On the anniversary of Russia’s full-scale assault on Ukraine, the Regional Public Library in Krakow (Poland) displayed white-red and blue-yellow flags on its building in solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

 – We are honoured that during this long and very difficult year, so many citizens of Ukraine residing in Krakow and Malopolska have found a place in the Rajska Library, where they can in peace and safety study, relax, use information sources and books in both Polish and Ukrainian languages – says Jerzy Woźniakiewicz, director of the Regional Public Library in Krakow.

In order to emphasise our support and solidarity with the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian citizens residing in Malopolska, we decided to launch a new, bilingual channel on Telegram https://t.me/rajska_info on the first anniversary of the outbreak of war, which is very popular among our Ukrainian guests – adds Woźniakiewicz.

We hope that this initiative will improve access to information, literature and culture for all those for whom this is the most common mode of communication.

It is worth recalling that the Regional Public Library in Krakow, on its own and in cooperation with its Partners (Zustricz, SmartOsvita, Folkowisko, DaremDalej), has since the first days of the invasion organised a number of activities to meet the expectations of refugees from the Ukrainian territories who have found their new home in Krakow and Malopolska. And so:

  • materials in Ukrainian are purchased (at the moment we have about 1400 books, 102 comics),
  • donations of books in Ukrainian are acquired (cooperation with the Łesia Ukrainka Library in Kyiv, collection of donations in the city of Sumy, Books not Bombs campaign, ZLP UA – National Union of Writers of Ukraine),
  • a computer station for contact with relatives is available (cameras, software, keyboard with Ukrainian alphabet),
  • meetings of a discussion club for refugees are organised,
  • cultural and English language meetings are organised for young people from Ukraine,
  • integration activities are organised: cyclical board games, art classes, theatre,
  • learning support is provided for Ukrainian children,
  • exhibitions and literary meetings of Ukrainian authors are organised,
  • space available for volunteers weaving camouflage nets for the Ukrainian army is prepared,
  • training courses on first aid, health and safety at work, RODO are organised for volunteers working on behalf of refugees.

We are implementing the project Library For All. Diverse. Equal. Important., the aim of which is to provide support to children and young people and their guardians, arriving in Poland from Ukraine, in continuing their education in Ukrainian schools, as well as in adapting to Polish schools, using various forms of developmental activities in libraries, learning the Polish language and integrating with young Poles.

The library also implemented the project Library for Everyone. Łódź, Gdynia, Kraków, Bergen – different cities, common idea. Increasing access to culture – Polish and Norwegian model solutions (2020 – 2022), the aim of which was to strengthen cooperation between Polish and Norwegian libraries, for innovative activities specifically targeting migrants, non-users and minorities, and for librarians to acquire new competencies. Thanks to the project, it was possible to realise, among other things, literature walks in Ukrainian, expert advice on health care, labour law, accounting, job-seeking skills for refugees, Polish language lessons, literary meetings and advice from psychologists.

As a voivodeship library, we acquire and distribute acquired books in Ukrainian to libraries throughout Malopolska.