Availability of books facilitates integration of Ukrainian refugees, says Minister


Photo: Slaven Branislav Babic/Pixsell

ZAGREB, July 19, 2022 – During the handover of books by Ukrainian authors to the National and University Library (NSK) on Tuesday, Minister of Culture Nina Obuljen Koržinek said that their availability in Croatian libraries can help refugees from Ukraine to integrate more easily into their new environment.

The handover took place within the framework of the project “Ukrainian books on the shelves of libraries of the world”, launched on the initiative of the wife of the President of Ukraine, Olena Zelensky.

“It is our contribution to the efforts to bring the Croatian and Ukrainian people closer together in these difficult times and our contribution to helping refugees to integrate as easily as possible during their stay in Croatia and to help them with the availability of books” , says Obuljen Koržinek.

NSK Director General Ivanka Stričević said the books, given to them by the Ukrainian Embassy in Croatia, represent wealth that will be passed on to the future when the war in Ukraine ends.

“We want to help our libraries to best meet the needs of their users, Ukrainian citizens who find themselves in their environment, and to lay the foundations for future cooperation,” the director said.

As a sign of solidarity and support for Ukraine, NSK has launched a series of activities, including free admission to the Library for Ukrainian refugees over 16 and the publication of three special bibliographies and thematic collections “The war in Ukraine”.

The purchase and distribution of books by Ukrainian authors in Croatian libraries was launched jointly by the AidHub foundation and the Croatian Ministry of Culture and Media in order to help publishers who found themselves in a difficult situation.

“Our goal is to acquire books from Ukrainian publishers who have suffered a lot in these circumstances of war. We are also working on an initiative for every Croatian publisher to print at least one book in Ukraine in order to at least help save jobs in this country,” said Mišo Nejašmić of AidHub.

Besides buying books for Ukrainian citizens who are refugees in Croatia, AidHub is working on organizing a summer camp, where 700 children of different ages will stay, most of whom will be high school graduates. They will spend time in the camp learning the Croatian language.

Ukrainian books are already available in over 200 libraries, Ukrainian Ambassador Vasyl Kyrylych said.

“The Ukrainian book is for Ukrainians who want to read. The book is the depth of the sea, it is alive if it is read,” the ambassador said.

This is not the first such donation in Croatia, as books by Ukrainian authors were donated to public libraries across the country at the end of June.

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