Skip to content Skip to footer


The war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine has revived memories – Russia’s goal is the genocide of Ukrainian identity and culture. We see this with our own eyes – destroyed universities, schools, museums and libraries, and Ukrainian books in the occupied territory. The Skovoroda Museum in the Kharkiv region, the museum near Kyiv that burned down along with Maria Prymachenko’s paintings, the damaged art museum in Odesa. Destroyed libraries in dozens of Ukrainian cities. One of the first things the occupiers do is import Russian textbooks.

In response to this, Ukrainian society has an extremely acute demand for culture and literature – in fact, for rethinking and transforming values. Most of all, we want to be in contact with living carriers of values and with books and art, which help us become accomplices in the creation of new meanings. Books are sold out, live lectures and discussions gather a full house.

We are currently developing and implementing a large project to transform and strengthen changes in libraries. Libraries are a potential meeting place for the living word. A place of growth and transformation of society. These are spaces that exist in every district of the city and in the region, places where people can create, comprehend, join, share, interpret, and touch.

Library Project

Grundtvig advised us to talk to people as equals, even if they know and understand less than we do. This is the only way we can achieve development. And the main idea is that the development is mutual. 

Today, a window of opportunity is opening up for libraries in Ukraine. The old system of library organisation has completely exhausted its resources. It is time to build a new system. We need not only role models, but also a different concept of what a library is, who a librarian is, and how to work with visitors. This requires a new set of competencies.

But we are also talking about a new library culture. We need to remove the barrier that currently separates the reader from the librarian. Modern libraries should become not just places for storing books, but living centres of social life, where everyone can find something useful and interesting. Our strategy is aimed at reviving libraries as active participants in the cultural and educational life of the community, contributing to the formation of an open, informed society.

The relationship between libraries and the state also needs to change. Today there are many tools for attracting grants, sponsorships, and organisational assistance. Librarians need to master them.

We have reason to believe that the government will not be able to reform libraries alone. That is why we have developed a strategy of changes that can be implemented by 2030 in cooperation with local authorities, NGOs, and the Library Association of Ukraine. Our elaborations are based on a detailed study of the state of libraries in Ukraine, their history and responses to the current challenges of the war. You can read more information on our report on the state of libraries here.

We formulated the goal of our strategy as a slogan: We share with Ukrainian libraries all the instruments (NGOs tools, business innovations, foreign cases of success etc) we have and in seven years libraries will have their own factory. Our contribution to library reform includes:

1st step

Collecting data on the problems, needs, and visions of library development. This work is already underway;

2nd step
Program development

Create an educational and networking program for librarians to train them and make them meet on a regular basis. Make sure that the impetus for development comes not only from librarians but also from the initiatives of active citizens, NGOs activists and municipalities. Democracy begins where the voice of a living, active person is taken into account.

3rd step

Building communities of experience exchange and lively discussion for libraries, NGO and other beneficiaries in Ukraine and around the world. It is important to ensure a constant exchange of experience, online and offline meetings, networking, and trips with progressive librarians in Ukraine and other countries.

4th step
Educational Program

Implementation of educational and discussion programs for librarians in conjunction with educational programs for communities. Combining the efforts of activist communities, municipalities, and libraries to develop joint sustainable development projects.

5th step
Mentoring Communities

Mentoring support for libraries. We are ready to help them find finance and partners to ensure sustainable development. Working together on a management and marketing strategy for the development of individual libraries. Defining the audience portrait, forming a base of stakeholders and beneficiaries. Defining long-term development goals;

6th step
Expand in Other Regions

Scaling the project deeper into the region and beyond the region to the national level.

In our strategy, which we propose for implementation and which is based on the analysis of successful experience and issues of library development, we have covered a wide range of aspects related to the reform and development of library systems in Odesa and other cities of Ukraine, pointing out key challenges and opportunities. Our strategy takes into account not only the need for material and technical resources, but also the importance of community development, partnerships between libraries, NGOs, and local authorities. We also emphasise the importance of digital transformation and marketing efforts to promote libraries as active centres of community life.

Our intention is not only to make individual libraries successful, and to make their work a model for others. The “success stories” of individual libraries (grants received, partnerships concluded, examples of work with sponsors, modernization of library spaces and expansion of the book assortment) will generate a steady interest in the project and gradual involvement of more teams. But what is also important is a general change in the concept of perception of libraries in society and their transformation into an open platform for the living word and the development of society through the exchange of information and dialogue.

This initiative can have a great impact on the social and cultural environment in the region, facilitating access to education, information, and open dialogue between citizens. Our strategy emphasises the importance of adapting libraries to the modern needs of the community, transforming them into more flexible, interactive, and open spaces for learning, exchange of ideas, and cultural enrichment.

We are convinced that demonstrating the possibilities of a new format of library work, turning them into centres of public activity and engaging active community members will change the attitude of local authorities to financing the library network. We understand that finances are directed to those areas of public life where public attention is focused.

Thus, the ultimate goal of the strategy is to change the coordinates in which local libraries exist. Today they are state-dependent institutions with poor funding. In the future, they will be active centres of social life with broad autonomy, receiving funding from various sources and supported by a state in which the people are the bearers of power.

Add Comment