyk, USIA Freedom Support Act Program Fellow, gave his own perspectives of the manuscript division of the Stefanyk Scientific Library after a year of library studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington. Lev Goldenberg, formerly of the Vernadsky Library in Kyiv now living in Milwaukee, spoke of the theory and practice of developing a Ukrainian bibliographic repertory. Olena Bashun, Donetsk Regional Research Library, offered interesting views on public relations and fundraising in Ukrainian libraries. Olha Isaievych, director of the Lviv-based Sabre-Svitlo Foundation, discussed sources and problems of book donations and fundraising in Ukraine.
That evening, a re-organizational meeting of the Ukrainian Library Association of America was held. A board of directors was elected consisting of the following: Mr. Dobczansky, president, Tania Keis, vice-president, Areta Halibey, secretary, Theodore Caryk, treasurer, and Adriana Pilecky-Dekajlo, member of the board. The Auditing Committee includes Svitlana Andrushkiw, Lubow Wolynetz, and Halyna Myroniuk. Although there are presently more than 75 Ukrainian librarians in North America and Ukraine linked by electronic "listserv," a special effort will be made to attract a wider membership among librarians in the United States and Canada. Increased contact and communication will allow more effective sharing of expertise and coordination of library work. For further information or to subscribe to the listserv, contact email@example.com). A ULAA home page is under preparation and will soon be launched.
Monday morning's panel opened with a presentation on the teaching of Slavic bibliography at the University of Illinois by Robert Burger. Maria Valjo, Lviv Stefanyk Library, discussed problems of Slavic bibliography. Adriana Pilecky-Dekajlo, Center for Research Libraries, outlined the possibilities of cooperation in the context of the Slavic and East European Microfilm Project. Ivan Herassym, USIA Freedom Support Act Program Fellow at The Catholic University of America, gave a demonstration of an electronic multi-lingual dictionary of library and information science and related fields in computer science.
The afternoon session featured Mykola Senchenko, director of the Book Chamber of Ukraine, and his assistant Oleksii Vassiliev. They outlined a strategic plan of development to the year 2005 and discussed current information products and databases produced by this vital national center of bibliographic control. Inna Rykun, Odesa Regional Research Library (a repository library for literature on the exact sciences) presented various bibliographic guides to the marine biology of the Black Sea and bio-bibliographical works about Odesa's mathematicians and scientists. Vira Zahumenna, Kyiv State Institute of Culture, compared retrospective and current bibliographic efforts and discussed the problems of defining the scope of national bibliography when deciding on the inclusion of diaspora Ukrainica.
Monday evening's roundtable was devoted to the compilation and publication of the "Encyclopedia of the Ukrainian Diaspora." Panelists included Daria Markus of Chicago, Jaroslav Rozumnyj of the University of Winnipeg, Miroslav Semchyshyn of Chicago, and Dmytro Shtohryn.
Tuesday morning's session focused on library education and professionalism. Vasyl Sheyko, Kharkiv State Institute of Culture, reported on international relations and curriculum plans for library and information education in Ukraine. Yuri Afanasiev, Kyiv State Institute of Culture, spoke of humanistic and cultural principles in the training of librarians and information personnel. Valeriia Yurchenko, Transcarpathian Regional Medical Research Library, drew upon her own experience as a medical librarian in presenting the problems of professional preparation and training of staff for major research libraries.
That afternoon's roundtable was devoted to surveys of Ukrainian libraries and special collections in Canada and the United States. Participants included: Svitlana Andrushkiw of the Shevchenko Scientific Society Library in New York, Tamara Bulat of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in New York, Luba Pendzey of the University of Toronto Library, Oksana Piaseckyj of the University of Ottawa Library, Dmytro Shtohryn of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Jaryna Turko-Bodrock of the Harvard University Library, Lubow Wolynetz of the Ukrainian Catholic Diocesan Library of Stamford, Connecticut, and Bohdan Yasinsky of the European Division of the Library of Congress.
Wednesday's session focused on management of libraries. Tetiana Dolbenko, Kyiv Institute of Culture, spoke on the role of school and youth libraries. Jaryna Turko-Bodrock discussed management of a Slavic library. Halyna Myroniuk, Immigration History Research Center of the University of Minnesota, presented the center's Ukrainian-American collection. Anatoliy Brovkin, Vernadsky National Library, discussed management of a universal scientific library in Ukraine.
At the close of the conference a World Council of Ukrainian Librarians was formed to coordinate library and information activity at the international level. The council is headed by Mykola Senchenko of Kyiv (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). The following individuals were elected to the council : Olena Bashun (Donetsk), Anatoliy Brovkin (Kyiv), Mr. Dobczansky (Washington), Ms. Pashkova (Kyiv), Luba Pendzey (Toronto), Vasyl Sheyko (Kharkiv), and Maria Valjo (Lviv). Mykola Senchenko, editor of the monthly Visnyk Knyzhkovoyi Palaty, has agreed to edit and publish the proceedings of the library conference.
Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, August 17, 1997, No. 33, Vol. LXV
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