Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Library creates a 5-year Plan

I have spent the last two weeks working on translating the Library’s 5-Year Plan (called a “Concept” here) into English. I do not have the language skills to do Russian translations, so I depend on Google translate, hope it is somewhat correct, and then rewrite the translation so it is understandable for English readers. Sometimes when I don’t understand what is translated, I try other online programs and ask my fellow workers here at the library, but even so, I do know much gets “lost in translation.” However, I think that at least in this case, the major ideas came through.
I have added the translated 5-Year Plan to the Pages on my blog, but here are a few highlights. The Plan clearly states the library's mission: “The I. Gasprinsky Crimean Tatar Library is responsible for the preservation, growth, and transfer to present and future generations, of the intellectual wealth, native language, and culture of the Crimean Tatars,” or more simply, “the keeper of the memory of the Crimean Tatar people.” To continue to fulfill this mission, a number of directions for the library are presented: preservation and digitizing of historic documents; bringing the library into the “electronic age” with increased development of its online presence; improving the library environment to make it more user friendly and accessible to the disabled; maintenance and needed repairs to the library building, which is a historical monument; construction of additional book storage; reaching out to the remote Crimean Tatar settlements; promoting ethnic tolerance across the peninsula. For elaboration of these ideas and to find out other interests of the library, please read the 5-Year Plan. It is also available in the original Russian on the library’s website.
I will be gone from Crimea for the next two weeks, first to a training in Kyiv sponsored by the Peace Corps on HIV/AIDS prevention, which I am attending with my counterpart from the Orlova Children’s Library in Simferopol where I work one day a week. Following the training, I will be going to the Carpathian Mountains in western Ukraine to attend a “close of service” conference with my fellow Peace Corps Volunteers who are ending their service in June of this year. I have elected to stay an additional year but am still required to attend the conference. And it will be a chance to see the beautiful Carpathian Mountains in the winter.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

New book at the library: A Nomad's Journey

I am sorry I haven’t written a post lately. The month of January at the library has been taken up with producing and presenting a 5-Year Plan (called a Concept here) for the library. I am now in the process of working on a translation into English and will give highlights of the plan in my next blog post.
I am on the list serve of the International Committee for Crimea, and it gives me the opportunity to read information in English about Crimea, Crimea Tatars, and the Crimean Tatar diaspora. Recently I read a review of a new book and, as I often do when coming across a book I think would be a valuable addition to the library’s collection, I wrote the author and asked him to donate a copy of his book to the library. The author graciously complied, and the book arrived today. As always, the library staff was very happy to receive a new book for their English collection of works by and about Crimean Tatars. The book is A Nomad’s Journey by Atilla Bektore, who is now a resident of Florida. Written in English, it is the incredible story of Atilla Bektore and his father Shevki Bektore and their lives in Crimea, Russia, Turkey, and the United States.
Here is a description of the book from the back cover:
Born in Dobruja, Rumania in 1888, Shevki Bektore dreams of being a teacher in his ancestral land of the Crimea. When the horrifying events of the World War I alters his plans, he joins countless millions of others whose hopes and dreams are shattered in maelstrom of war and revolution. Arrested on a trumped up charge of treason, Shevki spends fourteen years of his life in Stalin’s Gulag in Central Asia and eight years in exile in Siberia.
Told within the context of contemporary world events, A Nomad’s Journey focuses on major milestones of world history that include World War I and the fall of world empires, the birth of Bolshevik Russia, World War II, demise of the Soviet Union, and the rise of the United States as the sole world power.
Shevki’s compelling story of survival, combined with his son’s endurance in the face of the World War II, Stalin’s iron rule, and the turmoil of the 1960s and 1970s, creates a stunning memoir of these two extraordinary men.

You can read excerpts from the book on the author’s website, A Nomad’s Journey can be ordered from and through your local independent bookstore. I look forward to reading it!