Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Gasprinsky Library to become accessible to the visually impaired

Recently, I and my counterpart, Nadjie Yagya, finished writing a draft proposal for a Peace Corps sponsored grant that would open up the Gasprinsky Library to visually impaired people. It has long been a dream of the Library to increase its accessibility to disabled and visually impaired people. Though changing the physical structure of the library entrances to make them wheelchair accessible is beyond the scope of this grant, we were able to write a project that would add resources to the library for visually impaired people and also to work with librarians across Crimea to increase access in their libraries for visually impaired people.

In developing this grant, we partnered with two local NGO’s (non-governmental organizations): UTOS, who provides vocational rehabilitation for visually impaired people; and KrimTIZ, who functions as an advocate for the rights of visually impaired and disabled people. We are especially excited about the partnership with KrimTIZ, as they are located nearby which more easily gives us the potential for future collaborations.

The Gasprinsky Library and the NGO’s will conduct a one-day training in Simferopol for representatives from the twenty-five central rayon libraries in Crimea and UTOS branches located in seven Crimean cities. In the training, we will present seminars on working with visually impaired people, the resources that are available for making libraries accessible, and also training in the adaptive technology that is now available to enable visually impaired people to access the internet and “read” computer screens.

Also, as part of the project, we will help KrimTIZ set up an internet information center in their organization building which will have adaptive software. We will also add a work station with adaptive software to the Internet Center at our library. This will allow visually impaired patrons of the Gasprinsky Library to not only access the internet, but also to access the information on the library websites.

This grant won’t be funded until early summer, so it will be some time before these new resources become available in our library and at KrimTIZ. I will be sure to post the information about our grand openings.

Nadjie and I working on writing a grant.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Nuriye Jeter, Crimean Tatar actress and dancer

In the front right corner of the Reading Hall in the Gasprinsky Library, there is a revolving display of information about different Crimean Tatar artists, writers, poets, intellectuals, and political leaders. With documents taken from the library’s collections, the displays highlight the achievements of prominent Crimean Tatars and the vast creative and intellectual wealth of the Crimean Tatar people.

Susanna Rezaevna, head of the Readers department, stands in front of a display about Nuriye Jeter, who was a famous Crimean Tatar actress and dancer in the 20th century. Born in Bakhchiseray, Crimea in 1912, Jeter studied at a theater school in Simferopol. In 1925 when she was only 13, she began to perform at the Crimean Tatar theater in Simferopol. She soon became one of the prominent artists in the company, playing leading roles is such classic plays as The Last by M. Gorky (the role of Anastasia) and Shakespeare’s Hamlet (the role of Ophelia), and also Crimea Tatar plays such as The Fountain of Bakchiseray, in which she played the role of Zarema, written specifically for her.
Jeter performed at the Crimean Tatar theater for sixteen years until 1941. She also became part of a trio that included vocalist S. Eredzhepovoy and violinist A. Parikova in which she performed traditional Crimean Tatar dances. The trio became well known beyond Crimea and planned an overseas tour, but their plan, like so many others, was interrupted by the war.
In1944, Nuriye Jeter was swept up in the deportation of the Crimean Tatars and ended up in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. After the war, she continued to perform in drama theaters in Uzbekistan. She died in Tashkent in 1991.