Supporting Book Aid International’s donation to Ukrainian libraries

13 November 2023
4 min read

We are proud to have supported Book Aid International with their donation of 25,000 brand-new books to libraries across Ukraine, as part of PEN Ukraine’s ‘Unbreakable Libraries’ project.

Since Russia’s invasion in February 2022, Ukraine’s library network has suffered systematic heavy bombardments. Tetyana Teren, Executive Director of PEN Ukraine, says that “libraries have lost over 187 million books. But even in such circumstances, society demonstrates unity and resilience.”

Working with our longstanding charity partner Book Aid International, we have provided a financial donation to support the shipment of the books, which was dispatched from London on 7 November. All of the books have been donated by leading UK publishers and selected to provide opportunities to learn English, read for pleasure, and find respite in libraries.

Commenting on the donation, our CEO Nigel Portwood said:

“We are proud to support Book Aid International, sharing the belief that books have the power to transform people’s lives and unlock opportunities. Having seen the impact of Book Aid International’s work over many years now, we know that this initiative with PEN Ukraine will make a real difference to those who have faced immeasurable challenges as a result of the war.”

The shipment is due to reach Kyiv later in November. From there, PEN Ukraine will distribute books to libraries across Ukraine, including to frontline and liberated territories.

The Chernihiv regional library for children and youth was one of hundreds of libraries damaged. (Source: Maksym Sytnikov/PEN Ukraine)

Book Aid International’s Chief Executive Alison Tweed said of the donation:

“For people living with the war in Ukraine we know that libraries have become places of safety and refuge for communities, as well as havens where reading and learning can continue. I would like to warmly thank Hachette UK, OUP, and other publishers who have supported this shipment and all the publishers who donate books to support all the work we do.”

Tetyana Teren spoke more on the ‘Unbreakable Libraries’ initiative:

“Our joint initiative together with Book Aid International, PEN International, English PEN and leading publishing houses received a big response in Ukraine. Just in the first days after the project announcement, over 300 libraries from different parts of Ukraine sent us book requests. It emphasizes the importance of the project for the entire country. And I want to thank everyone who makes this initiative possible.”

At OUP, we are committed to supporting our communities around the world in many ways, and an integral part of this work is donating to charities and educational initiatives in line with our mission. You can read more about our responsible activities in our most recent Responsible Publishing Report.

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