COSEELIS conference 2022

After two years, we, in the Committee, thought that it would be great to have our annual conference in person.

We hope that for most of us June will be good. Our choice of dates was determined by availability of rooms in the BL.

Here is what we are proposing.

Day 1 – online via Teams:

Committee meeting (11 -13). Committee members, please let me know asap if this is not possible, as we potentially can have a meeting on any day that week.

AGM meeting (14-16)

Day 2 – in-person conference:

British Library, Foyle room

11 -12.30 Ukrainian focus in our collections and projects.

Potential speakers:

Nadiia Strishenets (BL Chevening fellow). She is working on the project of improving metadata of the Taras Shevchenko digital collection, created as part of Endangered Archives Programme

Katie McElvanney (BL, Slavonic and East European curator responsible for Ukrainian collections) – title TBC

Katya Rogatchevskaia (BL, Slavonic and East European curator) – title TBC (on other EAP resources originated from Ukraine

We are looking for 1 or 2 collection related presentations. Please contact me in case you have any suggestions.

12.30-13.30 – lunch

13.30 – 15.00 Decolonising East European Studies and collections (roundtable?)

Potential speakers:

Mel Bach (Head of Collections and Academic Liaison / Slavonic Specialist, Cambridge university Library) in absentia

Vladimir Alexander Smith-Mesa (Assistant Librarian Cataloguing & Metadata, UCL SSEES) in absentia

We are looking for more contributions to this panel. Please contact me in case you have any suggestions.

15.00-15.30 – coffee break

Brunei Gallery (SOAS)

16.00 – 17.00 – visit to the exhibition Crafting Subversion: DIY and Decolonial Print ( This visit will be led by Dr Pragiya Dhital, curator of this exhibition, who will talk about decolonisation in a wider context.

18.00 – conference dinner. Venue TBC

Please send back your registration forms (attached) by 30 May, so that we could provide lunch, refreshments and confirm dinner reservation. Our treasurer Ildi confirmed that COSEELIS would be able to cover all hospitality costs including dinner. However, we expect that travel and accommodation costs (if required) will be covered by members’ institutions. Having said that, please talk to Ildi and myself in case you might require any further financial support to attend the conference in person and we will see if we can help.

Once again – please come forward with suggestions on long and short presentations for both panels.

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Logging library activities to help Ukraine

Today we have launched a page to list to various initiatives aimed at helping Ukrainian libraries. Do have a look and do leave a comment at the end of the page if you know of other library initiatives you think we should add. Many thanks.

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COSEELIS statement about Ukraine

Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has shaken us all to the core.  The COSEELIS Committee confirms our support for Ukraine and Ukrainians, those in the country and the diaspora and those who are currently seeking refuge elsewhere.  The primary impact of such terrible events is always on the most vulnerable.

The library community has joined academics in condemning the invasion and in expressing support for Ukrainians and for Russians who do not want this war.  You can see some of the main bodies’ statements here:



CILIP: [note that you can add your own name to this statement]

What can we in COSEELIS do as individuals and as library professionals?  As individuals, we can write to our MPs to ask for sanctions to be upheld and for meaningful support for the Ukrainian people and refugees (through, for example, the waiving of visa requirements), we can sign relevant petitions, we can help inform others about the situation and call out fake news, and we can give financial and other support to charities working on the ground.  The Cambridge University Ukrainian Society, among many others in the UK, has compiled a list of ways to help:

As library professionals, we can also help in practical ways.  There are initiatives such as this one to try to help the Ukrainian library and archive community protect and share their holdings:  We encourage COSEELIS mailing list members to share similar initiatives through the list.  The Committee can compile a list of them on the COSEELIS blog.

We also realise that the war will have an inevitable impact on our suppliers in Ukraine, Russia, and probably Belarus.  The impact on our readers is important, of course, but so is the impact on individuals and businesses we have all had long-standing relationships with.  We are thinking about arranging a session for librarians to share our experiences and discuss the situation.

Finally but by no means least importantly, we express our deep sympathy for those in the UK Slavonic library community with family and friends in Ukraine.

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ABDOS – call for papers

Call for Papers – 49th International ABDOS Conference

Deadline: February 28, 2022
Conference Languages: German, English and Russian

The 49th International ABDOS Conference, themed “Think, Write, Print, Read – Libraries serving a New Enlightenment”, will take place as a joint event with the National Library of Latvia in Riga from 23th to 25th May 2022.

The organizers request proposals for short (10 minutes) or long (20 minutes) presentations on the following topics:

  *   Digital services: Libraries in Covid times and beyond
  *   Central infrastructures: German “Specialised Information Services” and similarly organized portals
  *   Displaced Books: Libraries in exile
  *   Newspapers as a source of Enlightenment: Language and identity in interaction

The conference will also include a workshop on e-books, the ABDOS General Assembly and an opening ceremony with a renowned key-note speaker.

As the conference will probably be the first opportunity to meet colleagues in person after a long Covid-break we will put special emphasis on meetings in small groups with the various departments of the LNL, giving participants the opportunity for conversation and exchange with colleagues around similar  interests and tasks.

The program will also include an informal get-together in the evening of the 22nd of May 2022 and a day-long excursion to Kuldīga on the 26th of May 2022.

The official conference languages will be German, English and Russian. Since no simultaneous interpretation will be offered, however, we invite speakers to speak in English, if possible.

Conference fees:

* 80 EUR for ABDOS members,
* 120 EUR for non-members and
*500 EUR for our commercial partners.

This will include on-site catering.

You are cordially invited to enter your proposals for presentations (including abstracts of up to 500 characters) electronically through or by mail
to Dr. Juergen Warmbrunn ( ) who will also be happy to answer questions regarding the conference.

Information on ABDOS (Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Bibliotheken und Dokumentationsstellen der Ost-, Ostmittel- und Südosteuropaforschung).

German translation and English Call for Papers

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Taylor Institution Library – Dostoevsky Display

To coincide with the 200th birthday of the Russian writer, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Malcolm Spencer, the graduate trainee at the Taylor Institution Library, Oxford University, put together this book display from the library’s collections.  Malcolm is an Oxford graduate and holds a DPhil in Russian history from the University.

Malcolm writes: ‘After my recent experience of assisting in the Taylor Institution Library’s (and the wider University’s) celebration of 700 years of Dante Alighieri’s contribution to literature, philosophy and the arts, another birthday of note from among the literary canon came up this year: Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky, the Russian novelist, essayist and journalist, celebrated his 200th birthday on 11 November 2021.

While Italy continues to hold a very special place in my heart, Russia is never far from my thoughts. Thus, an exciting discovery since returning to Oxford and joining the Taylorian has been finding the Russian and Slavonic Collections, together with their extensive holdings of Dostoevsky’s works, reunited with the rest of its holdings’.

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