History of Ukrainian Library Association

For 20 years the Ukrainian Library Association has organized hundreds of conferences, seminars and trainings. The association posted nearly 50 scientific-practical publications, which helped librarians reach high quality level library and informative services. Furthermore, they assisted in the development of library sciences and increased the prestige of libraries within the society. For the first time in Ukraine, in 1996, The Code of Librarian Ethics was developed and established, and its new edited version was ratified in 2013. Active members of ULA made a significant contribution to the theoretical development, conceptual-intellectual freedom regarding library activities in a democratic society, substantiated and put into use the new term “advocacy,” and theoretically justified the role and meaning of national library associations for developing the library profession, education, practice, and management. 

ULA is proud of its partners. It works closely with government institutions, NGOs, movements, foundations and individuals who are interested in the development of library affairs. Fulfilling its mission, ULA has been a reliable partner in projects of multinational and international organizations, such as the  "Renaissance" Foundation (Kyiv), Open Society Institute (Budapest), the British Council (Kyiv), the Goethe Institute (Kyiv), the German Library Institute (Berlin), U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), Monsanto Foundation (USA), European Cultural Foundation and others. The Association has positive experiences in cooperating with the European Commission under the"Information Society Technologies" to implement projects such as PULMAN (Public Libraries Mobilizing Advanced Networks), CALIMERA (Cultural Applications: of Local Institutions Mediating Electronic Resource Access), and TEMPUS project «EduVisIm» (Adaptive information and communicative technologies for students' education in Ukraine).

ULA as a national library association is a member of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and operates in three sections – national library associations, public libraries, and university libraries. This enables ULA members to represent Ukraine in the international arena, to take part in international projects, and be aware of trends in the world of library affairs. ULA members participate in the annual IFLA conference, expert group work, the spread of the best foreign experience in Ukraine, the assistance of access to information, and the liquidation of information and electronic inequality. With the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2010-2013 ULA has implemented the program IFLA "Building strong library associations," which gives opportunities to library professionals in acquiring new knowledge and skills in the management of professional library associations.

An important result of ULA's work was their assistance in opening over 140 internet centers in public libraries, as well as internet centers for blind individuals in Ukraine during 2001-2013, with program support from the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.

From 2008-2015 ULA was a partner in one of the largest international library projects in Ukraine - program "Bibliomist," guided by IREX,  and is part of the initiative" Global Library" with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and support from USAID. Through the program "Bibliomist" nearly 2,000 public libraries were connected to the Internet, provided public internet access to citizens, and transformed into modern library-information centers. These centers house skilled professionals who have been trained in ULA's main training center in Kyiv and 24 regional training centers, which were opened in 2009. Library professionals improve their skills according to modern socio-cultural, economic and information-technological realities, by new programs created by ULA.

The essential role of ULA is developing the accessibility of official information to the public. Together with Parliament II in 2009-2013 the association organized project "Governmental Information for Citizens in the Library – Search, Access, Consultation" which provided many trainings and created a Ukrainian network for public access to official information on the basis of different types of libraries and different ownership. Today this network includes nearly 1,000 libraries and continuously accepts new libraries. Each user can become acquainted with this content of necessary laws or regulations, obtain information about government institutions, political parties, non-governmental organizations, and solve vital issues directly at the library.

Since 2012 ULA has worked on the initiative "Public Libraries are Bridges to e-Government," which is part of the partnership "Open Government" National Action Plan. Since 2014 ULA is actively involved in working with internally displaced people, monitoring library conditions in the ATO area and the occupied territory of Crimea. Together with the Ukrainian National Committee of the International Council of Museums, Ukrainian National Committee of the International Council of Monuments and Attractions, and State Archival Agency of Ukraine, ULA became the founder of the Ukrainian National Committee of the International Organization "Blue Shield," whose mission is work that protects cultural heritage that was under threat due to armed conflict.

In a democratic society, an information literate person should be able to exercise their  voting  right. That's why, in 2014-2015 ULA initiated the project "Libraries and Electoral Process : Educate  Librarians and Voters on their Constitutional Rights." It was created as an educational awareness program  in every region in Ukraine. I t was  held as a series of six webinars, which were  designed to help citizens of Ukraine, starting from age  18, to more  effectively exercise their  voting  rights. The project was funded by the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine. 

With the goal to establish modern public library centers for social activeness in community development, ULA implemented the project "Library — Community: Open Space" from September 2014. Financial support was provided by "Monsanto," who funded 1.8 million UAH. The project provided computers and office equipment to 25 rural libraries in Vinnytsia, Zhytomyr, Rivne, Cherkasy and Poltava regions. It alsoorganized internet access and replenished library stocks of books and periodicals. Librarians from the winning libraries took part in a two-part training at the main training center for librarians, where they learned how to use computer technology to effectively work with internet resources and to create and implement new library services.

In November 2014 the Ukrainian Library Association adopted its 2014-2018 strategic plan, which focuses on the association's efforts to develop societal knowledge in Ukraine, uphold the principles of intellectual freedom, develop libraries into powerful informational and educational institutions, open community centers, develop librarian professions, improve higher education and the HR situation in the industry. As well as to cooperate with the authorities and civil society, specifically on their impact on library policy, and legislate and maintain regulation processes and decision-making on the national and local levels.

The association started many initiatives, such as protecting the interests of libraries, librarians, and readers, working with different branches of government, participating in legislative and rule-making activities, producing professional publications, conferences, seminars and discussions, and facilitating international professional programs and partnerships. The ULA upholds its tradition of celebrating the best in the profession and specific areas of work, developing innovative projects, and many other great activities.

We express our sincere gratitude to the founders of the ULA, those who stood in its origins and worked towards the development of the organization. These individuals'  own authority and creative efforts laid the foundation for the future and were the driving force of our professional movement. Today we congratulate the founders of ULA - Valentina Pashkova, Vasil Babich, Valentina Navrotska, Vira Zahumenna, and Yaroslava Soshynska, who stood at ULA's origins. We recognize the hard work and enthusiasm of ULA  presidents- Valentina Pashkova, Vasil Dryhailo and Irina Shevchenko. We  are  thankful to Ludmila Kovalchuk, Tamara Vylehzhanina and all members of the presidium of the ULA of various years, section heads, and members of working groups. We appreciate the creative professional work of the executive office of ULA. But  most importantly - we sincerely congratulate all members and our partners on the 20th anniversary of ULA. Thank you that we are all together!