Eldsjälspriset 2023 till Yulia Vasylenko, Ukraina

Stort varmt Grattis till Ukrainska bibliotekarien Yulia Vasylenko, som tillsammans med sina kollegor driver projektet ”Ett bibliotek i en resväska” och som igår emottog Svenska Barnboksakademins Eldsjälspris. Det är så välförtjänt!

På Svenska Barnboksakademin FB-sida står bl.a. att läsa:

Ur motiveringen: ”Yulia Vasylenko är bibliotekarie vid barnbiblioteket i Donetsk i Ukraina, och med ett outtröttligt engagemang arbetar hon för att ge barn och ungdomar tillgång till böcker och läsning även under de svåraste omständigheter. Sedan barn- och ungdomsbiblioteket i Mariupol totalförstörts under den ryska belägringen har Yulia Vasylenko genom konceptet ”Ett bibliotek i en resväska” med påhittighet och envishet fortsatt att bedriva biblioteksverksamhet genom internet och sociala medier. För sin ambition att ge barn- och ungdomar möjlighet att fortsätta läsa, fantisera, drömma och skapa även under brinnande krig får Yulia Vasylenko Eldsjälspriset 2023.”

Prisutdelningen gick av stapeln på Donetsk Kulturcentrum i Kiev, och priset lämnades över av Nils Dahlqvist från Sveriges Ambassad. Förutom äran består priset av 10 000 kronor, en hattstuga gjord av Sven Nordqvist och ett diplom av Gunna Grähs.

Så här skriver Yulia Vasylenko i sitt tacktal:

New reality, or Library in a suitcase

Dear colleagues, dear friends, welcome!  I am honored to receive the Fiery Spirit Award 2023 from the Swedish Academy for Children’s Books! I am infinitely grateful to you, but this award is not only joy, pride and inspiration – it is also a great responsibility on my part and a great trust on your part! I like to thank the Swedish section of IBBY in the person of Ms Margaretha Ullström. I would also like to thank the National Children’s Library of Ukraine and the Ukrainian section of IBBY in the person of Ms Alla Gordienko, for telling our story around the world. My great gratitude to my small, but the best team and, of course, to our readers, for whose sake we persevered, did not break down and continue to work, because we understand that they need us!

Despite the terrible and tragic events that happened to us, I see many positive things in these circumstances – I saw how strong, brave and indomitable my Ukraine is! I have met many wonderful, kind people who care about our affairs and, in particular, mine, and now I am talking about you, my dear friends, Ms Margaretha, Mr Stefan, Ms Johanna, Mr Marten and many other sincere people from Sweden who join in helping our library. I am convinced that the majority of good and kind people, therefore good will win sooner or later. And I also learned a lot about myself – I realized that I am really strong, that I love my country above all else and that I am an absolute optimist! This war taught me to value every moment of my life, to value close people, and also to live right here and now. I won’t tell you how and where I will be tomorrow, but I know exactly what I will do today – I will work, I will breathe new life into the library, destroyed by the enemy for the second time, I will do everything to prove that we are not broken!

If you ask me today: ”How is the life of the Donetsk Regional Library for Children?”, I will not give a definite answer. Because we still cannot fully accept the fact that everything that was achieved during three years, at the cost of superpowers, has been destroyed… But at the same time, we are as strong and confident as ever. And in the absence of premises, funds, a full-fledged team and even the elementary need of every person – communication (all specialists live in different cities), we actively work with our users and with the library community of the region.

Now the library exists in virtual reality – the ”Library in a Suitcase” format. But, as life shows, this format has the right to exist, I will say more – it is quite effective!

The main platform for communicating with the outside world is the DRLC page on Facebook (http://surl.li/aedoo).

”Library in a Suitcase” creates its own audio and video content. We have our own podcasts: ”Nighttime Tale” and ”Language in Portraits”.

”Library in a Suitcase” has its own YouTube channel (http://surl.li/lyvee), where we post our own products.

Another component of the life of ”Library in a Suitcase” is the holding of regional network online flash mobs, promotions, challenges, marathons, etc. Thousands of Donetsk residents, both in the territory of the region and in other territories of Ukraine and the world, took part in these events.

For the third time, but for the first time in a remote work format, we held the regional competition among young readers ”I am the future of Donetsk region”, which was launched by the Donetsk regional library for children in 2019. The places of residence of the participants of the competition are diverse – it is not only Donetsk region, it is different regions of Ukraine and the world. Based on the results of the competition, a collection has already been created and printed, which I want to pass on to you. This collection is the work of our children, it tells about how they love their country, how they dream of a peaceful and free life!

By the way, regarding work with the professional community of the region, our ”Library in a Suitcase” succeeded in uniting the libraries and library specialists of the region. We meet every month (and sometimes more often) and conduct trainings, seminars, creative and motivational meetings, various trainings for them.

We study, engage in project activities and establish partnership relations. And I want to emphasize that all this became possible thanks to your support – our employees now have computer equipment and other devices that allow them to work normally, create something and be useful to our readers and fellow librarians.

We work a lot and with inspiration and it is very difficult for us from time to time, we are confused, tired, disappointed and we give up. But we remember that we have a huge responsibility to those for whom we have become an example of indomitability, to those who need us, to those in whom we instill hope. We are alive, we are working and we are moving forward! And despite the fact that we are still a ”Library in a suitcase”, the main thing is that we are and we have our dreams – about peace, about returning home, about restoring the library, and we also dream that our suitcase will eventually turn into Library bus! Well, who said that dreaming is forbidden?!.”



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