Sunday, April 18, 2010

We Have Books!

Today was a banner day! Members of the Starobilsk English Club, with great anticipation, opened three boxes of books sent from Toledo, Ohio. It was exciting and special. They poured over the books with great enthusiasm and admired the selection, the titles, the illustrations. The children's books were a big hit.

Oh look, here’s Harry Potter, Vlad exclaimed, so excited to see several books in the series. Anton joined him. There’s poetry books in this box, Sveta said, and some novels, holding them up. I want to read all of these books, said Tonya the musician, holding an empty box over her head! I love detective stories. Here’s Dr. Seuss, perfect for my beginners, said Tonya the teacher. Who’s John Grishom? Does this say “good night moon”?
Such excitement. Such pleasure. "No one has ever done anything like this for us before," said Maria. "Please say thank you to your family and friends." Everyone clapped and smiled and posed for photos for all of you who donated books, money for postage, and loving thoughts at my 70th birthday party. You made lots of people happy. Words cannot adequately convey the deep appreciation.

We made a gift of 10 children’s books to Tonya, the teacher of English at Kooryshevka Village School. The village schools have so few resources that these books are a real treasure, a goldmine. Tonya couldn't wait to get to class on Monday to show her kids. It’s amazing how important small gifts can be.

So the Starobilsk Library has started its first collection of English books!
Because the cost of mailing is so high, though, we will look for other options as well. I think the postage was higher than the value of the books in the boxes that my daughter Elissa and I packed. My PCV friends Ilse and Carl suggested the option of raising money but buying books here in Ukraine. We were browsing in a bookstore in Kiev that sold fantastic English language series from Penquin, Macmillan, Oxford University Press and other publishers for learners at various levels, from beginners to intermediate to advanced. We don’t have these stores here but the larger urban centers do, and the price is reasonable. About 20-66 hryvnia a book, on average, or $2.50 to $8.50.

I will keep you posted. Meanwhile, we will work with the librarians to get the books we have now catalogued and prepared for lending. Members of the English Club will help translate the authors, titles and publishing information. Thanks to you, the Starobilsk library’s new collection has gotten off to a great start.

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