Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Developing Volunteerism mini-seminars in Crimea

In the week of October 17th, my counterpart at the library, Nadjie Yagya, and I traveled to three central libraries in Crimea and two branch libraries to present mini-seminars on the topic of volunteerism in libraries and communities. As part of our Peace Corps sponsored Small Projects Assistance (SPA) grant, these mini seminars were a follow-up from the two-day seminar/training we held in Simferopol on May 24th and 25th (see the May 30th blog post for a description of that seminar). Accompanied by library staff who provided information about the work of the Gasprinsky Library, Nadjie and I presented information about the concept of volunteerism and the opportunities it can provide for a library. Included in the seminar was a presentation on American libraries and how volunteer organizations—called “Friends of the Library”—assist libraries in America, from fundraising to providing an extra helping hand with library tasks.

Volunteerism, an accepted practice in America where a large percentage of the population do some kind of volunteer work, is slowly taking hold in post-Soviet countries. The goal of our SPA grant was to promote volunteerism in Crimea through developing volunteerism in Crimean libraries. As I listened to Nadjie discussing various volunteer ideas and watched the seminar participants avidly listen, take notes, and ask many questions, I felt hopeful that at least the idea of volunteerism, and what it can do for their libraries, was planted in the minds of many librarians.

At the branch library in the Crimean Tatar village of Ismail Bey, Nadjie and I and Susanna from Gasprinsky Library pose for a photo with the director of this small library (middle) and librarian from the Evpatoria library (far left).
Participants at the Bakchiseray Central Library.
At the Evpatoria Central Library, Nadjie and I present a slide show on volunteerism in American libraries (that's a young Barack Obama in the Harvard University Library).
At the regional library and Crimean Tatar Cultural Center in the town of Cuvorovckoe, Nadjie and I discuss library volunteerism with the director over tea.
At the Saki Central Library, participants avidly take notes.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Inci Bowman comes to the Gasprinsky Library

Inci Bowman with Crimea Rada Deputy Cafure Kadzhametova and Gulnara Yayaeva, Library Director.

On the afternoon of October 13th, the Gasprinsky Library was honored with a visit from Inci Bowman from the United States. Inci Bowman is past president of the International Committee on Crimea (ICC). Through her writings on the ICC website and the ICC list serve, Inci Bowman has for me become the voice of the Crimean Tatar diaspora in the United States. I attribute much of what I know about the Crimean Tatar people to her informative and elegant writing. I had looked forward to meeting her and was disappointed we did not have more time together, but I was happy to put a face with the writings that have so enriched my life these past two years.
Dr. Bowman was in Simferopol as a guest speaker at an international conference on the history of women in Crimea dedicated to the 125th anniversary of the birth of Sefiki Gasprinsky, the daughter of Ismail Gasprinsky. Dr. Bowman was born in Istanbul and speaks fluent Turkish. She is a retired professor of medical history from the University of Texas and currently lives in Washington, DC.

A word about the International Committee on Crimea taken from their website:
The International Committee for Crimea (ICC) is a group of people interested in raising awareness about the historical, cultural, and socio-political aspects of the Crimean Tatars in their native land as well as in Diaspora. They are descendants of Crimean Tatars living in diaspora, Tatars who have returned to Crimea after almost forty-seven years of forced exile, and friends and allies of Crimean Tatars. Our members live in the U.S.A, Turkey, Germany, Holland, and Ukraine.
The ICC provides a platform where dedicated and active Crimean Tatars and friends of Tatars can meet and share information, ideas, and experiences. Through Crimea-L, an Internet discussion group, and this Web site, the ICC aims to create and maintain a network of Crimean Tatars and friends of Tatars in different parts of the world.
We believe that Crimean Tatars, who were unjustly deported en masse from their homeland by Soviet authorities on 18 May 1944, have the right to live in their homeland in peace, free of social and economic prejudices against them. We look forward to the day when Crimean Tatars are recognized as people with a history and culture who inhabited the Crimean peninsula for centuries.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Gasprinsky Library Departments and what they do: Scientific-Methodology Department

There are six different departments in the Gasprinsky Library—Scientific and Methodology, Bibliography, Archives, Collections, Reading Hall, and Computer/Technology Center. In the next few blogs, I thought I would write a bit about each department, highlighting what they do and the people who work in them. And, of course, it only seems natural that I would start with my department—the Scientific-Methodology Department.
The Scientific-Methodology Department is responsible for a number of functions related to working with the libraries across Crimea to better serve the Crimean Tatar population. In a recent presentation for the library staff, our department listed some of our most important functions:
1. Provide guidance and advice to the libraries of Crimea in the fields of information service for the Crimean Tatar population, including acquisition and promotion of their Crimean Tatar literature collections.
2. Monitor and analysis for the Ministry of Culture of AR Crimea the library and information services for the Crimean Tatar population.
3. Coordinate with other Crimean libraries in the introduction of innovative methods in the development of Crimean Tatar Library structures.
4. Organize trainings for librarians.
5. Prepare and produce teaching aides to assist the Ministry of Culture of AR Crimea
6. Implement relations with international libraries through the use of modern information technology.
7. Organize paid services in the library.

Here are the staff in the Scientific-Methodology Department:
Refika Feticlyamova who is responsible for preparing the plans and reports for the Ministry of Culture of AR Crimea.
Nadjie Yagya is the head methodologist of the library. She is also my counterpart.
Elmas Emirova is responsible for content of the library's website.
And here I am with Refika and Nadjie, welcoming visitors to our department.