Home Press centre Press releases Ukrainian libraries to receive a further 15,000 books from Book Aid International.

Ukrainian libraries to receive a further 15,000 books from Book Aid International.

Ukrainian libraries to receive a further 15,000 books from Book Aid International through PEN Ukraine’s Unbreakable Libraries project.

Book Aid International, working in partnership with PEN Ukraine, English PEN and PEN International, is set to donate a further 15,000 books this year to support war-affected libraries in Ukraine.  

This announcement comes one year after an initial meeting at the London Book Fair with Book Aid International’s President, Nigel Newton and Chief Executive Alison Tweed, Olha Mukha of PEN Ukraine and PEN International, and Daniel Gorman of English PEN. These discussions resulted in a collaboration with PEN Ukraine for their Unbreakable Libraries project which aims to collect and send new books in Ukrainian and English, to libraries throughout Ukraine including front-line and liberated territories. 

Book Aid International and PEN representatives meet at London Book Fair 2024
London Book Fair – One Year On
Sabrina Tucci – International PEN, Dr Olha Mukha – PEN Ukraine, Nigel Newton CBE – Bloomsbury, Alison Tweed – Book Aid International, Daniel Gorman – English PEN

Almost 700 Ukrainian libraries have been damaged or destroyed during Russia’s invasion, losing part or all of their book collections. Some have been forced to move to safer regions of Ukraine. As Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine continues, many of these libraries are serving as social hubs or places of respite from the war, sometimes even offering a safer place or shelter from the bombing.  

In November 2023, the first shipment of 25,000 Book Aid International-donated books from leading publishers including Bloomsbury, Hachette UK, Cambridge University Press, Harper Collins and Pan Macmillan was delivered to Kyiv. Over 10,000 of those books, including children’s books, literary classics, art and leisure books and English as a Foreign Language texts, have now been distributed to more than 68 libraries, many of which are on the front line. Book Aid International publisher donated books have been distributed to regions including Chernihiv, Kherson, Dnipro, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Kyiv and Chernivtsi in partnership with the Nova Post Humanitarian initiative.

Reports are coming back from libraries across Ukraine highlighting the value of these book donations. Khotyn City Public Library said: 

Books in English have been received.  We are sincerely grateful for such an irreplaceable, desirable and long-awaited contribution to our library. On behalf of our users and library staff we sincerely thank you! Currently we have a plan, together with a charity, to start an English club in the library for interested users. The books you sent will become “the basis” of the English learning club, which will unite and make the club’s work effective. 

Book Aid International’s Chief Executive, Alison Tweed, spoke of the charity’s continued commitment to supporting Ukrainian libraries: 

When PEN Ukraine first reached out to Book Aid international at The London Book Fair last year, we understood what an important project Unbreakable Libraries is, and we were keen to be involved. We are delighted to know that the books our publisher partners have generously donated are now in the hands of people who most need them, and we are committed to sending more. It is good to know that these books will offer both comforts now and will help to build the futures of many Ukrainians who are facing the daily reality of war. We want to thank all our book donors and financial supporters for helping to make this book donation possible. 

Bloomsbury was one of the publishers supporting the initial shipment. Bloomsbury Chief Executive and Book Aid International President Nigel Newton CBE spoke of his support for the campaign, saying:                                                                                                                                                             

I am delighted that a relationship forged a year ago at The London Book Fair has hadp such a positive outcome and that Book Aid International has been able to support the Unbreakable Libraries project. Ensuring continued access to books for Ukrainians who are facing immeasurable challenges must remain at the forefront of this collaboration. I urge more publishers to join this important initiative by donating books, funds and spreading the word. 

The additional donation of 15,000 books from Book Aid International in 2024 will ensure that PEN Ukraine is able to expand its work and support even more libraries.   

ENDS 

Publishers interested in contributing books to Book Aid International in support of its work should contact Brian Martin:  Brian.Martin@bookaid.org

Notes to editors

Further information  

Please contact Henri Yoxall:  07887 651 285  henrietta.yoxall@bookaid.org 

Book Aid International provides over one million new books every year in the places where they will make the biggest difference and sets up libraries, trains people to run them and works with its partners to spark a love of reading. Together with its 185 partners worldwide, the charity provides books everywhere from refugee camps, prisons and hospitals to remote schools where there has never been a library before. Last year, the charity provided books to readers in 9 conflict affected countries and gave over 74,000 refugees the opportunity to read. To find out more about Book Aid International visit bookaid.org 

PEN Ukraine is a cultural and human rights NGO uniting Ukrainian intellectuals – writers, journalists, scholars, publishers, translators, human rights defenders and culture managers. With 163 members, it is a co-founder of the Vasyl Stus Prize, the Yuri Shevelov Prize, and the George Gongadze Prize. Since February 24, 2022, we have been working to support the Ukrainian literary community, inform foreign audiences about the impact of Russian aggression on Ukrainian culture, document the experiences of Ukrainians during wartime, and restore cultural life in Ukraine. After the full-fledged war started, besides Unbreakable Libraries, we launched such projects as Literary Volunteering Trips to liberated and frontline territories, People of Culture Taken Away By War, a series of text portraits Here-and-Now. Stories of Journalists at the War, Charity Intellectual Evenings, photo exhibition The War Is Not Over Yet dedicated to media workers who have been killed, wounded, taken captive or persecuted since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine, etc. 

English PEN is one of the world’s oldest human rights organisations, championing the freedom to write and read. We are the founding centre of PEN International, a worldwide writers’ association with 130 centres in more than 90 countries. With the support of our members – a community of readers, writers, and activists – we protect freedom of expression whenever it is under attack, support writers facing persecution around the world, and celebrate contemporary international writing with literary prizes, grants, events, and our online magazine PEN Transmissions

PEN International is the foremost and largest association of writers which stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression around the world. Founded in London in 1921, PEN International – PEN’s Secretariat – connects an international community of writers. PEN operates across five continents through 130 Centres in over 90 countries. It is a forum where writers meet freely to discuss their work; it is also a voice speaking out for writers silenced in their own countries. PEN International works to promote the PEN Charter to ensure that people everywhere have the freedom to create literature, to impart information and ideas, to express their views, and to access the views, ideas, and literatures of others. We champion the freedom to write, recognising the power of literature to transform the world. In 2021, PEN International celebrated its Centenary. More than one hundred years since its foundation, today PEN International is recognised as a leading international charity and expert on freedom of expression. 

Book Aid International is a registered charity in England and Wales. Charity number 313869.