Thursday, December 3, 2009

Books for the Biblioteca

Banned books, kids books, all books welcomed. Flickr photos.

Dear friends and loved ones,

I had tea with Tonia a few days ago and she asked me again about English-language books for her students. "They would be such a great help in teaching." Other teachers have made the same request. Members of the English Club have asked. Iryna, the library director, said she would love to start a new collection.

That's why I was disappointed when I recently found out that the U.S. Embassy no longer gives English-language books to Ukrainian libraries. So was Iryna. Nor am I sure Books for Peace is giving books to Ukraine. I'm checking.

Tonia came to Luba's yesterday to help me write this blog. We're asking for books for the library. Tonia is translating this into Russian for Iryna and other teachers. I told her not to get hopes up too high, but we will try.

My daughter Elissa's friend Shannon has already offered books, even before this request. So has Amanda Stein, my grandchildren Tony and Julia's beloved aunt who works for a library in northern Kentucky. These are our pioneering angels! What kind of books do we want, they asked.

The library will welcome all kinds of books, fiction and non-fiction, including children's literature. Those with pictures would be great for younger kids, Tonia said. We couldn't get too many of these.

We'd love to have some American classics in this collection, from Emerson and Thoreau to Mark Twain and Willa Cather up to Toni Morrison and Sue Monk Kidd.
English Club members are interested in American history, so history books would be great, if they're not too technical and complicated. Slim paperbacks are fine. Mysteries and detective stories would be fun.

Poetry collections would be popular. It's also relatively easy to choose a short poem to read and discuss together. I did this with autumn poems at an English Club, and it was one of our best sessions. Poems are great for tutoring too.
It seems like postage will be an expense, I warned Tonia. Both sister Andy and cousin Kathy have said as much. I hope it's not prohibitive, or a deterrent. The donation might be tax deductible, like gifts given to Peace Corps partnership projects.

So here is Tonia's and the teachers' request. The Library's keen interest. The community's need. If you have a bunch of books that you've read and no longer need, send them to our library. They will be well used and loved here!

The address is: Starobilsk (Rayon) Library. Yls. Komynarov 36, Starobilsk, Luganst Oblast, Ukraine, 92700.

Let me know if and when you send any books so Iryna and I can be on the look out for them. Many thanks for your interest and goodwill. I will keep you posted.

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