Ukraine has been in the news for the past year over its hot war with its neighbor, the Russian Federation.
What you might not know is that the Troy Dothan Library has had a “Sister Library” partnership with the Central Ukrainian State University Library. Beginning in 2009, Troy Dothan librarian Olga Casey (a native of Ukraine whose grandmother graduated from there) and current Libraries Dean Dr. Chris Shaffer began the partnership with Library Director Olga Shulga with an exchange of gifts. Troy sent journals and books in a variety of disciplines and Central Ukrainian State University Library reciprocated with student artwork, books, and similar materials. Troy put the art work on display in an exhibit about the partnership and Ukrainian culture.
“Sister libraries” is a program of the American Library Association (ALA) to promote “the concept of a global community of libraries’ and to encourage “commitments between sister libraries” at whatever level is comfortable for both. The ALA’s Sister Library Committee of the International Relations Round Table operates the program that is open to all libraries.
The Central Ukrainian State University is located in Kropyvnytskyi, capital of the Kirovohrad Oblast (state) in Ukraine, a city of 223,000 on the Inhul River, about 150 miles southeast of Kyiv. (An interesting side note: since 2020, the head of the Kirovohrad Oblast governing council, Sergie Shulga, is the husband of Central Ukrainian State University’s library director and our Sister Library partner).
The university’s roots stretch back to 1919 when the revolutionary government tried to establish a college. It finally opened a teachers college in 1921 that grew through the difficult 1930s, closed during World War 2, then reopened in 1944 and has expanded ever since.
It has also undergone a number of name changes. Before the USSR unraveled in 1991, it was called Aleksandr Pushkin Kirovograd State Pedagogical Institute. In 1991, it dropped Pushkin and added Volodymyr Vynnychenko (1880-1951) to its name to honor the revolutionary who served as Ukraine’s first prime minister (1918-1919). It was his government that tried to create the first college in the town. Exiled to Vienna then to Paris after 1920, he made his way as a writer. In 2017, the school changed its name to Volodymyr Vynnychenko Central Ukrainian State Pedagogical University and in 2022 it eliminated the word “pedagogical” from its title.
After the initial gift exchange in 2009, the libraries continued to interact. In 2012, the Troy Dothan librarians made a presentation on the partnership at the annual ALA meeting then helped organize in KSPU a discussion round table about information literacy and plagiarism in higher education institutions. With the Russian invasion and annexation of eastern Ukraine in 2014, the KSPU staff and students raised funds by selling handmade Ukrainian patriotic souvenirs like bracelets and knitted cockades. Troy Dothan librarians purchased a number of pieces and also presented KSPU with scrapbook of US newspaper clippings about the invasion that became a display in the KSPU library.
In 2016, Troy presented another forty volumes in reference sets for the humanities, education, psychology, linguistics, and health sciences to KSPU, and in 2017-18 digitized a collection from the newly named Central Ukrainian State Pedagogical University of photographic slides about Ukrainian costumes, embroidery, and pysanka (Easter Egg decorating). Although the costume and embroidery books that were photographed remain unidentified, the pysanka plates come from Odarka Onyshchuk, Symbolism of the Ukrainian Pysanka published by the author in Toronto in 1985 and available at http://www.pysanky.info/Ukr_Books/Onyshchuk.html.
These 108 images form the Wiregrass Archives’s record group 271, the Central Ukrainian State University Library Collection available for viewing at https://www.troy.edu/about-us/dothan-campus/wiregrass-archives/inventories/271.html.
Olga Casey translated the labels that appear with the online digitized images.
“Statement of Role, Purpose, and Function,” Sister Libraries Committee, IRRT Roundtable, American Library Association, created November 29, 2006, accessed December 13, 2022, https://www.ala.org/rt/irrt/irrtcommittees/irrtsisterlibrary/sisterlibrary.
“History,” Volodymyr Vynnychenko Central Ukrainian State Pedagogical University, updated November 14, 2014, accessed November 3, 2022, https://www.cuspu.edu.ua/en/history.
Danylo Husar Struk, ” Vynnychenko, Volodymyr,” Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine, updated 2020, accessed November 3, 2022, http://www.encyclopediaofukraine.com/display.asp?linkpath=pages%5CV%5CY%5CVynnychenkoVolodymyr.htm.
“Центральноукраїнський державний університет імені Володимира Винниченка [Central Ukrainian State University named after Volodymyr Vinnichenko],” Вікіпедії [Wikipedia in Ukrainian], updated September 27, 2022, accessed November 3, 2022 (using Google Translate as needed), https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki/Центральноукраїнський_державний_університет_імені_Володимира_Винниченка.
Olga Casey contributed to this story.