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: https://www.cilip.org.uk/news/597028/Statement-of-solidarity-with-librarians-archivists-and-information-professionals-in-Ukraine.htm [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: https://cuusblog.wordpress.com/2022/02/26/how-you-can-support-ukraine-right-now/
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: https://twitter.com/anna_kijas/status/1497736861128794112?cxt=HHwWgIC56azvg8kpAAAA 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.