Thursday, December 22, 2011

In honor of Asanin Idris, 1927 - 2007

Today at the library there was an event celebrating the memory of the Crimean Tatar poet, essayist, and leader of the national movement, Asanin Idris (1927-2007). The Reading Hall was packed to overflowing with people coming to honor this important figure in Crimean Tatar culture.

Asanin Idris was born in 1927 in the village of Sala-Foti (Golubinka) in the district of Bakhchisaray. In 1944 the family was deported to the Samarkand region of Uzbekistan. All of his family with the exception of one sister perished during the deportation and in the refugee camps afterwards. Even as a young person in Crimea, Asanin rebelled against the sufferings and injustices of his people. The poetry be began to write in his youth became, after deportation, poetry of the feelings of his people, exiled from their native lands.

As a result of his writings, Asanin was arrested in 1950 while in his third year of study at the History Teachers' Training Institute, and was sentenced to 25 years of hard labor. After Stalin's death his sentence was reduced and in 1956, he was released. After returning from the camps, Asanin continued his studies at the Institute and completed his course in 1961. He worked in various construction jobs in Samarkand and then received a diploma in civil engineering through the correspondence department of the Tashkent Polytechnic Institute.

Asanin became very active in the national movement to return to Crimea and later wrote a three-volume work about the movement titled “In the Ranks of the Struggle for Justice.”
A collection of his poetry, titled “A Handful of Earth,” was published in 1997 in honor of his 50 years of creative work.
Idris Asanin also worked tirelessly to preserve the historic monuments of national culture of the Crimean Tatars and created and managed the company “Shrine."

In 2009, the widow of Idris Asanin, donated all of his papers to the Gasprinsky Library for study and use by researchers and readers. Among the materials donated were many books of different Crimean Tatar authors, personal correspondence, rare photos, and many materials concerning the Crimean Tatar national movement.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Great news! We have reached our fundraising goal!

Thanks to the generosity of so many of you, we have reached the fundraising goal of our Peace Corps Partnership Project, Crimean Tatar Language and Cultural Preservation Project. In just one month, over thirty individuals and organizations donated $4000.00 to our project. This means the Gasprinsky Library will be able to purchase digital scans of their microfilm collection, particularly the microfilms of Ismail Gasprinky's newspaper, Terdjman, and also will be able to purchase a high speed office scanner to scan the many paper documents in the archives.
On behalf of the Library, thanks so much to all of you.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Scanner arrives!

An exciting event occurred last week at the library. The book scanner that we had purchased with a grant from the EMC Cultural Heritage Fund arrived! (See June 7th blog post “Library Receives Cultural Heritage Grant” for information about this grant.) Two large boxes came by train from Kyiv, and then two days later, the technician from the company arrived to set up the scanner and train library workers on how to use it.

Because of the EMC grant, the library was able to purchase an Atiz BookDrive DIY scanner capable of scanning books and newspapers to a digital format. The scanner uses two cameras to produce high quality images which are then transferred to a computer. Having this specialized piece of equipment will allow the library to begin the long process of scanning their document collection and converting them to a digital format which will then be made available to the public via the Library website. This is particularly important for the library’s collection of rare books and newspapers which are in danger of deteriorating to the point of being unreadable and are no longer available to library patrons. Some of these documents are the only copy in existence and the loss of them would mean one more piece of Crimean Tatar history would be gone forever. It is vital to the mission of the Gasprinsky Library as “the keeper of the memory of the Crimean Tatar people” that these rare documents are transferred to a digital format, not only to preserve that memory, but also to make Crimean Tatar history available to people worldwide.

Two big boxes containing the scanner arrive on the train from Kyiv.
The technician arrives two days later and begins to assemble the scanner.
He begins to train library staff how to use the scanner.

The technician shows how to adjust the cameras to get the highest quality images.
The scanner is ready to start the work of digitizing the library's collections.